February 24, 2016
Tagged: College of Arts and Sciences, Adelphi University, Department of Music

Jessica Meyer: Composing with Electronics

News, General News

by Kurt Gottschalk

J.-Meyers“Any good writer, whether they’re writing a book, whether they’re writing a novel, writes what they know,” violist Jessica Meyer explained to a pair of composition students, “I wanted to write a piece with everything I love in it.” Meyer was joined by associate professor and chair of Adelphi’s music department, Sidney Marquez Boquiren, Ph.D.

With that, she played some quick variations on a short theme, used an electronic-effect foot pedal to loop the melody and then began plucking a rhythm that was reminiscent of an African thumb piano over the repeating phrase. Within minutes the concert hall was flooded with sound and then, with a tap of her toe, was quiet again, leaving her to find soft, staccato polyrhythms.

It’s the sort of performance Meyer regularly gives as a member of counter)induction, the chamber ensemble she co-founded, or in her work with such acclaimed contemporary composition groups as the Argento Chamber Ensemble and the Either/Or Ensemble. But at Adelphi University on February 19, her audience was smaller than any of those groups.

“It’s the kind of conversation that I can’t imagine happening in a classroom,” Boquiren explained. “There’s not that opportunity to speak with a composer/performer who’s making that specific kind of music.”

The talk was a part of an informal series of lectures and workshops geared toward specific interests among select students in the music department. “Students have the opportunity to attend two to five times a semester,” Boquiren said. For this one, Meyer – who grew up on Long Island and was a member of the Long Island Youth Orchestra – discussed the techniques and technical aspects of composing with electronics, including such on-the-job hazards as getting a mistake or a moment of feedback caught in the repeating audio track.

Composition students will get another such opportunity next month when the percussion duo Radical 2 hosts the Adelphi’s New Music XI, a workshop geared toward student works. Adelphi’s New Music XI will be on Saturday, March 5, 2016 at 12:00 noon in the Westermann Stage concert hall.

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Adelphi University is a highly awarded, nationally ranked, powerfully connected doctoral research university offering exceptional liberal arts and sciences programs and professional training with particular strength in its Core Four—Arts and Humanities, STEM and Social Sciences, the Business and Education Professions, and Health and Wellness. Adelphi is dedicated to transforming students’ lives through small classes, hands-on learning and innovative ways to support student success.

Founded in Brooklyn in 1896, Adelphi is Long Island’s oldest private coeducational university. Today Adelphi serves nearly 8,000 students at its beautiful main campus in Garden City, New York—just 23 miles from New York City’s cultural and internship opportunities—and at dynamic learning hubs in Manhattan, the Hudson Valley and Suffolk County, and online.

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Tagged: College of Arts and Sciences, Adelphi University, Department of Music