I first encountered Earl Howard’s music in 1980 with his work V & T, which was composed for the violinist Shem Guibbory. I was greatly impressed by his command of texture and the subtle interaction between the soloist and the tape. Initially I felt the soloist was controlled by the tape music but the piece fostered a nuanced performance with a refreshing attention to detail within a relatively restricted musical realm. I felt a connection to this new music because it resonated with my desire to create ensemble music in which compositional aims could be achieved through directed improvisation. I was pleased when he decided to create a new work for piano and tape, Particle W. Particle W was the beginning of a creative collaboration with Earl that continues to this day.