photo by Louise J. Greenfield
In Aeternam was written as a memorial to Jalbert’s niece, who died at birth. For the composer’s excellent notes on the piece, click here.
The 32 -year-old Jalbert is currently at the American Academy in Rome, having won the Rome Prize. “It’s a wonderful place, and I am enjoying my time here very much. My studio is in a building called Casa Rustica, which is built on the spot where Galileo first used his telescope, and right behind my studio is a large stone wall which happens to be the Aurelian Wall, built around the first century A.D. This blows my mind every time I think about it.”
While in Rome, he is working on his largest-scale orchestra work to date, Symphonia Sacra, again for the California Symphony. The Symphony will premiere the piece in April 2001. “It is a three-movement work in which I try to write two different kinds of music,” Jalbert writes, “one sacred, one profane (or secular), and then juxtapose them. I had the idea before coming to Rome, but being in Rome has inspired the idea all the more!”
Jalbert, who has also won a Guggenheim fellowship, takes a pragmatic view of the competition scene. He sees composition competitions as “sometimes a way of getting noticed and getting performed. You just hope it will lead to other performances and commissions without always having to compete.”