Bio

  • “…two of the festival’s most alluring programs
    are recitals by string players who also compose.”

    The New York Times

With playing that is “fierce and lyrical” and works that are “other-worldly” (The Strad) and “evocative” (New York Times), Jessica Meyer is a versatile composer and violist whose passionate musicianship radiates accessibility, generosity, and emotional clarity. As a soloist and member of the award-winning and critically-acclaimed contemporary music collective counter)induction, Jessica has premiered pieces for solo viola internationally – expanding the repertoire for viola by championing new works while also composing her own. Of her recent appearance at The TANK Center for Sonic Arts, where she wrote a solo piece on site for this destination concert venue that boasts a 20-second reverb, Alex Ross of the New Yorker says, “Meyer’s fierce-edged playing activated the Tank’s awe-inspiring properties.”

Meyer’s compositions explore the wide palette of emotionally expressive colors available to each instrument while using traditional and extended techniques inspired by her varied experiences as a contemporary and period instrumentalist. Recent premieres include performances by the Grammy-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, cellist Amanda Gookin for her Forward Music Project at National Sawdust, soprano Melissa Wimbish for her Carnegie Hall debut, and NOVUS NY of Trinity Wall Street under the direction of Julian Wachner. Upcoming commissions include works for the PubliQuartet, flutist/dancer Zara Lawler, flutist Allison Loggins-Hull for her “Diametrically Composed” project, and Sandbox Percussion with vocal duo Two Cities.

In Meyer’s current solo show and “intriguingly vivid” (Lucid Culture) debut album, Sounds of Being, she uses a single simple loop pedal to create a virtuosic orchestral experience with her viola, voice, and hand percussion. Drawing from wide-ranging influences which include Bach, Brahms, Delta blues, Flamenco, Indian Raga, and Appalachian fiddling, Meyer’s music takes audience members on a journey through joy, anxiety, anger, bliss, torment, loneliness and passion. Her solo show has been featured at iconic venues such as BAMcafé and Joe’s Pub in NYC, the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, and in Paris at Sunset Sunside. She is also committed to creating site-specific solo performances inspired by intriguing acoustical spaces, historic places, galleries of visual art, and unlikely concert venues that can provide a rich narrative context in relation to the surrounding community. Recent events include solo performances at the TANK in Rangely, CO and Art Space 98 to accompany a series of visual artworks by Thomas Bühler. Equally at home with many styles of music, Jessica can regularly be seen performing on Baroque viola, improvising with jazz musicians, or collaborating with other performer/composers.

Most notable of all, though, is Meyer’s bravura playing…..is by turns fierce and lyrical.

The StradRead review...

‘Forgiveness’ for bass clarinet and loop pedal, by Jessica Meyer…made the strongest impact.

The New York TimesRead review...

Meyer is a talented composer….reaching for something new and unknown.

New York Classical ReviewRead review...

Meyer’s fierce-edged playing activated the Tank’s awe-inspiring properties.

Alex Ross, The New YorkerRead review

Ms. Meyer is equally known for her inspirational work as an educator, where she empowers musicians with networking, communication, teaching, and entrepreneurial skills so they can be the best advocates for their own careers. Her workshops have been featured at The Juilliard School, the Curtis Institute of Music, for the Teaching Artists of the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Manhattan School of Music, the Longy School of Music, NYU, the Chamber Music America Conference, and at various universities around the country.

Currently, she is most passionate about getting young classical musicians off the page to activate their own creativity, improvise, and awaken their own inner composer well before their college years. Her most recent engagements have been for the National Youth Orchestra of Carnegie Hall and for the North Carolina Chamber Music Institute. She is also a music specialist for The Juilliard School, where she visits the Nord Anglia schools in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Qatar to work with music teachers as they implement a more inquiry-based pedagogy into their curriculum. Students then engage in more creative/reflective activities while learning instruments/general music while Ms. Meyer models life as an artist and leads them in performances/activities where they also embrace their artistic selves.

Jessica is also often hired as a catalyst to help forge better relationships between arts organizations and their surrounding communities. For Carnegie Hall, she worked with community organizations in New Orleans and El Paso as part of their Play USA partnerships, and she also facilitated the #Quartweet Residency between the Princeton Symphony, the Signum Quartet, the Isles Youth Institute, and surrounding elementary schools. She can regularly be found at the Caramoor Center for Music as part of their two-day residencies entitled “What’s in a House”, a series of workshops where students compose music based on rooms of the famous Rosen House.

© Copyright2017 - Jessica Meyer | Composer, Violist, Educator