A concert dedicated to the music of Jeremy Gill sheds light on the composer’s disparate sources. A new violin duo, “Lascia fare mi” (“Leave me alone”), explores Bertolucci’s claustrophobic “Last Tango in Paris” through a repeated punning phrase, la, sol, fa, re, mi. “Six Pensées de Pascal,” commissioned and performed here by the vocal group Variant 6, refracts texts by the seventeenth-century French mathematician and theologian through choral dissonance. The Duo for Violin and Piano is open to interpretation, but “Whitman Portrait,” a song cycle for six individual singers with a shimmering piano part (played here by Gill), makes its intentions plain. Texts drawn from the poet’s collected works emphasize different aspects of his character—as a prelude to the piece has it, “hankering, gross, mystical, nude.”
– The New Yorker, 8 April 2019
Gill’s treatment creates a fresh, unique, special and convincing 22-minute concertpiece for clarinet and large orchestra. Grymes deserves commendation for his performance, which is delivered with a beautiful sound, dazzling technical facility and the utmost lyricism.
– The Clarinet, March 2019
Jeremy Gill’s music has a stylistic complexity and dramatic richness that rewards attentive listening. Jeremy Gill: Before the Wresting Tides, a trio of works by Gill for solo instrument and orchestra, performed by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and Gil Rose, displays an especially broad range of mood and energy...His respect for musically historical structural form — a quality that was highly prized by George Rochberg and George Crumb, two of Gill’s teachers at Penn — helps establish an essential coherence in this music…dark, urgent work…introspective…music of great energy and wit.
– Broad Street Review, 20 August 2018
Gill’s work was titled a “Fantasie-Transcription” and is truly a flight of engaging originality spun off from the original Bach duet, “Wie selig sind doch die,” from Bach’s cantata BWV 80 (“A mighty fortress”). Gill lets the Bach notes out of the bag, where they frolic and have a great adventure, then contentedly return to the world of Baroque majesty.
– Broad Street Review, 7 August 2018
The music of the past is of near endless fascination to Jeremy Gill… Serenada concertante (2013) and Notturno concertante (2014) were conceived as a pair of short concerto-type works, the one for oboe, its companion for clarinet, when a pair of commissions arrived serendipitously in close order in the composer’s mailbox. In both pieces the impact of the past is more musically present, not least derived from the favourite works of the two commissioning soloists…oboist Erin Hannigan (who chose ‘Mozart, Strauss and Goossens’) and clarinettist Chris Grymes, whose dream about a mis playing of Nielsen’s Concerto furnished the thematic impetus for Gill’s compellingly active and varied Notturno concertante… The lighter, playful Serenada concertante is more allusive, using the named forebears as models rather than quoting directly…a very warmly recommendable disc.
– Gramophone, April 2018
Celebrated for his masterful use of orchestral color and probing integration of influences classical and modern, composer Jeremy Gill shines with three unique concertos in this latest release from BMOP/sound…Before the Wresting Tides incorporates and illuminates both musical and poetic idioms, and brings a new dimension to Crane’s dense, haunting words. Serenada Concertante was written for Dallas Symphony Principal Oboist Erin Hannigan, reveling in virtuosity and paying tribute to touchstone works of the solo oboe repertoire. Balancing the Serenade is Notturno Concertante, written for clarinetist Chris Grymes and exploring the genre of night music. Gill dissolves limitations of time, space, and consciousness in seductive, dreamlike flights of fancy.
– HRAudio.net, March 2018
Opening with the fearsome tread of time, [Before the Wresting Tides] goes on to observe the turbulent sea and reflect on our awestruck reactions, with expressive result.
– The American Record Guide, January/February 2018
Gill’s writing makes large romantic gestures with plenty of painfully virtuosic opportunities (handled beautifully) for the soloist and the various soli and duettini which occur in the course of this full blown concerto. The composer’s ability to utilize such a large orchestra yet still produce lucid textures is a mark of genius…amazing virtuosity and lyricism played against a large and lucid orchestral fabric.
– New Music Buff, 10 January 2018
[T]he execution is fresh and clever….[Capriccio] is a compositional tour-de-force that shows Gill’s versatility and attention to detail.
– The American Record Guide, March/April 2016
Getting its world premiere was the Serenada Concertante for oboe and orchestra by the 41-year-old American composer Jeremy Gill…it’s replete with imaginative textures and interplays between soloist and orchestra…By turns stringing out lyric lines, weaving arabesques and exploding in flourishes and runs, the oboe seems almost to tell a tale. It’s hard to imagine a soloist more authoritative or more eloquent than [Erin] Hannigan, and [Jaap] van Zweden led an incisive, finely detailed orchestral collaboration.
– The Dallas Morning News, 30 January 2016
Composer Gill took advantage of the oboe’s natural lyricism to create a succinct, 19-minute concerto which opens somewhat romantically, with the oboe’s long opening note emerging mystically from a cloud of strings…the overall effect was rhapsodic and elegiac, including an extended cadenza that may well rank as the longest patch of writing for unaccompanied oboe in the entire classical repertoire. Soloist [Erin] Hannigan presented this first performance of the work, written specifically for her, with flawless control and an appropriately gorgeous tone quality.
– Dallas Observer, 30 January 2016
The audience was hoping for heart. And they got it. Serenada Concertante by Jeremy Gill featured principal oboist Erin Hannigan. This world premiere, composed for her, highlighted iron-lung breath control, adventurous technique, and tone like a sunrise. Seated behind, her musical family’s playing was the most emotionally invested of the night…The DSO owned every one of the composition’s many layers.
– Theater Jones, 30 January 2016
Postmoderna è anche l’ironia che percorre l’opera [Capriccio], come pure lo è la frammentazione in luogo del principio di unità…Il che non toglie all’autore di concedersi anche a tracce di maggiore respiro melodico e armonico. Il titolo…si giustifica soprattutto per il fantasioso e bizzarro, dunque capriccioso, dispiego delle più disparate tecniche per strumenti ad arco, richiedenti un virtuosismo che certo non spaventa i giovani componenti del Parker Quartet, capaci di sbrogliare le intricate matasse contrappuntistiche come pure di sfoggiare le loro abilità solistiche.
– Filippo Focosi, writing for Kathodik, 12 January 2016
[Capriccio is] an eclectic curio cabinet worth close inspection.
– Grant Chu Covell, writing for La Folia, November 2015
The overall stylistic profile of Capriccio is intensely eclectic…Capriccio, however, is the sum of its parts, and although many of the movements are lovely in their own right, the greatest impact is registered globally…The imaginative and intellectually curious music lover will be amply rewarded for deeper listening.
– Broad Street Review, 22 September 2015
Here, in one fell swoop, is evidence of Jeremy Gill’s mastery of the form. Capriccio is one of the most remarkable opuses in chamber music this year. The cumulative impact of its individual pieces is quite breathtaking, some of which clearly occupy the bluest part of the flame of the art.
– Jazz da Gama, 23 August 2015
[A] compelling musical narrative much greater than the sum of the individual parts. Gill’s stylistic references range from retro-Baroque to plinkingly post-modern, and the performance by the Parker Quartet, who commissioned the piece, is stunningly accomplished. A work to return to often, for fresh insight and stimulation.
– Terry Blain, writing for Minnesota Public Radio, 17 August 2015
…a tour de force of brilliant miniature compositions…a wonderful showcase for the Parker Quartet… By the vivacity of each part and the experience of the ever-shifting whole one is captivated and endlessly stimulated. In the process Jeremy Gill conveys to us his own special sensibilities as a composer of almost unlimited breadth, a master stylist who knows virtually no boundaries in his poetic collocation of past, present and future into an hour of quartet fireworks and fantasia. Brilliant!
– Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, 4 August 2015
[Capriccio is] a varied and kaleidoscopic collection of vivid miniatures…an ebullient cataloging of the various textural and rhetorical forms that writing for string quartet can take. The work comprises 27 short movements, some no more than 30 seconds long, yet the effect is neither aphoristic nor brusque. On the contrary, there’s a generosity of spirit at work here that is only reaffirmed by the [Parker] quartet’s splendid playing.
– San Francisco Chronicle, 15 July 2015
I was most impressed with Gill’s “Words” which had a wide, dramatic range for such a short poem.
– “Second [email protected] Concert an experimental hodgepodge,” Northwest Reverb, 15 July 2015
His Notturno Concertante…is very fine, featuring a broad, episodic structure, Gill’s keen sense for timbral blending, and perhaps most significantly, a brilliantly colorful virtuoso solo part. Grymes, who played the music from memory, delivered a swaggeringly bravura performance that brought much of the audience to its feet.
– “Rehearing New Music,” Peter Burwasser (Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia), 3 June 2015
The finale [of Whitman Portrait] is a moving setting of Whitman’s death song, “Darest thou now, O Soul, walk out with me toward the unknown region.” It was sung by Michelle Johnson, a young soprano who’s been playing title roles all over the United States, and it brought the evening to a rousing close. Johnson’s voice floated over a torrent of piano music, singing a vocal line that matched the flow of Whitman’s language.
– Broad Street Review, 5 May 2015
Jeremy Gill’s Sons Découpés used a musical version of the visual technique developed by Matisse, but you could listen to the melodies and the instrumental interactions without knowing that. It belonged in the general world inhabited by Debussy and even used a trio similar to Debussy’s sonata for flute, viola, and harp. Gill explored new ground — and enhanced the contrasts — by combining the harp with the lower voice of the cello and the high, melodious voice of the piccolo.
– Broad Street Review, 3 March 2015
Jeremy Gill basically took both approaches (reinventing Bach and rebelling against him) with his collagelike Nearly Complementary Invention with Quasi-Canonized Bach.
– Philadelphia Inquirer, 21 January 2015
Those are the bookends Maestro Stuart Malina selected to embrace the world premiere of the evening’s other treasure, a wonderfully intricate new clarinet concerto by Central Pennsylvania native and current Boston resident Jeremy Gill, who attended Saturday night’s opening performance at The Forum in downtown Harrisburg…[clarinetist Christopher] Grymes demonstrated superlative skill throughout this new work, which built to a swirling finale reminiscent of Ravel…Malina welcomed Gill to the stage following the performance, where he joined Grymes for an extended ovation.
– The Sentinel, 10 November 2014
Then came the world premiere of Notturno Concertante by Harrisburg’s own Jeremy Gill, a spellbinding work with more charms than The Forum ceiling has stars.
– The Harrisburg Patriot-News, 9 November 2014
A movement in which the strings wandered around in high silvery harmonics followed one in which the three high strings plucked a guitarlike accompaniment to the cello’s tenor song. In another, a broadly bowed legato morphed into the pins and needles of a sharply detached spiccato. A movement titled “Open Strings,” which gave off a whiff of orchestral tuning, seemed as at home in here as the movements where the quartet slithered around in microtones. Scattered among the movements, the four interludes with their echoes of the Renaissance and the baroque paid homage to the music’s forebears. The total effect of these distilled slices of musical stuff was intriguing. The Parker ensemble seemed to revel in its challenges, and the hour flew by.
– The Washington Post, 2 April 2014
…engaging and finely crafted…Gill focused on many extended techniques, including wood-of-the-bow effects, complex harmonics (all so perfectly tuned in this performance), near-bridge or near-fingerboard tone, multiple stops, left-hand pizzicati, “Bartók” pizzicati, and so on. The string instruments, however, were really made to produce a glowing legato sound, the one that composers now tend to avoid, and the piece shone most when in that mode, usually in extensive quotations from or adaptations of earlier music. In all of it, the Parker Quartet played with impeccable technique and dedication.
– Ionarts, 2 April 2014
…the New York premiere of Jeremy Gill’s Ode: A Dramatic Cantata came in with a cacophonic density, taking its inspiration from several poetic texts…the fiery cello opening [of “Dithyramb”] was particularly exciting, performed by Gabriel Cabezas with hearty aggressiveness.
– Seen and Heard International, 17 December 2013
Wednesday evening’s program of new chamber cantatas by Jeremy Gill and Shulamit Ran…was both sonically seductive and thought-provoking as it explored the fluid border between the lyric and the dramatic. In Mr. Gill’s “Ode: A Dramatic Cantata,” [Lucy] Shelton drew on expressive modes from dramatic spoken recitation to ringing fortes and softly floated high notes. The piece sets Greek texts…to a vividly colored instrumental score for piano, cello and flute.
– The New York Times, 10 December 2013
Best news first: Gill’s [Before the Wresting] Tides uses a large canvas and gives chorus, orchestra, and virtuoso pianist much to do as the music leaps out in many directions, its burgeoning sense of invention prompted by Hart Crane’s restlessly morphing imagery in the poem “Voyages II”…exhilarating indeed…the ending is a stunner.
– Philadelphia Inquirer, 27 February 2013
His music, judging by this selection, is grand, serious in mood…[Helian] is a work of considerable intensity.
– American Record Guide, January/February 2012
Jeremy Gill is a comer in the world of new music. He is, like the best of his contemporaries, unconcerned with stylistic battles concerning things like tonality, historicism, or audience pandering. He uses whatever tools are available and useful, and has managed to find his own voice. It is one well worth listening to.
– Fanfare, November/December 2011
Mark Laubach’s recital at Pine Street Presbyterian Church included the commissioned work by Jeremy Gill, 8 Variations and Toccata on “Betzet Yisrael” in all its onomatopoeic splendor with trembling earth, mountains skipping like rams, and rocks turned into a fountain of waters! The 83-rank Skinner/Möller was more than equal to this challenge, as was Canon Laubach.
– The American Organist, October 2011
Jeremy Gill’s music is particularly concerned with sound qualities, to the extent that he’ll move his performers to different parts of the hall during the course of a work, as was the case in the Philadelphia premiere of his 2009 work Soglie, Serenate, Sfere, for oboe and two percussionists…this shift also altered the music’s emotional shape—pulling the sound away, creating a distance of not just space but time, as Gill evoked ancient, even primeval impulses. I’ve heard Gill make similar broadly cultural and ritualistic allusions in earlier works. It seems to be a signature for this promising young composer.
– Broad Street Review, 1 March 2011
Jeremy Gill has imagination, and his music is well worth hearing, reading about, and investigating.
– American Record Guide, May/June 2009
Gill writes with precision and care, intriguing imagination, and a fearless emotional depth…His earthy, even primitive sounds seem to link one of mankind’s earliest civilizations as much to our animal essence as to our apparent sophistication.
– Philadelphia Music Makers, Spring 2009
More daringly terse was Jeremy Gill’s superb Eliot Fragments, whose episodes jumped off from T.S. Eliot quotations to create stark, explosive sound pictures that went to extremes within seconds.
– Philadelphia Inquirer, 4 March 2009