Magazine article Strings

Why I Play Contemporary Music

Magazine article Strings

Why I Play Contemporary Music

Article excerpt


Jessica Meyer




Bay Ahore, New York


New York City




Jessica Meyer is a violist/composer who recently released her first solo CD, Sounds of Being, on which she turns her viola into an orchestra of emotion with each piece embodying a different state of being: joy, anxiety, anger, bliss, torment, loneliness, and passion.

She is the co-founder of the contemporary music collective counter)induction, has premiered works at the Tribeca New Music Festival and ETHEL's Met Balcony Bar Series; and was featured on Q2's Emerging Women Composers series.

The New York Times has hailed Meyers for her "polish, focus, and excitement." As a clinician, she has held workshops at the Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute of Music, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Manhattan School of Music, the Longy School of Music, NYU, and the Chamber Music America Conference.


"New needs need new techniques," said the artist Jackson Pollock more than 65 years ago. "And the modern artists have found new ways and new means of making their statements... the modern painter cannot express this age, the airplane, the atom bomb, the radio, in the old forms of the Renaissance or of any other past culture."

For the past 17 years, I've been playing mostly contemporary music. It's been a privilege to be part of countless interactions between composers and performers while pieces take shape. I've always been fascinated by the extremely varied palette of colors, sounds, and rhythms I have been asked to play over the years in order to communicate what life is like for us in the modern world. I write this after repeatedly listening to the track that will accompany my solo-viola part in Eric Moe's new piece "Uncanny Affable Machines." I relish the process of decoding what a fellow composer wants me to do and inputting it into my body until I am ready for the final stage: interpreting all of what is not written on the page. …

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