For his new work for the Grammy Award-winning Parker Quartet, Jeremy Gill drew inspiration from a book described as a “kaleidoscope of postmodern fairy tales.” Motherwhere is a concerto grosso for the Parkers and New York Classical Players, who perform the world premiere on April 1, 2022.
– Tell us a little about Night School: A Reader for Grownups, the book which your composition Motherwhere is based on. How did you come across this fascinating collection of stories? What gripped or fascinated you about it?
– My wife and I are both avid readers, and a couple of years ago we decided that we would try something new: we would each read an author we had never read before whose last name began with A, B, C, etc., through Z. We chose our books (mostly) from the shelves of the McNally Jackson on Prince Street, in Greenwich Village, one of our favorite local bookstores.
My “B” author was Zsófia Bán, and I loved her book from the very first reading, for so many reasons. Firstly, her language itself is wonderfully musical – its rhythms and cadences – despite the fact that I was reading her in translation! (This is a great credit to her translator, Jim Tucker, who managers to translate her Hungarian into a wonderfully idiosyncratic, though natural-sounding English.) Secondly, she manages to perfectly balance whimsy and wisdom, such that one’s never entirely sure if she’s being serious or having a laugh; in this way, she recalls Italo Calvino (one of my favorite writers). Thirdly, she often allows the reader to watch her think “on the page” – we get to follow her train of thought and thrill at her obviously quick wit and sharp, sharp mind (here she recalls Anne Carson to me, another favorite). Fourthly (I could go on and on), she manages somehow to create a unity of twenty-one distinct and seemingly unrelated tales. (…)
Recent collaborators of American composer, conductor, and pianist Jeremy Gill include conductors JoAnn Falletta, Stuart Malina, Steven Osgood, Gil Rose, and Jaap van Zweden; pianists Ching-Yun Hu, Orion Weiss, and Shai Wosner; the vocal sextet Variant 6, and the Grammy-winning Parker Quartet. Jeremy has written major works for flutist Mimi Stillman, oboist Erin Hannigan, clarinetist Chris Grymes, and pianist Peter Orth, and the Buffalo Philharmonic, Chautauqua Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Harrisburg Symphony, and New York Classical Players have each commissioned his music since 2016.
Other commissions have come from the American Opera Project, Chamber Music America, Concert Artists Guild, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, and the American Composers Forum. Jeremy has received major awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, ASCAP, BMI, and the League of American Orchestras.
Major premieres during the 2021–22 season include Corvus Mythicus, commissioned by the Dallas Symphony to celebrate the installation of Dutch artist Arie Van Selmʼs Crow sculpture at the Meyerson Symphony Center; Motherwhere: Bagatelles for Strings, after Bán, a New York Classical Players- commissioned concerto for string quartet and string orchestra to be premiered by the Parker Quartet and NYCP in New York City; and to celebrate the centennial of Jeremyʼs alma mater the Eastman School of Music, a work for massed oboes, oboes dʼamour, English horns, bassoons, and contrabassoons commissioned by Richard Killmer, to be premiered by the Eastman double reeds in Rochester, NY.