Following a brief mention of #tenurejosh…Composer, Conductor, and Professor of Composition at Lehman College (NY) Jennifer Jolley stops by to talk about her Fulbright Scholarship in Egypt, her teaching schedule there, Ramadan, and names (04:25), her receiving the Opera America Grant, her previous attempts at writing opera, getting commissioned...and so much more.
In August, Lehman’s Department of Music, Multimedia, Theatre, and Dance will welcome a new Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Composition, internationally renowned composer Jennifer Jolley.
Primavera II: The Rabbits is the second instalment in cellist Matt Haimovitz’s projected cycle of six releases covering no fewer than 81 new commissions for solo cello (there are 14 here). They are based around both Botticelli’s 15th-century painting Primavera and Charline von Heyl’s contemporary response in Primavera 2020, with all the inevitable associations of the Covid pandemic and resulting social upheaval that those entail. That might well feel like a few too many threads of socio-cultural influence to weave together as a context for Haimovitz’s wide-ranging collaborations, and, indeed, the temptation is simply to listen and respond to the wealth of music here on its own terms.
On March 13, the Central Ohio Symphony continued its 43rd season with another remarkable concert. On the program were Jennifer Jolley’s “Motordom” and a concert presentation of Giuseppe Verdi’s “La Traviata.” First, however, came the rousing rendition of a short work that may have surprised some in the audience: the soaring State Anthem of Ukraine, which celebrates the freedom of the Slavic nation that once again is under attack by an autocratic dictator. Orchestras around the free world have rightly condemned the invasion by playing Ukraine’s national anthem and declaring their solidarity.
Our guest this episode is Jennifer Jolley. I had a chance to work with Jenn back in 2016 when she was in a residency with my choirs. I was quickly impressed with her as a composer, but also as a human.
When you visit Jennifer Jolley’s website, the tagline says, “Composer. Blogger. Professor Person.”–a straightforward, quirky, and confident way to describe her work that perfectly encapsulates the tone of her personality, as well.
“Jennifer Jolley's The Eyes of the World Are Upon You, also commissioned for the UT Wind Ensemble, drew inspiration from the state's decision to allow guns on college campuses on the 50th anniversary of the UT Tower Shooting. This work is fittingly heavy considering the tragedy, with sudden blaring ensemble sounds and a haunting siren call throughout.”
“Jolley’s `The Eyes of the World are on You’ is a reflection on people gunned down at the University of Texas in 1966 and the law Texas recently passed to allow guns on the state’s college campuses. The work begins with a plaintive lament from the English horn that slowly blossoms into the full ensemble. The effect is glorious. It is beautifully paced and one of the most memorable moments of this recording. The group plays with faultless intonation and exquisite control, especially the English horn and other soloists.”
“Thankfully there’s plenty to enjoy – and to provoke and challenge, too, from the poise and granitic purity of Haimovitz’s own serious-minded multi-cello reimagining of the Kyrie from Josquin’s Missa Hercules dux Ferrariae through to the raucous, relentless workout of Jennifer Jolley’s Compulsive Bloom.”
“I know that Quince’s second album made our list last year, but to me their latest (Motherland) is, to recontextualize Mao Tse Tung, a “great leap forward.” The centerpiece of this third Quince disc (featuring four recent compositions by four different women for unaccompanied female vocal quartet) is Jennifer Jolley’s Prisoner of Conscience, a substantive musical response to the 2012 trial and imprisonment of three members of the Putin-defying Russian punk band Pussy Riot. Though it was composed back in 2015, Jolley’s not-fit-for-radio-airplay, eight-movement cantata with spoken-word interludes is the ideal soundtrack and perhaps balm for our current “toxic” (to replay the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year) times.”