Composer Samuel Wells Uses Electronics But Never Loses The Human Element

Composer Samuel Wells Uses Electronics But Never Loses The Human Element

The marriage of JFund’s resources and Wells’ ingenuity isn’t likely one you’d have found fifty years ago in classical music. But its reverence for technology, and the overall refusal to remove the human element not only represents a stronger artistic medium but actively pushes it forward.

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JFund Awardee Leaha Maria Villareal on Collaborative Relationships

JFund Awardee Leaha Maria Villareal on Collaborative Relationships

Los Angeles-based Jerome Fund awardee Leaha Maria Villareal talks about musician relationships with tranquility in her voice. She composes music for Hotel Elefant, an ensemble that takes on the difficult task of representing music from living composers. “‘Modern Music’ is already solidified,” she explains. “There’s a canon for it, but it hasn’t yet included works that are being written today. So, how do we support the contemporary music of our colleagues?”

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JFund Awardee Joseph C. Phillips and Genre Fluidity

JFund Awardee Joseph C. Phillips and Genre Fluidity

Social inequity is being discussed in the mainstream more and more frequently, and the music industry is not an exception. “When people have opportunities, those build upon one another. But if you never have that opportunity…people may think you must not be good, and that’s unfair.”

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From Moby Dick to Salvador Dali, JFund Awardee Brian Petuch Is Narratively Limitless

From Moby Dick to Salvador Dali, JFund Awardee Brian Petuch Is Narratively Limitless

Like JMW Turner’s maritime images, Petuch’s art likely wouldn’t have been appreciated for its full weight in the mid-19th century. Be they nonlinear plots, broad brushstrokes, or mixing strings with harsh electronics, these are abstract and unconventional methods. Petuch makes this idiom work by attaching recognizable themes like the passage of time or a famous whale. “8p is like one chord and they can play it as long as they want.” Naturally, you won’t hear the notes and immediately think of early evening. However, we can meditate on the piece and make those connections ourselves. What exactly does this piece represent? We’ll let our ears tell us.

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Reimagining the Accessibility of Classical Music: JFund Awardee JP Merz

Reimagining the Accessibility of Classical Music: JFund Awardee JP Merz

Merz has set himself apart as a composer through his willingness to deemphasize his own talents in favor of accessibility. “Virtuosity is tied up with the classical tradition, and I’m looking for ways to subvert that. I’d rather get the emotion out of the technique rather than show off the technique.” Instead of championing his own specific narrative, he’s creating pieces that further the classical and electronic music traditions without having to lean on their complexity. As with the inclusivity of Mediated Intimacy, Merz is extending his arms outward toward lovers of art instead of drawing boundaries between them.

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