Tell us about how the New England Jazz Collaborative began?
The New England Jazz Collaborative (NEJC) is a Cambridge-based composers’ collective and orchestra project. It was founded in 2021 by myself and 7 other composers, in part as a response to 2 years of pandemic-related closures of music venues. Coming out of the pandemic (or at least the height of it), composers and musicians were desperate to get back to making music together, and to sharing our music with audiences.
For the 2022-23 season NEJC was named an official Artistic Partner of the Longy School of Music in Harvard Square, where the 17-piece NEJC Orchestra is also Ensemble-in-Residence. An active presence in the community, NEJC performs regularly around Greater Boston, including free community concerts, outdoor festivals and private corporate events.
How does music help create community?
NEJC is dedicated to presenting new music by a diverse group of living composers, and to expanding the audience for jazz and orchestral music. Through educational outreach initiatives and bringing affordable, world-class concerts to communities throughout New England, our goal is to ensure that the rich cultural tradition of jazz specifically, and live music in general, remains open and accessible to all.
What inspires you as a composer?
As a composer, I’m interested in what elements of music are broadly popular – e.g., melody, groove, vocals – and making sure my music engages audiences accordingly. If you’ve established a shared sensibility with the listener, you can mix in less familiar, more “challenging” elements, and they’re more likely to be well-received.
Where can people connect with your team and artists?