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Composer in Residence

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Jacob Walsh

Junior Session

BM in Oboe Performance and Music Composition, Ithaca College

MM in Oboe Performance and Music Composition, Indiana University

Joined LMC Faculty in 2019

Share with us some of your professional accomplishments.

I am a composer, oboist and educator originally from deep in the woods of Rhode Island. As a composer, I am passionate about communicating with many different kinds of audiences and exploring the ideas of narrative through sound. I think that for many people, story telling is a very meaningful access point into our world as musicians, and it is this idea of story telling that I wish to share through all of the music I make. I am passionate about new music as well as music education, and I believe that through the way that we teach and talk about music we can pass down a rich tradition of music making as well as inspire young people to share their own story through music.

I have written music for solo instruments, voices, chamber ensembles, as well as full orchestral works, with performances across the United States and internationally. My latest collaboration was an orchestra piece titled "Anke Dje, Anke Be," commissioned and premiered by The Boston Landmarks Orchestra in August of 2018. The piece included participation of 20 young people from Camp Harbor View Boston playing percussion, dancing, and reciting spoken word alongside the orchestra at the Hatch Memorial Shell in Boston. My music has won the Ithaca College Downey Prize for vocal composition, The Smadbeck Memorial Prize, 1st Place winner of the 2018 NOTUS Choral Composition Competition at Indiana University, and I was a finalist for the Arizona State University Symphony Orchestra Composition Competition in 2018.  I am passionate about performing, especially commissioning and premiering new works. I have performed with the Indiana University New Music Ensemble for the past three years, and traveled with them to Mexico City for a performance in May 2018. In addition to performing in orchestras during my M.M. at Indiana University, I have performed Oboe and English Horn in a number of orchestras including the Binghamton Philharmonic, the Grassroots Festival Chamber Orchestra, the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic Orchestra, and more. I have also played oboe and English Horn with Ensemble X Contemporary Music Ensemble in Ithaca, NY. I am currently writing an oboe concerto which I plan to premiere myself in the Fall of 2019. 

What excites you about Luzerne Music Center?

Luzerne Music Center is unique in that it has a Music Composition program for young students who otherwise may not have the opportunity to ever write music on their own. I look forward to being able to guide this process of thinking about music from a different perspective, and giving students the tools to explore what it means to be a composer. I believe Luzerne offers a wonderful chance for young musicians to explore music composition in addition to a very high level of study their performance areas. I am also looking forward to being surrounded by so many wonderful colleagues who are as equally passionate about the art of music as they are passionate about the art of teaching.  

What can campers expect to learn while working with you this summer?

One of the most important things about learning about music composition goes far beyond just "writing notes on a piece of paper. I aim for all of my students who are interested in Music Composition to leave camp not only feeling confident about new ways to write music, but most importantly new ways to think about music. I want to explore what happens when we think about music as sound and noise, how we can talk about the way music makes us feel, what makes a melody work, and how we can find "that perfect harmony" that sends shivers down your spine. It is true that studying Music Composition includes writing notes on paper and getting those notes performed, yes. However, I want each student to leave having a different perspective of how to think like a composer and look at a blank sheet of paper in front of them and turn it into a beautiful, authentic piece of music waiting to have life breathed into it. Campers can also look forward to learning music theory with me with a strong emphasis on active participation through ear training and aural skills as well as how to apply things learned in a music theory classroom to their every day life as performers and composers!

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Connor Elias Way

Senior Session

BM in Music Composition, Georgia State University

MM in Music Composition, Peabody Conservatory

MFA in Music Composition, Princeton University

PhD in Music Composition, Princeton University, in progress

Joined LMC Faculty in 2024

Share with us some of your professional accomplishments.

I am a composer and teacher based in Brooklyn, NY. In much of my work, I play with ways of turning simple materials into luminous soundscapes, often by using an intricate network of canons and spectrally-oriented harmonies. I love the moment in music when the ordinary transforms into the sublime. 

 

My musical background is as a post-rock guitarist turned harpist turned composer, which has enabled me to connect easily with students of myriad stylistic persuasions. Currently, I serve as Adjunct Professor at Montclair State University where I teach graduate seminars in theory and analysis. As a doctoral fellow at Princeton, I was deeply involved as a teacher of both theory and composition lessons. I also helped develop a new course called Reimagining Counterpoint which reframes the art of linear composition using contemporary materials.

 

I’ve had the privilege of writing for many of today’s leading contemporary music ensembles such as Alarm Will Sound, JACK quartet, Contemporaneous, Sō Percussion, Yarn/Wire, and many others. My orchestra music has been performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, the Aspen Conducting Academy Orchestra, among others, and at the Charleston Symphony Orchestra’s Magnetic South series. Currently, I’m working on a new album-length project for the Irish singer Iarla Ó Lionáird and harpist Parker Ramsey which will premiere in Dublin in October of 2024 thanks to a commission from the Arts Council of Ireland. 

 

What excites you about Luzerne Music Center?

I’m thrilled to be this year’s Composer-in-Residence at the Luzerne Music Center. Part of what excites me about Luzerne is simply the context in which it happens – there’s something magical about experiencing incredible music surrounded by nature during summer break! These kinds of “musical oasis” experiences were hugely important for me during my student years and I’m honored to help pass on that experience to a younger generation of musicians. 

 

On a more specific note, I’m looking forward to working with students of all backgrounds and skill levels who are interested in learning how to compose music. I love facilitating moments of inspiration during both composition lessons and theory classes, guiding students towards a “light bulb” moment when a new musical passion is discovered. 

 

What can campers expect to learn while working with you this summer?

Campers can expect to tackle the mysterious art of writing music in a supportive and curiosity-driven atmosphere, be they first-timers or relatively seasoned composers. We will seek to connect with our own musical voices while also broadening our horizons by learning about a wide array of styles and techniques. By exploring the skills which make composition possible (notation, sketching ideas, developing themes, etc.), we will aim to bring some of our own ideas to life.

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