Scratch That: Glance Back, Look Ahead

Jenna Lyle

Jenna Lyle, composer and doctoral student at Northwestern University

Favorite 2012 musical moment:

Spektral Quartet and High Concept LaboratoriesTheater of War performance took the cake for me this year. While I naturally advocate for the creation and presentation of art for its own sake, I also acknowledge that some very important things can be said when an art form speaks to something outside of itself. Theater of War felt like a celebration of Chicago’s literary, visual art, and musical communities as well as a poignant, sobering reflection on the global state of affairs. And there was no statement of purpose banging me over the head, no explicit anti- or pro-war message. Just a series of works that looked in war’s direction–all from the perspective of people in the U.S., away from the front lines. Felt kind of a like a Brahms’s Requiem treatment of war, singing to the living, and to those attempting to process something they may not be directly experiencing. The whole evening confronted a truth that we can’t very well ignore: Regardless of proximity, war is something we can feel. And we all felt it together that night.

New Year’s Resolution:

To embrace the things that I am and to make peace with the things I’m not–to take pressure off of myself to be a master of everything. I write music. I’m pretty good at that. I’ll start there.

Looking forward to in 2013:

I get to collaborate with Jesse Langen (guitarist, Ensemble Dal Niente) on a piece for his youth players at the People’s School of Music. In the past, I’ve shied away from writing for youth ensemble, but with this project, I’m excited to brainwash young players to love contemporary instrumental techniques.

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