Jerry Tabor composes music for various instrumental combinations, including orchestra, mixed chamber ensembles, chorus, vocal solo with piano, and jazz ensembles, as well as for the electroacoustic medium. Several of his compositions are recorded on the Neuma Records label and many of his scores are published by Neuma Publications (a soon-to-be launched branch of Neuma Records). He has been commissioned by respected performers such as guitarist Danielle Cumming, cellist Frank Cox, pianist Thomas Moore, and the Links Ensemble, as well as the Salisbury University Classical Guitar Festival. As a guest composer, Jerry’s music has been featured at the John Donald Robb International Composers Symposium (NM), the Western Illinois University New Music Festival, The Electroacoustic Music: The Continuing Tradition conference (MD), the Holy Cross College New Music Festival (MA), George Mason University (VA), SUNY Buffalo, Catholic University of America (DC), and Hartwick College (NY), among others. His music has also been presented in Europe and at such festivals as the International Computer Music Conference, the Percussive Arts Society International Conference, the American Society for Cybernetics Conference, the Electronic Music Midwest Festival, and Society of Composers conferences.
Jerry’s research is focused in the areas of composition theory and pedagogy. His important book on a pioneering theorist and cognitive musicologist, entitled, Otto Laske: Navigating New Musical Horizons, is published by Greenwood Press (1999). He played an important role in the organization of a significant Mellen Press volume on the work of Thomas DeLio, Essays on the Music and Theoretical Writings of Thomas DeLio, Contemporary American Composer, for which he coauthored the introduction (2008). He also published several essays in the Computer Music Journal and wrote the Instructors Manual for the 2nd edition of the popular jazz text, Jazz: The First 100 Years.
Jerry holds Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees in composition from the University of Maryland at College Park, where he studied with esteemed composer and theorist, Thomas DeLio. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree in theory and composition at the University of New Mexico under the guidance of Scott Wilkinson, William Wood. While at UNM, Tabor met John Cage and took master classes with such composers as Milton Babbitt and Michael Colgrass.
As Professor of Music at Salisbury University in Maryland, where he has taught since 1997, Jerry teaches in and coordinates the theory and composition programs. He also directs the jazz ensembles.
Room Tone (2012)
This recording of Room Tone (for oboe, bass clarinet, violin, cello, and percussion, 2012) is the world premiere, performed by the HELIX! New Music Ensemble at Rutgers University, April 6. The composition is an interpretation of what it might sound like to smear the sound of the instruments involved over a long period of time. All pitch content is from the overtone series of each instrument and individual and ensemble rhythm are linked directly to the performers’ ability to play the instruments. The form explores angles of instrumental timbre.
Balance (2010) for guitar ensemble
“Balance” requires the use of artificial frets to achieve quarter tones. All pitches of the music, including the quarter tones, are arrived at by graphic score measurements created for each part using very specific guidelines. The result is strictly serialized pitch and rhythm structures that are identical but scaled to different proportions. This process is effectively similar to taking a 3-dimensional sonic box in which musical parameters can be identically calculated, but warping it to achieve different angles of perspective for each part.
This recording of “40-grit” is of the world premiere performed by the Salisbury University Percussion Ensemble on April 11. The composition positions rhythm, pitch, and dynamics, and form descriptors of performer characteristics and abilities. Pitch content is directly derived from the ensemble’s vocal ranges; time is measured by breathing patterns, auditory perception, and spatial positioning within the ensemble; and dynamics and form are a direct result of each performer’s perception of the sounds around them.