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.
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.
Obvious meta-ironic philosophizing aside, I wanted to step in on this post to return to some things I left out of my more recent post...
Last summer I discovered that the McGill library has a fantastic collection of DVDs available to students for free three-day checkout. Ever since then I’ve been in veritable (mostly) foreign art-house film heaven watching great works by directors such as Bergman, Kiarostami, Fellini, Rossellini, Antonioni, Pasolini, Kurosawa, Ozu, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Scoresese, Godard, Buñuel, Almodovar, Kieslowski, Wajda, Dovzhenko, Forman, Polanski, Eisenstein, Von Trier, Herzog, and Fassbinder a few nights a week. Last autumn, on a particularly patient night I watched Tarkovsky’s “Solaris.” It haunted me like few films had and even made me reconsider what I had long considered as perfection in Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odysessy.”
John Rea and another friend later recommended Tarkovsky’s “The Passion According to Andrei” (or “Andrei Rublev”), which I had to watch over two days to emotionally handle. Over winter his other films “The Mirror,” “Nostalghia,” and especially “Offret Sacrifacatio” left strong impressions on me. Later Tarkovsky’s book “Sculpting in Time” significantly shaped my esthetic stance in a way that only Joyce’s “Portrait of an Artist as Young Man” can directly match.
As for Claude Vivier, to learn more about his music I highly recommend seeking out recordings of all his later (post-1978) works. The Canadian Music Centre is a good place to look for these. I’d also recommend the DVD “Reves d’un Marco Polo” which features a documentary and an extended concert of Vivier’s music featuring the Schoenberg and ASKO Ensembles. The documentary, although insultingly Euro-centric, provides a shattering view on Vivier’s tragic life. The concert features great performances of some of Vivier’s most significant works such as his opera “Kopernikus (A Ritual Opera of Death)” and the only recording I’ve found of “Crois-tu en l’immortalité de l’âme?” The DVD also has subtitles so you can understand the French and language fragments if you, like me, can’t fully comprehend French. If you read French the excellent Montréal-based contemporary music journal “Circuit” has published an issue which features Claude Vivier’s complete writings and tributes by the likes of Ligeti and others that is well worth a good read.
If you want hear some music, here's the last track from the Café Spies album I produced and performed most of – “Less is More (Parts 1-3).” This track was recorded sans plan in one take as I watched the four-track’s tape run out. Agent N8-10 speaks and I play and process all the instruments and sounds on this most note-y track from a very note-y album. Oh yeah, I’m also ripping off some of the two-keyboard stuff I did on this track for “Inner Music.”
Over the last few months I’ve been working on the written part of my thesis – an analysis of Time Fixtures – and today I’m one section away from finishing the first draft. While looking back at this work I spent almost two years working on, I’ve started to question my esthetic stance and prepare the framework for my next composition – a work for percussion, piano, harpsichord, and tape. (I’m writing this new composition for three friends in Montréal, who founded an ensemble called The Contemporary Keyboard Society.)
One thing I’ve noticed is that I tend to favor exploring and using abstract phenomena or principals and have trouble revealing deep personal and formal decisions. This may perhaps explain why, with this blog, I so frequently write mp3 or other simply descriptive entries and so rarely write personal reflective entries. To a certain extent, I’m beginning to fear that my tendency towards the abstract stands in opposition to my affection towards more emotive and contemplative music and art.
This personal conflict is probably why I’ve titling my next piece Inner Music. Unlike Time Fixtures, I plan to write this piece at almost manic feverish pace and I won’t plan out the exact development or processes for each section beforehand. There will be no recapitulations of materials or themes. The music will simply consist of gradual progressions, uncertain fluctuations, and sudden dramatic and possibly shocking textural contrasts. Granted I plan to advance the rhythmic and harmonic/timbral explorations I started in Time Fixtures but this time, above all, I hope to write something personal, emotive, and – if I really succeed – haunting.