My father bought me a cheap keyboard out of the blue for my 14th birthday. Messing around, I began figuring out tunes by ear from the radio/films/TV shows. I would play them and wonder--what makes them sound so good, so attractive? Secondly, I became involved in advanced ensemble courses, where I learned clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, and tenor saxophone. (My father also taught me to play the Tibetan bamboo flute.) At that time, I took it upon myself to learn all the ranges of woodwind and string instruments, which would become important when composing full orchestra pieces, which I also began to do around the same time, naively.
In my wind ensemble, I began to understand instrumentation/orchestration after having collected instrument parts of my high school's marching show and studying them. I also read Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's "Principles of Orchestration", which helped tremendously (highly recommended). Furthermore, my interest in classical composers grew after playing pieces by Dmitri Shostakovich and works by Camille Saint-Saëns, etc. It was about this time that I decided that I wouldn't continue with band after that year, mostly because I figured that, with woodwinds out of the way, I'd be able to focus on piano and master it much faster. Also, I disliked the band director (I hated him, he hated me, it was a mutual thing, but I still respect him).
With band out of the way, I began working on short piano pieces quite prolifically: nocturnes, preludes, etudes, etc., but I didn't lose sight of my orchestral knowledge, with which I also composed, though not nearly as often. To this day, I am more of a piano composer than an orchestral one. I then moved on to creating electronic tracks, fueled by my broadening musical tastes--not a lessening of my love for classical, but an expansion of my love for music as a whole. I started by creating hilariously lame trance songs till I reached a point of semi-proficiency (i.e. "The Runway", which was made for a fashion show promo in VCU). After I was comfortable with trance, I moved on to other genres: House, Dance ("Our Song"), Drum and Bass, Ambient ("A Moment of Bliss"). I'm always trying new styles. Just last month I began creating Trip-Hop tracks ("Flip Flops", "Indefinite" and "Dream Trains").
I've recently completed scoring the OST for an independent film called Shake The World with four of my closest friends (Misha, Miles, Stefan and Aydar. Before then, I also scored the music to an animated film by artists, Ryan Miller and Jenna Smith, titled The Lighthouse girl, which will be premiered in various film festivals around the country beginning in December '09. My song, "Glad Sunday", will be included in an LRG commercial as well. In the summer of '10, I met American composer, Marvin Hamlisch, and we talked music over tea. I'm meeting him again in October as he rehearses with the NSO.