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Jay Derderian

Portland, OR      

Jay Derderian (b.1986) is a composer, 7-string electric guitarist, and Portland Oregon native.

Derderian has been writing, performing, and improvising longer than he hasn’t. He picked up his first guitar at 13, began private formal training at 15, then entered into the music composition program at Portland State University where he studied with Bonnie Miksch and Bryan Johanson and later graduated in 2011 at 24 as one of the department’s youngest Master’s students with a M.S. and B.M. in Music Composition.

Derderian’s compositions encompass a wide array of genres including solos, chamber music, multi-media compositions, electro-acoustic music, and symphonic works. Each piece seeks to utilize stylistic plurality while balancing emotional sincerity, impassioned harmony, memorable melody, elegant form, and clarity of expression.  Recent projects include I want to unfold (2016), an electro-acoustic sax quartet commissioned and premiered by the Mana Quartet at the 39th Festival of New American Music, In The Tides I Break (2017) commissioned by Portland Piano International for their Rising Stars program, Child of The Sun (2018), commissioned by the Seen/Heard Trio, and The People They Think We Are (2018) for piano, video, and fixed media, commissioned by Kathy Supove.

Derderian’s compositions have been performed across the United States and he’s received commissions and performances from some of the leading new music performers and ensembles including The Mana Quartet, the Seen/Heard Trio, fEARnoMUSIC, Third Angle Ensemble, The Portland Cello Project, Portland Piano International, the Eugene Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, and the RE:Percussion Duo. Jay has also had his music performed by pianist Kathy Supove, violist Andrew Stiefel, pianist Hayk Arsenyan, violinist Stella Peach, Cascadia Composers, the FPC Chamber Choir, and has had his featured at the North American Saxophone Alliance, Nief-Norf, the Vox Novus Composer’s Voice Series, the Portland International Piano Festival, and March Music Moderne.

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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