Performer Blogs@Sequenza21.com

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.





6/21/2007
Defining Moments

Not that it has anything to do with anything, but there is a new podcast episode up today.

My wife and I were talking the other night and she asked me if I had any "defining moments." I thought for a second and I came up with two. These aren't the kind of "defining moments" that culture tells you are supposed to define you (wedding day, birth of our daughter, getting my doctorate, etc.). I have one non-musical and one musical:

Non-musical: On my 18th birthday, I was a foreign exchange student in Germany. My host family sat me down and told me, at length, what a horrible human being I am. They did it again just before I left. That was about 15 years ago and, despite other people's assurances that what they said isn't true, I still believe them. I'm more inclined to believe the negative things about me than accept something positive. Any praise is highly suspect and I can usually explain away. The negative things about me are the things that I take as being my true self.

Musical: In 2004, I was a part of the International Young Composers' Meeting in Apeldoorn, Netherlands. It was a wonderful experience. I met a lot of great composers and felt really good about who I was and what I was doing. Each of us had to write a piece for the "house orchestra" of 10 winds, rhythm section (piano, guitar, bass, 1 percussionist), and up to 5 voices (SSATB). The piece couldn't be longer than 3 minutes. We had two rehearsals of our piece and then, on the final night, there was a concert of all the pieces (from about 15 composers). One composer was selected to get a commission for the ensemble for the next year, another composer was selected to get another commission for a smaller piece.

Of course, I didn't get the commission. That was not the defining moment.

The defining moment came the first time I heard my piece. I got such a rush from hearing my music for the first time that I realized that THAT MOMENT was why I am a composer. Before the audience comes in, before I become overly critical and only hear a work's flaws, that initial hearing with the ensemble is when I love my music.

I'll try to dig up the recording of that piece. There is a longer story about the final concert, but you really aren't that interested.