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.
In my last post I failed to mention that in late Summer I moved from Montréal to San Diego where I just started studies towards a Ph.D. in composition at the University of California at San Diego. Unfortunately this move, and the subsequent challenges of getting my feet on the ground again, kept me from updating this blog with my previous regularity. That said, now that I have a little more free time I wanted to share some of my recent experiences.
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As part of my stipend at UCSD I was assigned to be one of Roger Reynolds’s two studio Research Assistants. This quarter this meant that I got to help work on Roger Reynold’s most recent large work Sanctuary, for percussion ensemble and live electronics. My main tasks included consulting with Roger and Ian Saxton (Roger’s other Research Assistant) on the PD patch Ian programmed to run the live electronics in Sanctuary, helping with the technological set-up, as well as triggering the piece’s 180+ electronic cues during rehearsals and performance.
In mid and late October Steve Schick, red fish blue fish, Roger Reynolds, Ian Saxton and myself spent a little a more than two weeks at UCSD working in the Multipurpose Space at CalIt 2. We spent this time experimenting with and refining technology for the world premiere of Sanctuary that occurred on November 18th.
Below are two photos taken while we worked in the Multipurpose Space
Left to Right: Greg Stuart and Roger Reynolds
Left to Right: Ian Saxton (at computer), Greg Stuart, Justin DeHart, Roger Reynolds, Fabio Olivera, Ross Karre
For a week in mid-November, Steve Schick, red fish blue fish, Roger Reynolds, Ian Saxton, Josef Kucera, and me headed to Washington D.C. to prepare for and give the world premiere of Sanctuary in the atrium of the East Building of the National Gallery of Art. Every night before the performance we had to set up everything for Sanctuary after the gallery closed, rehearse, and then breakdown everything by 11 P.M. This was particularly stressful because not only did the the set-up include five percussion stations, two remote almglocken stations, but one to three microphones for every station, twelve speakers distributed across three levels of the gallery, recording equipment, and multiple computers and audio mixers. That said it was remarkable to rehearse in the National Gallery after it closed every night and the performance went off with virtually no technical problems.
Below are some photos I took while we worked at the National Gallery of Art. (There are also photos of the premiere available here.)
Steve Schick rehearsing Chatter/Clatter during a dinner break
Fabio Olivera watching Steve Schick rehearse
Roger Reynolds, Lina Bahn, and members of red fish blue fish relaxing before rehearsal
Ian Saxton frenetically programming behind the empty chair where I sat with the score and triggered cues
(Note that all files are in m4a format, download the files first before playing them)
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For the last of this my five-part string quartet series (and my 100th blog post) I’ve decided to post more string quartets at once than I ever have before.
Following the work’s epigram “written In tempore belli” (in time of war) “Black Angels” is one of George Crumb’s most mystical and emotionally affecting works. To evoke the subtitle ““Thirteen Images from the Dark Land” the work requires a plethora of other-wordly extra-instrumental techniques and that the performers of the quartet also sing and each perform a number of percussion instruments including a glass harmonic (the sound of which it has been rumored to cause insanity). In our current era of extended and seemingly endless bloody conflicts this is still a very necessary work that still resonates strong.
Roger Reynold’s “Ariadne’s Thread” refers to the Greek legend of Ariadne and a method of problem solving called Ariadne’s Thread. In this work the string quartet weaves darkly with electronic sounds to create an environment and narrative that is both eerie and haunting.
“Tetras” represents a culmination of many Xenakis’s compositional techniques and successful virtuosic writing for string quartet. For many years I admittedly had a lot of trouble dealing with and understanding Xenakis’s music. The first piece that I began to actually appreciate was “Jalons” particularly because of one moment with a kaleidoscopic view on a synthetic scale. A few years later I heard “Tetras” and it became the first Xenakis piece that I really enjoyed.
With moments of strong tonality and an aching third movement that sounds as though it were lifted from a long lost late-Beethoven string quartet, George Rochberg’s third string quartet caused a large amount of controversy after its premiere. Early in his career George Rochberg was one of the strongest and finest proponents of serial music in the U.S.A. until his son died in 1963 and after an esthetic crisis he found that tonality was the only way that he could write that accurately expressed his grief. In my opinion, this quartet (along with the other three in the series of Concord Quartet) stands as the culmination of this emotional development in this later phase of George Rochberg’s music.
To me, both of these works seem to come at the ears from some sort of distant unknown enigmatic viscous bubbling world and draw you near with some unmistakable magnetic pull.
After hearing and reading a lot of Roger Reynold’s more recent works I first came to “Ping” expecting something similar to the post-dodecaphonic shattered hyper-structuralist esthetic that I had come to know in compositions like “Whispers Out of Time,” “Personae,” “Variations,” and “The Angel of Death.” However, the nearly perfectly prolonged bowed gongs in the beginning of “Ping” immediately signaled a different approach. Not to give away the surprises of what I’ve read to be improvised instrumental playing, but I think that the long approach to “Ping’s” horrifying and dramatic climax is one of my favourite stretches of time in Roger Reynold’s music. It’s kind of a shame that the work meanders for so long afterwards although I'm sure that piece loses a lot when missing its visual component.
Embarrassingly, it took me about four listens to realize that this Dumitrescu piece is for solo contrabass. Without reading the information beforehand I initially presumed that it was for an ensemble of at least two percussionists who bow gongs and two contrabasses. Now that I know this work is only for contrabass, I find it far more impressive. Also, since I’ve worked with a number of contrabass players and come to know how difficult it can be to write for this typically heavy and lugubrious instrument, I find the fact this work is alternatively so dramatic and contemplative to be quite a feat.