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Jay Derderian

Portland, OR      

Jay Derderian (b.1986) is composer, guitarist, and Portland-native whose compositions explore the world through a rich, cerebral musical language. His work focuses on creating musical narratives that attempt undermine the traditional relationship of form and content and allow the two to intersect and inform each other. Jay’s fourth string quartet, Celestial Vistas (2007-10) is an intense deconstruction of the palindrome, and his fifth string quartet, Outside the Eyes (2012-13), commissioned by Portland’s Third Angle Ensemble and semi-finalist for the American Prize, removes the score entirely in favor of giving the performers the freedom to choose which version of the piece they want to play simultaneously. Recent projects include Frozen Smolder (2015) for amplified violin, viola, and narrator with text by Portland poet Sandra Stone, I want to unfold (2016), an electro-acoustic sax quartet commissioned by the Mana Quartet and premiered at the Festival of New American Music in Sacramento, and In The Tides I Break (2017) which was commissioned by Portland Piano International for their Rising Stars program. Jay graduated from Portland State University in 2011 with both his BM and MM in composition where he studied with Bonnie Miksch and Bryan Johanson.

Jay’s music has been performed across the United States and has received commissions from some of the leading new music performers and ensembles at work today including The Mana Quartet, The Third Angle Ensemble, fEARnoMUSIC, Portland Piano International, the Eugene Contemporary Chamber Ensemble (ECCE), Mezzo-Soprano Megan Ihnen, violinist Stella Peach, the RE:Percussion Duo, and he’s had his music performed by violist Andrew Stiefel, pianist Hayk Arsenyan, Cascadia Composers, and the FPC Chamber Choir among others. Jay has also had his music featured on the Vox Novus Composer’s Voice Series, the Portland International Piano Festival, March Music Moderne, and College Music Society concerts.

Jay has also recently published reviews in I Care If You Listen and Oregon Arts Watch; two online-only publications devoted to art and music.

Jay resides in Portland with his wife Tri’ah and their daughter, Veda.


Premiered by Seattle’s RE:Percussion Duo on August 16th, 2014.

Andrew Angell/David Solomon – Percussion

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OUTSIDE THE EYES, for string quartet.

Commissioned by and performed by the Third Angle Ensemble as part of their annual New Ideas in Music composition competition.

Ron Blessinger/Greg Ewer – violins, Brian Quincy – viola, Hamilton Cheifetz – cello.

Recorded live on March 21st, 2013 in Lincoln Hall at Portland State University.

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This piece is based off the first completely notated composition. It was discovered in 1883 by W.M Ramsey near Aydin Turkey and has been dated to around 200 B.C. – 100 B.C. It is a Skolion by a Hellenistic poet named Seikilos to his deceased wife, Euterpe.

This type of song was typically sung at the end of a symposium, and the singer usually sung with a lyre. The original marble tombstone uses Greek Notation which included letter

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