Born in 1951, Rick LaSalle stems from a potpourri of Flemish and Hessian ancestors. During LaSalle’s first years at school, music played just a slight role in his life. It was only at the age of 13 – and of his own free will – that LaSalle began to take piano lessons, albeit too late to tame his fingers into mastering the art of pearly thirds and tricky trills. The following year, however, fate knocked at his door in the form of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony: it was a lightning bolt that swept all of his then current musical interests (from the Beatles and the Byrds to the Rolling Stones) out of his system and replaced them with classical music. After his secondary schooling, he spent a few semesters studying music education before devoting himself to what he had always wanted to study: musicology.
As a composer, he is self-taught, a late bloomer, and a traditionalist. His work catalog comprises 80 numbered works. Among them are five piano concertos, one concerto each for flute, oboe and saxophone, and two each for clarinet and bassoon. He has written chamber music above all for wind instruments and piano, as well as two wind quintets, eight piano sonatas, and two string symphonies.