Blog

Source Code

Jesse is an acclaimed composer, violinist, and educator, a winner of the Leonard Bernstein Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) Foundation. Her music interweaves classical music with elements of vernacular music, improvisation, language, and social justice, placing her squarely as one of the most relevant interpreters of 21st century sound and experience. The Washington Post called her works “turbulent and colorful”. She describes music as her “connection to the world. t guides me to understand my place in relation to others and challenges me to make clear the things I do not understand. I imagine that music is a meeting place where all people can converse about their unique differences and common stories.”

Here is her description of Source Code: “The first sketches of Source Code began as transcriptions of various sources from African American artists prominent during the peak of the Civil Rights era in the United States. I experimented by re-interpreting gestures, sentences, and musical syntax (the bare bones of rhythm and inflection) by choreographer Alvin Ailey, poets Langston Hughes and Rita Dove, and the great jazz songstress Ella Fitzgerald into musical sentences and tone paintings. Ultimately, this exercise of listening, re-imagining, and transcribing led me back to the black spiritual as a common musical source across all three genres. The spiritual is a significant part of the DNA of black folk music, and subsequently most (arguably all) American pop music forms that have developed to the present day. This one-movement work is a kind of dirge, which centers on a melody based on syntax derived from black spirituals. The melody is continuous and cycles through like a gene strand with which all other textures play.”