Jenny Jackson

I am a composer (yikes)


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So…. I expect you’re wondering whether there is any progress with the orchestra and piano six hands piece?!? (Endcliffe Orchestra concert June 28th 2014, somewhere in Sheffield (tbc)… Well; I’ve got a title, but I’m not going to reveal that just yet (it might change anyway!). I’m hoping it remains relevant but chances are it’ll just become a good-looking title that I’ll have a major struggle to explain in the programme note later on (as ever).

As the first orchestra workshop draws ever closer, I’m fluctuating between producing stuff to try out in the workshop (which will be a string-only sectional) and the stuff of the actual piece. It’s a bit chicken and egg so I’m not feeling wholly satisfied with anything yet. As it’s an amateur orchestra I can’t be sure that all the players will be familiar with some string-specific techniques, or some of its notation, so it may be that some of the first session is spent looking at those, and then trying out some textures which utilise them. I had said I’d bring some completed sketches but that’s looking less likely as time goes on. I’m still struggling to get stuff out of my head and onto the page. And still too many ideas. .. I was directed towards a beautiful piece yesterday; it’s called Bel Canto by Cassandra Miller What struck me (apart from the beautiful, haunting and ethereal sound, and the clarity of her notation) was her capacity to stick with the initial idea and to develop it throughout the entire piece. I always seem to try and cram as much of everything into a piece as possible, afraid that ‘nothing will happen’ otherwise. This problem is compounded in this orchestral piece by the addition of so many instruments (and, of course, the three pianists!!). Today I will definitely try to find out what the piece is all about and narrow it down. Yes. I’m on it…

In other (exciting!) news; Platform 4 have struck a deal with pianist Philip Thomas to collaborate and produce two concerts of new work this Autumn; (provisionally Thursday 17th October St Paul’s Hall, Huddersfield and Saturday 19th October Upper Chapel, Norfolk Street, Sheffield). If you don’t know Philip, have a look at his website: He is, as they say these days, ‘a well good piano player’ and I am now trying to write a piece for him which is worthy of such a well good player. (This, as well as the orchestra piano six hands piece that I’m having massive panic-attacks over… Hmm… Oh, and all this whilst next-door’s are having their kitchen rebuilt… Everything will come with a drone. ‘Hmm’ indeed…).


Author: jennyjacksoncomposer

Jenny Jackson is a composer of acoustic instrumental and vocal work. She is strongly influenced by a long-term interest in the visual and dramatic arts and often chooses to exploit the visual aspect of musical performance in her concert pieces. She has developed this to create two fully staged pieces of music theatre and has collaborated to produce multidisciplinary projects with visual artists, sculptors, writers and choreographers. She is a member of Platform 4 composers - a composer collective based in Sheffield.

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