Jacob David Sudol(b. Des Moines, Iowa 1980) writes intimate compositions that explore enigmatic phenomena and the inner nature of how we perceive sound. He recently finished his M.Mus. at McGill University and currently resides in La Jolla, CA where he is working towards a Ph.D. in composition at the University of California at San Diego with Roger Reynolds, Chinary Ung, Philippe Manoury, and Rand Steiger.

Over the last five years some of Jacob's mentors in composition have included John Rea, Denys Bouliane, Philippe Leroux, Sean Ferguson, Dan Asia, and Craig Walsh. He has also participated in master classes with Danish composer Bent Sørensen and German composer Manfred Stahnke.

During 2005-2006, Jacob was the first-ever composer-in-residence for the McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble under the direction of Denys Bouliane, in collaboration with the McGill Digital Composition Studio. He has also written music for the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, the Contemporary Keyboard Society, percussionist Fernando Rocha, saxophonist Elizabeth Bunt, and clarinetist Krista Martynes. As an undergraduate at the University of Arizona, he composed the music for a collaborative dance project with choreographer Hillary Peterson, and he was the principal composer and pianist for El Proyecto de Santa Barbara, a chamber Latin jazz ensemble.

During the 2005 and 2007 Montréal/Nouvelles Musiques and 2006 MusiMars festivals Jacob was an electronic assistant for performances with Court-Circuit, Matt Haimovitz, Sara Laimon, Martin Matalon, Moritz Eggert, Manfred Stahnke, the Caput Ensemble, and the McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble. These concerts were broadcast by the CBC and the European Broadcasting Union in over fifty countries throughout the world. He is currently a studio research assistant for Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Roger Reynolds.

During his free time Jacob takes an active interest in religious phenomenology, cinema, acoustics, literature, poetry, and visual art. As a composer and performer, he always attempts to bring insights from these other fields into his work.


Disclaimer: All music posted on this blog is posted out of love and the idea that for the truly great music of our time(s) to be known it must first and foremost be heard. If you like what you hear please support the artist by buying the recordings, scores, and/or encouraging the performances of the music in every way possible.

If you are the composer, performer, performing organization, artist or directly represent the composer, performer, performing organization, or artist of anything posted on this website and would like your material removed please contact me and I will happily oblige.

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Mp3 Blog #12: Claude Vivier

Claude Vivier:
”Zipangu” (1980)
For string orchestra
Unknown performers

”Lonely Child” (1980)
For soprano and orchestra
Performed by Marie-Danielle Parent and the Metropolitan Orchestra

Go buy this other performance of both works on this recording by the Schoenberg and ASKO Ensembles

Although virtually unknown in the United States, Claude Vivier is widely regarded in Canada and most of Europe as the greatest Canadian composer. I was first told about his music and tragic life story by some of my fellow Canadian composer friends soon after arriving to Montréal. One friend initially recommended I listen to his orchestral piece “Orion,” which I loved on the first listening. However, it wasn’t until I found a four compact disc CBC collection and first heard “Lonely Child” that I discovered the strength of Vivier’s personal expression.

I could easily fill this entire entry with Vivier’s biographical details; however, I’ll highlight I what consider significant since one can find a longer biography on the great website for The Canadian Music Centre.

Rather than focus on furthering the musical advances of the European vanguard, Vivier’s greastest compositions focus on his personal obsessions – loneliness, ritual, and death. Claude Vivier was born in Montréal to unknown parents and is quoted as saying that upon learning of his adoption he felt a great freedom because he could now be anybody. When a teenager he attended a seminary school but was expelled for ‘inappropiate behavior.’ After receiving some early recognition in Montréal he went to Europe to study sonology at the Hague and, later on, to study composition with Stockhausen. He later traveled to Asia and spent a significant portion of time in Bali before returning to Montréal for a prolific period in the late 70’s and early 80’s. He later left for Paris on a grant from the Canadian Council for the Arts and was stabbed to death at 34 in his Parisian apartment, supposedly by a male prostitute.

Vivier’s best compositions come from an incredibly fruitful period that started after he returned from Bali in late 70’s and continued until his death in 1983. Particularly notable are his works for voice or voices and various ensemble that he wrote the lyrics for in both fragmented and made-up languages. These deeply emotional works include “Bouchara,” “Trois Airs pour un Opéra Imaginaire,” “Prologue pour un Marco Polo,” “Kopernikus (A Ritual Opera of Death),” “Lonely Child,” and the unfinished work “Crois-tu en l’immortalité de l’âme?” (“Do you believe in the immortality of the soul?”). The latter work abruptly ends with a narrator describing his own murder and, eerily enough, was found on Vivier's desk in the same apartment where he was murdered. Although, many of these later works rely upon spectral techniques such as frequency shifting, the effect never sounds hollow and didactic like in some of his contemporaries’ works. In these later masterpieces, what I mostly hear is the singular longing of Vivier’s inner voice and the horrific suspended creative acceleration before his horrible tragic end.

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