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Life of Jay Greenberg and Others - Essay Example

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The essay "Life of Jay Greenberg and Others" states that Jay Greenberg is a young American composer, also known as a child prodigy. This is due to the fact Greenberg, born in 1991 in New Haven, Connecticut, wrote 6 symphonies by the age of 17 and 5 symphonies by the age of 13…
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Life of Jay Greenberg and Others
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I am talking about the likes of Mozart, and Mendelssohn, and Saint-Saens.” (Schorn, “Bluejay Spreads his Wings”).
Greenberg felt attached to music since the earliest years of his life have started to play the cello at the age of three or two. Interestingly, Jay’s mother does not have any musical education and his father is a professor at Yale University teaching Slavic Languages. His next instrument was the piano and his first composition was created when he was just six. The subsequent year he started taking lessons from Anthony Johnson, and in three years Jay entered the Julliard School of Music having won a scholarship to study composition (“Jay Greenberg”). Having received considerable training in music theory, piano, and ear training, Jay took classes at Yale University. He is known to currently study at Cambridge in the UK.
Similarly to some other composers, Jay says he hears some music that is being performed inside his head. Moreover, he is able to hear a few pieces at once. He then notates the music he has just heard. This is how he writes his music. By the way, Jay composes his pieces with the help of the computer through the music notation program. The directions of his work include solo, chamber and orchestral music, with his unique talent being spotted by Sony Classical and IMG Artists which signed exclusive contracts with him.
Jay’s music has been described as “accomplished” (Los Angeles Times), having “21st-century tonality, excitement, and lyricism” (The Washington Post), having “verve of the rhythms and invention in harmonies” (The New York Times). His most important works include “Quintet for Strings”, “Symphony No. 5”, “Violin Concerto”, “Four Scenes”, “Concerto for Piano Trio and Orchestra” (“Jay Greenberg”). One of his latest works is a song called “I still keep mute” which was set to the Nabokov’s poem.
Philip Glass
Philip Glass has often been called one of the most important composers of the end of the previous century. Born in America in 1937, he has won international recognition and fame with his “classical” pieces which are close to minimalist trend. John O’Mahoney, the author of “The Guardian Profile: Philip Glass”, calls Glass “one of the most influential – and controversial – contemporary composers”, as well as “the founding father of minimalism”. At the same time, Glass himself prefers to avoid the term “minimalist” when he speaks about his music. He’d rather describe it as “music with repetitive structures” (“Philip Glass Biography”).
The glass was born in Baltimore to Jewish immigrants and studied at the University of Chicago as well as Julliard School of Music. To fund his music education, he had to work as a plumber and a taxi driver in New York. Feeling dissatisfied with what he encountered as modern music, Glass moved to France to take lessons from Nadia Boulanger, a legendary music pedagogue who taught a number of celebrities. There Glass collaborated with Ravi Shankar, a sitar virtuoso and composer. Upon his return to New York, Glass founded the Philip Glass Ensemble which consisted of 7 musicians. They played keyboards and various woodwinds and used a mixer to amplify the sound.
While the style Glassworks is known as “minimalist”, his creative output is not minimalist at all. It really impresses. In the past three decades, Glass has composed over twenty operas, which “play throughout the world’s leading houses, and rarely to an empty seat” (“Philip Glass Biography”), eight symphonies, two piano concertos plus concertos for violin, timpani, piano, and saxophone quartet and orchestra, a number of film soundtracks including the orchestral score for Koyaanisqatsi (year of production: 1982), Kundun (1997), Dracula. The Hours (2002); he has also written a range of pieces for solo piano and organ, and string quartets, etc. Glass is very active reading lectures, conducting workshops, and performing on stage regularly. He collaborates with a number of artists, directors, composers, choreographers, and musicians.
Tan Dun
Tan Dun is a contemporary Chinese composer who writes classical music. Born in 1957 in one of the Chinese villages in the Hunan province, Tan Dun has been recognized as one of the most extraordinary composers due to his use of non-traditional as well as organic instruments in his pieces. Notably, Tan Dun’s piece called Water Passion After St Matthew has amplified water bowls instead of employing traditional percussion. Similarly, Tan Dun’s Paper Concerto employs a variety of manipulations of paper in order to create music. In addition, Tan Dun’s international fame has been brought by his wide use of multimedia aspects in a range of performances like orchestras interacting with the video, or involving the participation of the audience.
Tan recognizes being influenced by a number of experimental musicians like Glass, Cage, Monk, and Reich. Their music helped him create his own style where he incorporated his impressions from the childhood (when he observed how shamans in his village accompanied their rituals with music which was produced with some organic objects, i.e. water or rocks), his classical conservatory training (in the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, and at Columbia University), and the achievements of contemporary musicians. The soundtracks written by Tan Dun include Don’t Cry, Nanking (1995), Hero (2002), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), and The Banquet (2006). The operas written by Tan Dun are Marco Polo, Peony Pavilion, Tea: A Mirror of Soul, and The First Emperor.
All in all, the unique character of Tan Dun’s music can be described with the words of John Cage, who said:
“What is very little heard in European or Western music is the presence of sound as the voice of nature. So that we are led to hear in our music human beings talking only to themselves. It is clear in the music of Tan Dun that sounds are sound central to the nature in which we live but to which we have too long not listened. Tan Dun’s music is one we need as the east and the west come together as our one home.” Read More
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