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 Ė 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.





5/08/2008
Program Notes

I typically hate writing program notes. They seem somewhat artificial to the process of composing or listening. If it weren't for all that brooding Romanticism from 150 years ago, I don't think we'd be burdened with the expectation that I the composer must tell you what everything in my piece "means." Why not say nothing and let the listeners, you know, listen.

Anyhow, I write program notes. They are brief, they don't tell you much, but today I wrote what is probably the single most honest program note I've ever done. My Songs of my Youth are finished, ready to go out in the mail tomorrow morning. Here are the notes:

"Each of the five movements in this suite were inspired by various pop songs from the early 1980s. I decided to take short, memorable, and in some cases iconic, licks and hooks from these songs and abstract them, mutate them, hide them, and embrace them. For a while in my musical development, I shunned and hid any of my earlier musical tastes. I carried my pop music history with shame as I set out to become more erudite and sophisticated. In recent years, Iíve realized how wrong it was for me to have that attitude. All my musical tastes, from Spike Jones and the City Slickers to Witold Lutoslawski, from John Luther Adams to Huey Lewis and the News, from Faster Pussycat to Elliott Carter, make up who I am as a composer. The hardest part about writing these pieces was choosing and limiting myself to five songs. Invariably, you the listener will want a different song added to my collection. I canít help that but I can encourage you to take that song and let us hear it synthesized through your years of experience. In other words, go write your own piece! These were tremendous fun to compose and I hope that they are fun to perform and to hear."

I'm looking back on the last 18 months and I find myself in a much different space. I like where I am now. I wonder where it will take me.