Steve Jobs, Dr. Seuss, Cesar Chavez, and a modern composer experiencing them all

Steve Jobs, Dr. Seuss, Cesar Chavez, and a modern composer experiencing them all....

Mention the term “classical music”, and most people think of Beethoven, Bach, or Mozart. Byzantine symphonies penned hundreds of years ago by eccentric men in wigs. As important as it is to celebrate origins, it is equally important to recognize each new generation of composers, and their contribution of building on classical music. Currently, a new generation of musicians are emerging who are dramatically altering the landscape of classical music by infusing it with cutting edge science and technology. Leading this revolution is a vibrant composer named David A Jaffe. 

 

In 1982, Jaffe released a symphony of imaginary plucked stringed instruments played by an electronic orchestra titled: "Silicon Valley Breakdown". This seminal piece of work attracted international attention, including tech visionary Steve Jobs.  When Jobs was fired from Apple a few years later, he quickly formed a new computer company called NeXT. Jobs turned to Jaffe to create music software for his upstart computer company. Jaffe and his partner developed the NeXT Music Kit, which digitized the sounds of musical instruments. In 1997, NeXT was purchased and merged into Apple. Pieces of NeXT Music Kit may live on today in the current Apple music software, Logic Pro X.

His ideas are fresh, bold, and exciting. Jaffe draws on contemporary resources for his sounds and ideas. Known for combining classical and jazz, he infuses projects with non traditional instruments such as mandolin and klezmer. As a hobby, he is a birder. Jaffe has been inspired to synthesize bird sounds with human voices. 1991’s “Songs of California”, an acapella cantata for twelve singers is based on the words of Cesar Chavez, John Muir and others. He thrives on digital innovation, and his inspiration continues to be found in unique and unlikely places. 

Jaffe’s most recent project, “How Did It Get So Late So Soon?” is an homage to a Dr. Seuss poem of the same name, published a year before his death.  Jaffe describes this concerto for violin and chamber orchestra as “a musing on time folding back on itself.” The twenty-minute concerto is the latest in a series of works exploring non-linear perception and connection.

The North American premier of “How Did It Get So Late So Soon?” will be performed by the Boulder Chamber Orchestra on November 11th in Broomfield, CO and November 12th in Boulder, CO. Music Director Bahman Saless conducting.

 

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