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.


Ok, I've become obsessed. The past two weeks or so I've been spinning a lot of Sibelius symphonies and post-minimalist/totalist/choose-your-term composers. These are not necessarily the "two great tastes that taste great together" but I'm enjoying the whole experience.

With both obsessions, I think it is a case of the "right music at the right time." Ten years ago, I didn't much care for Sibelius. I was very into Carter. Sibelius didn't connect with my brain then. He does now. I've also been spinning some Lang, Ashley, and Mikel Rouse (lots of him), and I don't know what I would have thought of this music 5 years ago. I'm not entirely sure what has changed, specifically, in the past few years, but I don't think I would have been hip to it. Something has become unhinged in my ears, though, and I mean that in a good way. I've had some very good influences in the recent past that have really expanded my musical world. I'm grateful.

I've talked to other composers who are recently out of their doctorates and we all seem to be doing the same thing: the opposite of whatever we were doing in grad school. My thick, dense, thorny, dissertation has been replaced by music of peace and serenity (which was emerging in my diss, but not embraced in the way that I'm doing it now). A friend who wrote the same way is now exploring spectralism. We've finally become "real" composers, realizing that we have nobody to please but ourselves. It is scary and liberating at the same time.

As a faculty member, I try to expose my students to my own obsessions. One of my students was talking about how he just heard music by Pärt and loved it. I handed him some Charlemagne Palestine. Another student is a Mahler nut, so I started her on Sibelius and William Schuman. Another student had an idea of an electroacoustic piece based on recording the sounds of the music hallways. Hildegard Westerkamp to table 4, please! Whether they like the music or not is less important than the fact that they are hearing it now. They might not encounter this stuff at any other time in their undergraduate. Who knows, they might even find something that I've never heard of and become obsessed. Worse things have happened.

Since today (9/19) is International Talk Like A Pirate Day, I suppose I should put on some Charles Arrrrrrgersinger. What are you going to listen to?