Jay C. Batzner is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Central Florida where he teaches theory, composition, and technology courses as well as coordinates the composition program. He holds degrees in composition and/or theory from the University of Missouri – Kansas City, the University of Louisville, and the University of Kansas.

Jay's music is primarily focused around instrumental chamber works as well as electroacoustic composition. His music has been recorded on the Capstone, Vox Novus, and Beauport Classical labels and is published by Unsafe Bull Music.

Jay is a sci-fi geek, an amateur banjoist, a home brewer, and juggler.


Well, I forgot to prepare a bit for my theory class today. Not in terms of material (continuous variation forms) but specifically in terms of the music I was going to play. When talking about basso ostinato patterns, I have to play "When I am laid in Earth" from Dido and Aeneas. Yes, it has been anthologized to death, some people might find it cliché, but I never tire of that aria. It is so beautiful, so touching, a damned-near perfect example of what the Baroque folks were wanting from opera.

The problem, though, is that I get a little too moved sometimes when listening to it. I usually "desensitize" myself by playing it a few times before class. Today, however, I forgot. About 1/3 of the way into the aria I realized my mistake. By the time the aria was over and I stopped the CD player and had gotten to the front of the room, I could hardly speak. I had to distract myself by playing a little of "In our deep vaulted cell" in order to get the students laughing at the witches' echo effect.

It was a deeply personal moment in front of my 60 sophomores (well, 45 of them). Looking back (it happened about an hour ago), I think it was a good thing, even though it was embarrassing. Music moves me. It should move them, too. And I think many of them are going to go check out the opera.

For those of you who want to know the recording in question, it was the Harmonia Mundi disc with Lorraine Hunt as Dido. Doesn't get much more perfect than that. For those of you with Netflix abilities, I highly recommend the Mark Morris Dance Company's interpretation of the work.

*deep breath* On to the next class. We are talking about MIDI sequencing, which doesn't choke me up nearly as much.