Rand Steiger grew up with a piano in his room, and he was constantly improvising, writing songs for his rock bands to play. Composing and performing always went hand in hand, instead of being two independent processes. It was all just part of the drive to make music.
But there was a moment that solidified his inclination to compose. Steiger was 14, listening to the Philadelphia Orchestra play Mahler’s Fourth Symphony at its summer home in Saratoga, N.Y.