Jay C. Batzner is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Central Florida where he teaches theory, composition, and technology courses as well as coordinates the composition program. He holds degrees in composition and/or theory from the University of Missouri Kansas City, the University of Louisville, and the University of Kansas.

Jay's music is primarily focused around instrumental chamber works as well as electroacoustic composition. His music has been recorded on the Capstone, Vox Novus, and Beauport Classical labels and is published by Unsafe Bull Music.

Jay is a sci-fi geek, an amateur banjoist, a home brewer, and juggler.

Under Pressure

You might think that this post is just a way for me to justify laziness, but it is more than that.

I tend to work best under pressure. Many of us probably do. Composition is no exception. The things that I write quickly and don't slave over tend to be my best works. I noticed it first about 10 years ago (gosh, that long already?) when I was working on some duets for flute and clarinet. One of the duets took several weeks to finish. Another took one week. The last one took 90 minutes. And it is that last piece that is my favorite. Something really clicked when I was writing it. And, as time traveled on, I saw that most of the pieces I wrote very quickly are the ones that seem to have the most artistic honesty.

So I keep this in mind as I'm finishing my miniatures for piano and tape. The electronic music world is often a world of auditory perfection. My pieces are far from perfect. They are annoying. The sounds don't have that crystalline perfection that so many other sounds have. And my piano playing will be serviceable but far from excellent. It will do. Yet I love these little pieces. I wouldn't want them any other way.

I grow tired of perfection. People take so much time and energy to craft these intricate details when most of the time I just want some MUSIC. The composers known for their intricate orchestration really bore me. The sounds are cool but that is all it is. I think that is a reason that I am drawn to Xenakis. His music has craft, sure. But there is this unapologetic vibe of Xenakis screaming "THIS IS THE HONEST MUSIC FROM ME!"

So, where is the balance? One needs craft, yet one needs honesty. Is there too much craft out there? Not enough honesty? I'm thinking so. Of course, the craft folks are the ones will all the awards and commissions. I won't be getting any of those anytime soon. Which is too bad for my tenure file...

All I want to do is make honest music. The rest will take care of itself.