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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A Few Thoughts on Ritual

Los Munequitos de Matanzas:
Tocorro (traditional)

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I finally got around to watching Maya Deren’s documentary Devine Horsemen: the Living Gods of Haiti last night – a great anthropological study with insightful commentary and stunning footage and music from traditional Voudoun rituals. I highly recommend downloading it from UbuWeb (on of my favourite websites).

I’ve long been drawn to traditional rituals. Growing up I Tucson, I fondly remember seeing and reading about the rituals of people native to Arizona and the rest of the American Southwest.

Musically, I’ve long been drawn towards traditional Cuban ritualistic music. When I still lived in Tucson, I had the honor of becoming friends and playing music with a Cuban percussionist, Guillermo “Bubba” Faz. We met when I joined in a salsa band, quickly hit it off, and decided to form our own more traditional and experimental ensemble.

Bubba taught me about some of the traditional Lumuní rhythms, Cantos, and rituals for the various Orishas. At one point, I even underwent a ritual that cleansed hands so that I could play the bata drums. On another occasion, he introduced me to the head drummer, Jesús Alfonso Miró, for Los Munequitos de Matanzas (the preeminent interpreters of traditional Cuban music from the Matanzas, or rural, region)

I’ve always been struck by how these traditional rituals inform contemporary or modern art. Furthermore, I’m often amazed at the esthetic force achieved when one incorporates the ritual in contemporary art or music. For example, off the top of my head I think of power in the music of Vivier, Radulescu, Grisey’s Quatre Chants Pour Franchir le Seuil, La Monte Young’s Well-Tuned Piano, late Feldman, and parts of Stockhausen’s two best works – Mantra and Stimmung.

For my current project, Inner Music, I see this ritualistic element as the archetypal formal and structural model. The work unfolds like a series of Cantos structurally bound by some similar parameters that each seeks to invoke a different individual, yet unified, character. As the work progresses the intensity grows and the dance’s freedom and ecstasy intensify until finally an ultimate threshold is reached and, well, I don’t want to give away the ending because that’s a secret…

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