I always want to present my own voice. Although some of my music has been serial, eclectic, or modal, I am always lyrical in my expression. As a whole, I fit under the term neo-romantic. I'm basically an orchestral composer. I use the colors of the instruments to express myself and the ideas that appeal to me. I believe music is a human expression; therefore, music that does not have a human element does not appeal to me. Our life is a combination of happiness and sorrow in every sense of our existence; therefore, music should follow this pattern.
My 12-tone music was basically a product of my graduate school years. In my view, the study of that system is extremely important for any composer. It has benefited me greatly in my own work; also, I see how beneficial it is to my students. It gives them an idea regarding working out motives, contrapuntal techniques, use of dynamics, and general direction in music. Thus the study of 12-tone teaches compositional techniques and discipline.
At that time, the 50s and early 60s, you were not even considered a composer if you were not an advocate of the serial system. And also, as I mentioned before, I composed many major works in that style and I still now love them and promote them. However, I always felt that that system was not for me, on the whole. In the first place, every individual should look at his or her inheritance and who he or she really is. Every individual is unique in his or her own way, a uniqueness that is tied to that inheritance.
I am Greek and Greek folk music is modal: it has beautiful folk melodies and interesting rhythms. Although I'm not just orchestrating them in their original form, I use them one way or another in my own work, so you can say that the modal system has been an integral part of much of my music."
Excerpt from interview with David Woman in Fanfare 34:4 (Mar/Apr 2011)