With playing that is “fierce and lyrical” and works that are “other-worldly” (The Strad) and “evocative” (New York Times), Jessica Meyer is a GRAMMY® – nominated violist and composer whose passionate musicianship radiates accessibility and emotional clarity. Her first composer/performer portrait album in 2019 debuted at #1 on the Billboard traditional classical chart, where “knife-edge anticipation opens on to unexpected, often ecstatic musical realms, always with a personal touch and imaginatively written for the instruments” (Gramophone Magazine).
Meyer’s compositions viscerally 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. Since embarking on her composition career eight years ago, premieres have included performances by acclaimed vocal ensembles Roomful of Teeth and Vox Clamantis, the St. Lawrence String Quartet as the composer in residence at Spoleto Festival USA, the American Brass Quintet, PUBLIQuartet, cellist Amanda Gookin for her Forward Music Project, Sybarite 5, NOVUS NY of Trinity Wall Street, a work for A Far Cry commissioned by the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, the Juilliard School for a project with the Historical Performance Program, and by the Lorelei Ensemble for a song cycle that received the Dale Warland Singers Commission Award from Chorus America.
Her first Symphonic Band piece was recently premiered by the President’s Own Marine Band (with an upcoming NY premiere in Carnegie Hall), and her orchestral works have been performed by the Phoenix, North Carolina, Charlotte, and Vermont Symphonies, the Nu Deco Ensemble in Miami, and all around the country as part of Carnegie Hall’s nationwide Link Up Program. This past year she was the winner of the 2nd Annual Ellis-Beauregard Foundation Composer’s Award to write a piece for the Bangor Symphony, and a winner of Chamber Music America’s Commissioning Program Award to write for the Argus Quartet. Recent chamber/solo premieres included a work for CityMusic Cleveland, musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra, and for the Five Borough Songbook. Next season brings the premiere of “GAEA”, a concerto for herself and orchestra, as well as works for the Dorian Wind Quintet, Hub New Music, the Portland Youth Philharmonic in collaboration with the female vocal ensemble In Mulieribus, and ensemble fivebyfive as a recipient of a New York State Council on the Arts Grant.
As a solo performer, Ms. Meyer uses a single simple loop pedal to create a virtuosic orchestral experience with her viola and voice. 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 shows have been featured at iconic venues such as BAMcafé, Joe’s Pub, and Symphony Space in NYC, the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, in Paris at Sunset Sunside, in addition to venues in Singapore, Switzerland, Vietnam, the Emirates and beyond. At home with many different styles of music and an ardent collaborator, Jessica can regularly be seen premiering her chamber works, creating with dancer/choreographer Caroline Fermin, performing on Baroque viola, improvising with jazz musicians, or collaborating with other composer-performers.