"My goal in writing music is to express a personal point of view in a manner as emphatic, compelling and universal as possible. I begin with an inclusive approach to material, celebrating diversity, and embracing heterogeneity with all its contradictions. The materials themselves may be coarse grain— possibly entire musical styles—or thin slices cut at a particular angle. In a kind of 'musical genetic engineering,' I recombine these components to create a hybrid musical organism, expressing something of the diverse multi-dimensional and sometimes fractured nature of contemporary identity. Interrelationships, juxtapositions, connections and collisions form the basis of my musical language.
I draw upon sources as diverse as folk musics from around the world, popular music, jazz and historical Western concert music styles; as well as ideas from nature, literature, visual art, science and philosophy. This merging of seemingly incompatible elements, and the dynamic it sets into motion, give rise to the development and structure of my music.
The results are often surprising, yet paradoxically seem to make an intuitive sense, combining sensibility and bold statement, abstraction and everyday objects. In this manner, I seek to create a poetic music, both startlingly new and hauntingly familiar."— David A. Jaffe
— Events in 2016: European premiere of "Party Pieces 125," Leipzig, Germany (Jan. 15); Seattle premiere of "The Space Between Us" (March 5); Premiere of "So Late, So Soon," for violin and orchestra, Karen Bentley Pollick, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Justas Servenikas, Lithuania (July)
— Events in 2015: Yi David Yang and Jack Van Geem perform "Library of Babel," S.F. Conservatory of Music (Feb. 22); Lecture/concert at CCRMA, Stanford University (March 4); New Music Works performs "Dybbuk" (Oct. 24); Lecture/concert on Mills College's Songlines series (Nov. 23), including performance of "Cluck Old Hen Variations."
— Events in 2014:US premiere of "Fox Hollow," in Lafayette, Danville and Berkeley, California (Feb 21-24); "Cluck Old Hen Variations" performances: Vilnius, Lithuania (June 16), SPECTRUM in New York, with premiere of film by Fred Kolouch (Oct 5), Detroit Institute of Arts (Oct 10), CCRMA, Stanford (Nov 20); World premiere of "Eight O's in Woolloomooloo" for baroque strings and voice, S. F. Early Music Society, Berkeley, California (Dec 4).
— Events in 2013: Lectures at U.C. Berkeley (March) and Sonoma State (April); premiere of "NotomotoN Unstrung", for mandolin and computer-controlled percussion, at U.C. Irvine (April); World premiere of "The Library of Babel," at the Zeltsman Marimba Festival, Arcata, California (July); University of Victoria Orion Fellow for 2013, with World premiere of "Fox Hollow" for string quartet and Canadian premiere of "The Space Between Us," "May All Your Children Be Acrobats," and 8 other works (November), Victoria, B.C., Canada.
Current Projects— Commissions: "So Far, So Soon," for violin and orchestra; "Eight O's in Woolloomooloo," for contralto and baroque string quartet (with viola da gamba); "Fox Hollow," a string quartet, commissioned by the Lafayette String Quartet; "The Library of Babel," for two five-octave marimbas, commissioned by Jack Van Geem; "The Space Between Us," for two string quartets and Radiodrum-driven Trimpin percussion, commissioned by Other Minds; "Congregations" for eight cellos, commissioned by Cello Octet Amsterdam.
— "NotomotoN Unstrung," a collaboration with Andrew Schloss for mandolin and signal-processed robotic percussion, controlled by the "Radiodrum" a 3D percussive controller.
Reviews from Musical America, The San Francisco Examiner, etc.
Jorge Luis Borges envisioned a library of every possible book of a given length and set of characters. The size of this library, while not quite infinite is effectively so, dwarfing the number of atoms in the known universe by eighteen hundred orders of magnitude. The plight of the creative artist is similar: to pick exactly one of these possibilities.
"Cluck Old Hen Variations", & other works for strings
Who's on First? for five double-basses
Cluck Old Hen Variations for solo violin
Quiet Places for string quartet
Havana Dreams for chamber ensemble
Whoop For Your Life! for orchestra