2012 Composer Spotlight: Jeff Myers

David Johnston


2012 Composer-in-Residence Jeff Myers


Jeff Myers’ violin and piano work The Angry Birds of Kauai was written during his recent tenure as a visiting composition professor at the University of Hawaii. Inspired by the island’s early rising birds, The Angry Birds of Kauai won the Grand Prize for Hilary Hahn’s 2012 Encores Contest. Jeff’s piece will be performed as part of Hahn’s 2012-13 recital program, and will be recorded during the 2013-14 concert season. Watch a great video of Jeff and Hilary (and learn why the piece is not named after a popular video game).

A prolific and accomplished composer, Jeff draws upon many different sources for his music, among them Filipino kulintang music, M.C. Escher drawings, the natural world, scientific concepts, and other non-musical traditions.  A listen through Jeff’s richly varied works reveals why his music has been described as “striking…and harmonically rich” by the New York Times and “…brilliant and powerful…” by The Classical Voice of New England. He’s a recipient of numerous awards and grants (The American Academy of Arts and Letters, BMI, the Jerome Foundation, and the American Music Center, among others) and his music has been performed by renowned musicians and orchestras around the world.

Well-versed in many genres, Jeff is an active collaborator. Through his participation in the American Lyric Theater’s Composer-Librettist Development Program, Jeff has worked with playwright Royce Vavrek to compose a full length opera Maren of Vardø for Philadelphia’s Center City Opera, and with playwright Quincy Long to write a one-act opera Buried Alive (based on Edgar Allan Poe’s “Premature Burial”).  He’s worked with the JACK Quartet, whose members are longtime friends from Eastman School of Music.  In fact, Jeff’s highly successful string quartet dopamine was written for JACK, and is a regularly featured work in the quartet’s repertoire.

For his Con Edison Residency at Bloomingdale School of Music, Jeff will continue his work with the JACK Quartet. He plans to compose a Requiem featuring the quartet and soprano Martha Cluver, and incorporate text from different countries and cultural traditions.  Additionally, Jeff is in the preliminary stages of writing an opera about the Roman emperor Caligula with Royce Vavrek, and will use his residency to bring in singers and workshop several opera scenes.



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