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.
For soprano, flute, clarinet, cello, and live electronics
Performed by Stephanie Aston (voice), Christine Tavolacci (flutes), Przemyslaw Bosak (clarinets), Ashley Walters (cello), Jacob David Sudol (electronics/mixing), Robert Zellickman (conductor)
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‘Alas, when the Uncertain Experiencing of Reality is dawning upon me here, With every thought of fear or terror or awe for all set aside, May I recognize whatever appear, as the reflections of my own consciousness; May I know them to be the nature of the apparitions in the Bardo: When at this all-important moment of achieving a great end, May I not fear the band of Peaceful and Wrathful, mine own thought-forms.’
–verse for traversing the Chönyid Bardo *
The Space Between was written in 2008. The composition intends to explore the experience of traversing through and inhabiting a great variety of constantly changing yet unified intermediate states. The primary inspiration for this work was the initial state of dying as described in The Tibetan Book of the Dead where one first begins to recognize “the dissolution of earth… into water, water into fire, fire into wind, wind into consciousness.”* These ideas were treated abstractly and combined with a personal vision of dying as a confused state where unusual simplified archetypal characters constantly bleed into and out of each other.
* Texts taken from Chapter 11 of the The Tibetan Book of the Dead: translated by W.Y. Evans-Wentz (Oxford, 1960)
For violin and cello (preliminary sketch for future string quartet)
Performed by Batya McAdam-Somer and Kaylie Eriksen
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"Meditation at Lagunitas”
All the new thinking is about loss. In this it resembles all the old thinking. The idea, for example, that each particular erases the luminous clarity of a general idea. That the clown- faced woodpecker probing the dead sculpted trunk of that black birch is, by his presence, some tragic falling off from a first world of undivided light. Or the other notion that, because there is in this world no one thing to which the bramble of blackberry corresponds, a word is elegy to what it signifies. We talked about it late last night and in the voice of my friend, there was a thin wire of grief, a tone almost querulous. After a while I understood that, talking this way, everything dissolves: justice, pine, hair, woman, you and I. There was a woman I made love to and I remembered how, holding her small shoulders in my hands sometimes, I felt a violent wonder at her presence like a thirst for salt, for my childhood river with its island willows, silly music from the pleasure boat, muddy places where we caught the little orange-silver fish called pumpkinseed. It hardly had to do with her. Longing, we say, because desire is full of endless distances. I must have been the same to her. But I remember so much, the way her hands dismantled bread, the thing her father said that hurt her, what she dreamed. There are moments when the body is as numinous as words, days that are the good flesh continuing. Such tenderness, those afternoons and evenings, saying blackberry, blackberry, blackberry.
- Robert Hass from the poetry collection “Praise” (Ecco Press, 1979)
Jacob David Sudol: “Sing/Lose” (2007) For chamber ensemble (15 players) Performed by the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne conducted by Lorraine Vaillancourt Not available commercially
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First off I have to apologize for my long lack of posts. With this post I plan to return to my previous regular rate of postings.
This is the recording of the piece I wrote over the summer that was magnificently premiered by the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne at the 2007 Domaine Forget New Music Sessions in northern Québec earlier this summer. The rehearsal process was pretty painless and with each subsequent reading I became more and more pleasantly surprised. I’ve included the program note below.
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The title "Sing/Lose" refers to the two primary preoccupations in my music, and in this piece – as in all my music – I approach these preoccupations abstractly. For example, "Sing" does not refer literally to singing but to a lyricism in the phrases and timbres, as well as to an almost breath-like musical flow. Likewise, "Lose" does not refer to any specific loss but to Andrei Tarkovsky's assertion that "the life force of music is materialized on the brink of its own total disappearance." In this piece "Lose" refers to the eventual disintegration, decay, even death of the work's organic material and form.
“Sing/Lose” was written for the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and the New Music Sessions at the 2007 Domaine Forget international music festival in northeastern Québec. I composed the piece during the summer of 2007, at the end of a three-year stay in Montréal. The piece is dedicated to all those who have been close to me during my sojourn in Montréal.
Jacob David Sudol: ”Resonances” (2004-2006) For metallic percussion and interactive hexaphonic electronics
Performed by Fernando Rocha
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Although I feel a little silly posting one of my own compositions to my mp3 blog since I previously posted ”Time Fixtures” and ”Black Stream” and I really like this piece, I see no reason not to.
Last week I recorded my good friend Fernando Rocha playing the newest version of “Resonances” (the second revision) in the McGill Digital Composition Studios. Although this mixed version is not yet complete (I’m yet to add the subtle live electronics to the interactively cued and mixed audio files) and it is only a stereo version of a piece that sounds much better in six speakers (for example there is no way a stereo version can replicate how all the gongs and one other really loud soundfile sound when they sound at an equal amplitude in all six speakers), I’m willing to consider this mix and version of the piece valid and simply excited to post it here.
Before I include my programme notes I thought I just want to briefly mention one other personal but unrelated item – I just found out my masters’ thesis was approved today.
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Would that the sound of the bell might go beyond our earth, And be heard even by all in the darkness outside the cakravala; Would that, their organ of hearing become pure, beings might attain perfect infusion of the senses, So that every one of them might come finally to the realization of supreme enlightenment.
-bell gatha enchanted after reading the Samantamukha-Parivarta
“Resonances” is entirely based upon the physical phenomena of resonance. In this work, metallic percussion is emphasized. This compositional interest stems from the Zen/Buddhist philosophy that a bell’s ringing, or resonance, represents the fabric of eternity. For this work the ringing of the bell has been expanded to include the resonance of metallic percussion instruments (bells pitched and unpitched), the spatial environment of the performance, and the psychological resonance of musical ideas.
The work was written from November 2004 through December 2004 and the electronics were constructed from December 2004 through March 2005, during winter. It was revised in August 2005 and October 2005. The work is dedicated to Fernando Rocha who premiered original version in March 2005 and the revised version in October 2005.
Last week was the successful world premiere of my 18 month project Time Fixtures. A few days ago I finally digitized the recording and did a quick attempt to convert the sounds that came of the six speakers into stereo. For the curious, it can be downloaded here or in the Sequenza 21 listening room. My many thanks and full gratitude goes out to the players of the McGill Contemporary Music Ensemble who played the piece so well. Now that the performance is over, I feel like I've started another chapter in my life. All that I have left for my masters' degree is to write an essay over the summer about Time Fixtures. After that, I'm taking a year off to earn some money, hopefully immigrate to Canada, and apply to doctoral programs. I've also finally started to research and work on my next piece - a riotous romp for piano, percussion, harpsichord, and quad playback.
Another plus right now is that I finally have time to go to concerts again and this week could hardly be a better time for exactly that. Tomorrow afternoon the SMCQ (Société e musique contemporaine du Québec) is putting on a rare performance of Morton Feldman's trio dedicated to the Quebecois artist - For Phillip Guston. Following that, on Tuesday the Ensemble Contemporain du Montréal is performing what should be a daring thematic concert which features works written in 2002 and 2003 and challenge the standard approaches to art and classical music. On Wednesday, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne puts on its grand annual concert which, this year, features the world premiere of a new composition by the illustrious spectralist Tristan Murail. Then, as if that wasn't enough, one of Montréal's notoriously anti-academic contemporary music production groups Codes D'Accès is putting on a three day festival from Thursday through Saturday which called Les machines à communiquer. During this mini-fest there will be a concert of automated music, a concert of mixed music, and a concert of electroacoustic music.
Today, providing god's or whatever's great and glorious infinite will, is the world premiere of my biggest piece to date. "Time Fixtures," for eleven players and live electronics, was composed as part of the first-ever composer-in-residence position for the McGill Schulich School of Music Contemporary Music Ensemble in collaboration with the McGill Digital Composition Studio (which is directed by my pal, Sean Ferguson). For those of you in Montréal, the concert is at 20h in Salle Pollack. It will be performed by commissioning parties (including myself at the computer) and the features the ever-gracious Denys Bouliane at the podium.
For those who can't make it, I hope to post an mp3 of the performance in the next few days.