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.
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.
With late February/early March soon approaching, so grows the anticipation for the annual Montréal contemporary music festival. This year the mammoth 13 day third edition of Montréal/Nouvelles Musiques promises to offer some particularly exciting music events.
In my opinion Denys Bouliane leading the McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble in “Shadowlands” and the SMCQ’s performance of “Birds and Bells” were some of the highlights from last year’s MusiMars festival (and the Montréal contemporary music concert season in general). “Shadowland” is a quiet enigmatic work which gradually reveals different perspectives upon itself as the four movements unfold. “Birds and Bells” almost resembles an anti-trombone concerto where the soloist plays much delicately and higher than one would imagine a trombonist capable of while navigating in and out of an ensemble that slowly evolves through a brittle windy and almost rural landscape.
Although I haven’t heard “Funeral Procession” in concert I’m including here it as a bonus track because it is possibly my favorite Sørensen piece.
Bent Sørensen probably said the best thing I’ve ever heard from composer when giving a talk about his music – “I don’t want to talk about what musical materials [e.g. harmonies, rhythms] I use; it’s too embarrassing.”
Bent Sørensen’s music is obsessed with death and endless decay as he said “From the moment we are born, there is only one way – a slowly sliding decay. Time eats away at us.” It is a transient music filled of passing phantoms, funeral processions, distant bells carried by the wind, time-destroyed frescos, overgrown gardens, and fading dreams, hopes, and longing.
Some of my colleagues have complained that there is little to hold onto in Bent Sørensen’s compositions; but I contend that that is exactly the point. The music constantly slips from your hands so clearly that if you pay close attention you can almost watch the ebb and flow of your own thoughts and attention.
It seems almost silly to talk about music that is always fragilely falling and teetering on a threshold of non-existence. In the liner notes for an out of print disc of Bent Sørensen’s musicen lieau of a written description for “The Deserted Churchyards,” there is a black and white photo showing a crumbled tombstone against an arid autumn landscape.
Similarly, I cannot think of words to explain “The Echoing Garden.” I can only think of how I first heard this piece in the McGill Digital Composition Studio in February and how, on this coldest day of the winter, you could hear the horrifyingly dark wind blow against and batter the sealed-off windows.