Monday, September 21, 2015

composer FAIL #86

This rejection has been sitting in my inbox for about a month (unlike the others that have been sitting in Blogger Draft Limbo), and I'm sure you've received this one too.


(Seriously. It's so hot right now.)

But, that's okay. If I had to take yet another week off from my academic engagement, my department head would probably stop making eye contact with me. Instead, I'm coming at you, Vermont.

Dennis Báthory Kitsz took this photo.
People have asked if I'm getting excited about my trip. Yes, I'm excited, but I'm also excitedly nervous since I'm having this big-ish premiere and I hope everything turns out okay.

(Oh yes. And especially since Jaime Laredo will be conducting my work.)

So, before my trip, I thought I'd share with you the story of how I met both Jaime Laredo and Sharon Robinson in person at the Cincinnati Symphony.

They are both lovely people, which is fortuitous since I am the most awkward person.
Me: Hi…I wanted to introduce myself quickly since there are many others here to see you both tonight. My name is Jennifer Jolley, and I thought I'd introduce myself because I'll be writing for the Vermont Symphony Orchestra…
Sharon: Oh! So, you'll be writing program notes for the symphony!
Me: No…um…I'm a composer, so I'll be writing a piece for the Vermont Symphony Orchestra…
Sharon and/or Jaime: OH! You're writing a piece for the Symphony!
Jaime: Is this part of the Made in Vermont Series?
Me: Yes!
 Thank GOD they are the nicest people.

Monday, April 6, 2015

composer FAIL #85

Thanks to composer Evan Williams, I now have a picture of a bonfire on my blog. Truthfully, you'd expect to see more of these around springtime; however, this one is special since a whole bunch of Cincinnati composers got together (myself excluded) and decided to burn a whole bunch of physical copies of their rejection letters.

Spring cleaning, indeed.

This rejection is fresh out of my inbox since this past week has been absolutely crushing (this rejection did not help), and well, Hope Springs Eternal, especially when your composer friends decide to do something…incendiary.

(I still like my horn piece, btw.)

Monday, January 26, 2015

composer FAIL #84

Oh yes, I still receive them. And I will keep receiving them in my inbox as long as I live.

(Unless, of course, I start receiving rejections via text and/or Facebook messenger. Which would totally suck.)

Maybe there is a glitch in the matrix, but I have a funny suspicion that I've received the same rejection letter. Again. Well, I don't think I'll be applying to Opera Philadelphia again in the near future.


My friend John Lane has an awesome new podcast entitled "Standing in the Stream," a podcast for and about creative people. And guess what? I'm on it! If you listen, I'll talk about blogging, my academic engagement, my opera company, and a couple of projects I'm working on.

Monday, December 29, 2014

the first unsilent night

Photos by Dakota Parrish
This year I decided I was going to participate in an Unsilent Night performance/walk/sound installation no matter what. I was determined to go this year, considering I heard about this piece in 2006 and thought it was the coolest idea ever. Who needs carolers when you can round up a few of your friends and friends of friends and freshmen and head out with analog tape players or even CDs or boom boxes and even apps on your cell phone.

Some backstory: In 2012 Cincinnati finally had their first Unsilent Night parade sponsored by the Contemporary Arts Center (huge thanks to Drew Klein) and Drew called (or texted?) me and asked if I wanted to participate and if I wanted to lend out my collection of tape recorders. Unfortunately at my new academic engagement, I had to listen and grade juries of all kinds (winds, brass, organ, voice, guitar, you name it, I had to be there). So, I was stuck in Delaware all day, but my tapes made it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

a puppet psa

Cameron Garrity with his creations. © 2014 Richard Termine
Hello blog, my good, trusted, now six-year-old friend. I know it has been awhile. I know I've unwillingly pushed you aside while my academic engagement has me doing a whole hell of a lot of teaching and a whole hell of a lot of meetings; and frankly, you are something I shouldn't have abandoned. Why? Well, I haven't been able to write, and in turn I have not been able to think. And so, due to my lack of blog attentiveness, my thinking has atrophied. I lament this, but maybe Thanksgiving break can not only help me realize how thankful I am to have my wits, but also help me nurture my brain and coax some bits of brilliance back into it.

Now: Puppets.

Why do I bring up puppets? As promised, I said I'd write about the 2014 Puppet Conference. And frankly, I need to. Considering that Puppet Camp takes place in June, which also takes place during a NANOWorks production and another engagement that will have me wearing powder-blue polos daily, I may never be able to attend Puppet Conference again.

Okay, that's a bit drastic. Maybe the time will come when I meet the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center again, but until then, I can compose my thoughts and write some memories.

So, let me tell you a little about Cameron (T) Garrity, a puppeteer I met at this conference. He is the son of a bicycle maker and a teacher, and the grandson to a war veteran and an amateur chef, and the great-great grandson of a penny-less, leg-less, monkey-less organ grinder.

(Okay, okay, not really, but work with the narrative here.) Mr. Garrity created a Puppet PSA explaining mitochondrial disease. Well, not so much a Puppet PSA as much as a narrative about a kid growing up with mitochondrial disease. And from what I learned from this puppet play, it kinda sucks.

The music I created for this puppet play is incidental, at best. Much of the material was improvised; some of it was stolen. But ultimately, the music does not matter here—what matters is that I learned something from Cameron, in that we need more stories like this (and not the generic ones in our dramaturgy). We need theater that makes us think.

Monday, September 22, 2014

composer FAIL #83

The past few weeks I've either been opera planning, lesson planning, or reducing Copland (more on that in a future post because it seriously consumed my life for a while). Alas, the rejection letters had been piling up. So, instead on working on more Copland parts, I decided to clear out my inbox instead. Enjoy!

If there were only seventeen applicants…sigh.

Friday, August 15, 2014

composer FAIL #82

So I have this dilemma. There is a composition competition that is due today, and I am tempted to enter it, but alas, they sent me a rejection letter a few months earlier.

Look familiar? If I were to enter this comp-comp, I'd submit the same piece as last year (Spielzeug Straßenbahn) but I would have a recording this time around. But I would be submitting a rejected piece. And there's an application fee. So, maybe I should say no, but…

(sometimes I wonder if I have entered a new level of masochism.)

Monday, July 7, 2014

some summer projects

I thought I'd break up the rejection pile a bit with a random post that involves puppets, opera, and maybe a puppet opera. And some deep thoughts.

  • Puppet Camp was fun: I met lots of cool people and improvised some incidental music to some of the participant projects. Heck, I even wrote some music for one of the participant projects.
Meet Helmut.

Isn't he beautiful?

So, the rest of the summer will include:
  • reducing Copland for my academic institution…
  • going to baseball games
  • reading about baseball games
  • going through over sixty NANOWorks opera entries so I can pick the next season
    • sadly sending out rejection letters…there might be a new blog post about this…
  • maybe cuddle a cat?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

composer FAIL #81

I'd like to tell you all that Lindsay Cat is sleeping on a Very Important Document, you know, something to do with casting a NANOWorks show or sending a Very Important Email about a NANOWorks show, but in typical Cat Fashion, she is not helping with said NANOWorks show.

Did I mention we have a show?

Anyway, I'll post the latest rejection letter. And, instead of spending a year in Rome, I'll be attending the 2014 O’Neill National Puppetry Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT starting this Saturday. Like I wanted to eat spaghetti alla carbonara anyway…(sob).