CURRENT

Presence performed by the New York Philharmonic.

This is the fourth and final movement from my quintet for string quartet and bass clarinet called On Shapes and Figures. This specific movement was written following a string of deaths in my family that all happened in a relatively tight timeframe. Presence, was my exploration of grief and loss – a minimalist and experiential depiction of the absence of someone’s presence and the vivid presence felt by their loss. The original stage setup requires all quintet members standing, except the cello who remains seated and visually centered throughout. The music goes through 7 repeated cycles with all standing musicians gradually exiting view.

Many thanks to the New York Philharmonic for this digital performance and Carolina Mendez for bringing my visual direction to life. Full audio performance of On Shapes and Figures with Loon Lake live Ensemble HERE.

Panel 1

UPCOMING PROJECTS

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Project for violin and piano

postponed 2021 tba     escapeVelocity    St. Petersburg (FL)

Feat. Giancarlo Latta (violin) & Robert Fleitz (piano)

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Project w/ Castle of our skins & roxbury and Dorchester series of boston stringfest

December 2020  Virtual performance/boston, MA

Feat. castle of our skins & VIRTUAL YOUTH string orchestra

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Etudes for piano and drum machine

postponed 2021 tba    New Gallery Concert Series Commission     Boston, MA

Feat. Sarah Bob (piano)

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And when I sit still, there’s a heart and a brain, for contrabass and piano

postponed 2021 tba    Cincinnati Soundbox Solo Concert    Cincinnati, OH

Feat. Kate Alexandra (bass) Christina Lalog Seal (piano)

Panel 2

LOOKING BACK

Stop Look Listen: Rain, 7.10.20 I decided to venture out into the rain. The surrounding parks where I live have always been a respite for me. I used the footage from that wet afternoon as a prompt for the improv I recorded on keyboard the following day. For me, as a composer, creative, and human being, it’s been an overwhelmingly difficult (and painful) year to feel motivated, so I’ve been exploring new outlets for inspiration.
I’m learning just how important it is to slow down and appreciate the moment. To actively stop, look and listen.
I want this video to serve as a moment of stopping, a moment of rest.

Check out this 2018 performance of my piece, BEAR, originally commissioned by Castle of our Skins. Best yet. Features the incredible Rex Mobley on vocals, with Francesca McNeeley chopping like a pro on the cello and Julia Carey just murdering on the piano (in the best way possible). I’m incredibly grateful, and continuously inspired by you all. Reginald Mobley (all of them) do such a superb job of capturing the complex soup of emotions that makes this piece.Videography by Dave Jamrog. Performance as part of the Nigra Sum Sed Formosa collaboration between Castle of our Skins and the Handel and Haydn Society [April 27th, 3pm at Roxbury Community College].

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CREATIVE EDU & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

About the Very Young Composers Program:

I manage the New York Philharmonic’s Very Young Composer’s program. The Very Young Composers (VYC), created by Jon Deak (Founder, composer and former Associate Principal Bassist), creates opportunities for children to discover and develop their individual musical voices. Children – with or without musical training – discover how to create and realize their own music through a unique approach to composition, supported by teaching artists who act as mentors and scribes. This program aims to empower children by celebrating their creative potential, while also breathing new life and hope into the world of symphonic and concert music with fresh ideas and playful experimentation. All students have the opportunity to write and workshop their music with professional musicians and ensembles, and sometimes the full orchestra!

Learn more about the Very Young Composers program and VYC Founder Jon Deak on the Philharmonic website. Also, especially those with kids, please keep an eye on our Learning@Home page featuring videos and creative explorations created by our world-class Teaching Artist faculty.

Here is a series I’m developing called VYC: Listen Up! featuring our Young Composers’ music performed by members of the New York Philharmonic.

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BIO

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Jessica Mays is a composer, pianist, and singer-songwriter currently residing in New York City.

Born in Denver, CO, Mays’s music has been performed both locally and abroad, including  the New York Philharmonic, the Playground Ensemble, Nebula Ensemble, Ensemble Paramirabo, Ensemble Lunatik, Thin Edge New Music Collective, The Labo de musique contemporaine de Montréal and many others. She has been featured by a variety of festivals as composer and performer including the Chelsea Music Festival, Loon Lake Live, and the Cluster Music Festival. She has also written arrangements for both large and small forces on variety of projects with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Her music has received praise from such major publications as the Boston Globe and the Boston Musical Intelligencer.

Mays currently manages the New York Philharmonic Very Young Composers (VYC) program.