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.
My long previous entry "Anxiety and the Exotic" seems to be quite a fruitful ground for mp3 blog posts. For this entry I thought I’d just focus on two perspectives on the exotic – one from an insider and one from an outsider.
Although Toru Takemitsu was Japanese he was quite reluctant towards composing for traditional Japanese instruments. “In an Autumn Garden” (and the other movements in the larger eponymous cycle of which this piece is the center) is in fact the only work he wrote for the traditional Japanese Gagaku orchestra. Possibly because Takemitsu spent most of his career writing contemporary music for Western instruments his approach to the Gagaku, although filled with traditional approaches, is far more viscous and ghostly than the music in its traditional repertoire. To be honest, although I absolutely adore Takemitu’s approach to western orchestration, this is really my favorite of his compositions.
Scelsi’s complete “Canti del Capricorno” (from which this live performance takes excerpts) for the Japanese singer Michiko Hirayama is arguably one of Scelsi’s finest works and best representations of his esthetic position. Scelsi worked intensively with Michiko Hirayama who commissioned them while writing these works. Since these songs borrow so heavily from many of the world’s incantatory traditions it is actually impossible to place them concretely within any specific tradition. As a result the work is at once traditional, contemporary, completely personal, and brilliant.
Morton Feldman: String Quartet and Orchestra (1973) Performed by the Cleveland Quartet and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Michael Tilson Thomas conductor From the SUNY Buffalo Archives, not available commercially
Uaxuctum "The Legend of the Maya City which destroyed itself for religious reasons" (1966) I II III IV V For 4 vocal soloists, ondes martenot solo, mixed choir and orchestra Performed by the Polish Radio-Television Orchestra Of Krakow with Tristan Murail (ondes martenot)
Currently Out of Print
Konx-Om-Pax "Three aspects of sound: as the first motion of the immutable, as creative force, as the syllable 'om'" (1969) I II III For mixed choir and orchestra Performed by the Polish Radio-Television Orchestra Of Krakow
After finishing my last composition “Time Fixtures” and my masters’ thesis that explains some of the procedures that I used to write and construct “Time Fixtures” I had a little trouble finding a way to start writing music again. After a few months of deliberating and countless hours spent improvising at the piano I found a solution by constantly playing one note or chords derived from iteratively combining an intervals simple frequency components.
When I finally started to compose again with what I discovered while improvising at the piano I was reminded of the story Alex Ross told in his article from November 2005 about, how after composing incredibly complex pitch-based music, Giacinto Scelsi had a mental breakdown and recovered his sanity by sitting at a piano and spending many days on end playing one note. While starting my current composition projects I would occasionally joke to friends that I felt like Scelsi must have felt after his mental breakdown. However, in all seriousness I was really just beginning to think that there is a lot to explore or emote in music that concentrates more on other parameters such as timbre and rhythm than the succession or organization of pitches.
I’ve wanted to post something big for my 50th mp3 blog posting. When I discovered that two of my favorite CD collections (the complete works for chorus and orchestra and the complete string quartets of Scelsi) are inexplicably out of print I decided that the works listed above would make be appropriate for this post. I won’t explain much more about these pieces or Scelsi for that matter since one can find some good information online here and here. Also, since these are compositions that focus on a mysticism that largely defies words I think anything else I might say will only muddy the waters.