A native of Wilmington, Delaware, Jonathan Pieslak (born 1974) is an Associate Professor at The City College of New York and the Graduate Center, CUNY. His music has been performed and broadcast throughout the United States and internationally, entailing recent collaborations with the Kiev Philharmonic, the Plainfield Symphony Orchestra, the Iktus Percussion Quartet, the North/South Consonance, and the Oregon Bach Festival, and receiving acclaim as “a powerful and intense statement” (in The Michigan Daily) and “especially inspired” (in The Eugene Register-Guard).
Notes from the Composer
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Performed by the Kiev Philharmonic, conducted by Robert Ian Winstin
I have often been fascinated and disturbed by my inability to turn away from grotesque images. Media coverage and the Internet expose us, first hand, to intensely graphic images of human suffering, and many times I question why I am so captivated by brutality, while at the same time finding it disgusting.
In Inertia, a single pitch, A, is sustained throughout the entire work and passed among all instrumental groups, representing the brutality that is an addiction of our culture. Sometimes audible and sometimes covered up, the sustained pitch is confronted by the music of the piece, which attempts to drown it out. However, as the final percussion crescendo seemingly wipes away the symbolic infatuation with violence, the sustained pitch outlasts the music’s efforts to turn away from it.
Inertia was commissioned in 2003 by the American Composers Forum and the Jerome Foundation and was premiered in 2005 by the Plainfield Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Sabin Pautza.
Replisome Strands/ Facades
Performed by the Anubis Saxophone Quartet
Replisome Strands and Facades, from 2010, are two miniatures for saxophone quartet. Replisome Strands was derived from an idea I had while watching a movie about the replication of DNA. I was fascinated at how enzymes would bind DNA but would occasionally goof up, resulting in mutations. Replisome Strands takes this idea as the instruments follow one another’s patterns in slight mutations.
Facades is a hodgepodge of sections and ideas that intermittently pokes fun at itself through some of the best (or worst, depending on your taste; see if you can catch the quotes) music for the saxophone.