Jay Anthony Gach’s instrumental concert music has been critically acclaimed as "witty, virtuosic and accessible"1, "so exuberant [and] so characterful"2, "a natural crowd pleaser"3, "vibrant textures"4, "multi-layered, whirling and propulsive"5. Summarized by the composer Lukas Foss during his tenure as conductor of the Brooklyn Philharmonic, "his writing for orchestra is brilliant beyond words". Mr. Gach's compositions for the voice have been aptly characterized with the simple phrase, "such beautiful music"6. The composer Hugo Weisgall wrote of him, "a composer... of extraordinary technical command and intellectual grasp of what music is all about".
Mr. Gach's music has been performed, recorded and broadcast internationally by orchestras including the Moravian Philharmonc Orchestra, Orchestra of Seattle and Seattle Chamber Singers, Krasnoyarsk-Siberian State Philharmonic/ Vladimir Lande; Millennium Symphony Orch./Robert Ian Winstin, St. Paul Chamber Orch./Enrique Diemecke, Brooklyn Philharmonic/Lukas Foss, American Composers Orchestra/Paul Dunkel, Piccola Orchestra ‘900/Simone Vecchia, National Italian Youth Orchestra/Vinko Globokar, City of London Sinfonia, Haydn Chamber Orchestra of London, the Britten Sinfonia Soloists, Pro Arte Ch. Orch./Leon Botstein and by international solo artists including Bulgarian pianist Elitza Harbova, American clarinettist Richard Stoltzman, Canadian cellist Soo Bae and Italian flutist Andrea Ceccomori.
Grants and Awards including the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University, Astral Foundation (Pew-Bandy) of New York and Philadelphia, Frederick P. Rose Prize, Valentino Bucchi Concorsi Internazionale, Delta Omicron Composition Prize, Dr. J. Howland Auchincloss Society for New Music Composition Prize, New York Foundation for the Arts, MacDowell Colony, Tanglewood Music Centre (Bruno Maderna Fellowship), National Endowment for the Arts, et al. Between 1981 and 1999 he resided and worked in European capitals – Tubingen, Germany; Rome, Italy and London, UK - returning to New York in 2000.
International and National Fellowships: Dartington, England International Summer School 1991. American Academy in Rome, Italy Music Composition Fellowship 1984-5. Research Assistantship University Tubingen, Germany 1980-1. Wellesley, New Hampshire, Johnson & Bennington Colleges Composers Conferences 2001/1989/82/81.
Selected Commissions: Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra (Unendurable Ecstasies); Orchestra of Seattle and Seattle Chamber Singers (‘Allelujah’ Quiet Music for Unquiet Times); Ensemble Assisi Suona Sacra (‘Come Moriamo’...) Italy 2015-16; Piccola Orchestra ‘900/Scuola Musica ed Arte 2011 (AVANTI) Italy 2012; American Lyric Theatre's Edgar Allan Poe Opera Project Commissions (...Of the Flesh) USA 2011; American Chamber Ensemble (The Ingenue & the Matinee Idol) 2009; New York Treble Singers (ELI, ELI) 2008; Concert Artists Guild/ Long Island Composers Alliance (Toccare Cielo) USA 2008; American Lyric Theatre Composer/Librettist Development Program (Nora at the Altar Rail) USA 2008; Children's Aid Society Chorus (My Letter to the World) USA 2005; Saxtet Publications Composition Competition (Trains, Steam Whistles and....) UK 2004; Peter B. Allen Sacred Hymn Arrangement Competition USA 2004; XI International Festival of Advent and Christmas Music Prague, Czech Rep. 2003; Upbeat-Hvar International Summer School 2003 Croatia; Kathryn Thomas International Flute Composition Competition (Tre Ecloghe) 2000 UK; SPNM/Huddersfield Festival 1998 UK; Haydn Chamber Orchestra of London (Selfish Giant) 1997, UK; Oberlin College Chorale 1995 (Hashir Hashem Luchem), USA; Islington (London) International Festival 1995, UK; Third British Contemporary Piano Competition 1994 UK; American Composers Orchestra 1988 USA; Frederick P. Rose Orchestral Prize (A Song,a Hymn and a Chant) 1988 USA; St. Paul Chamber Orch. American Composers Competition (I Venti d’Estate) 1985 USA; ASCAP Standard Awards 1988-2012, USA.
Arrangements and original scores for the educational and commercial media include a children’s musical The Selfish Giant; film score Legends from Bodmin Moor; advertising campaign British Rail “Mind the Doors”; and an animation film The Hurlers.
Critical Commentary: "Gach’s music for the opera dances with charisma. Finely tuned shifts of mood emerge through his keen sense of rhythm and rich harmonic vocabulary." ...Of the Flesh, Parterre Box, 2010. "Gach's [trio] La Vita Autumnale offers darkly dramatic Rachmaninovian ripples and intensity," Lucid Culture 2010. "...an excellent collaboration between the two performers in a tango written for Soo Bae with pianist, Keun-A Lee showing her tango playing skills, including the use of her forearms and elbow to be every bit as powerful and perfect..." Tango from Toccare Cielo, BillyWhiteWriting, 2009. "[the saxophone quartet] requires excellent ensemble and precise articulation. It is witty, virtuosic and accessible. Gach has cleverly used the quartet to convey the title in a very original way." Trains, Steam Whistles and Radiator Pipes, Clarinet & Saxophone Magazine, UK. 2006. “Every so often I hear a piece of music which makes me stop what I am doing and simply listen.” (From the Land of TV, MENSA Newsletter, 9/03). "Finding vivid inspiration in a Calliope’s refrain.” Calliope, New York Times 1/03. “..exuberant sonata...so characterful...could have been written especially for [this pianist].” A “London” Sonata, SPNM New Notes 11/94. “Lively duets...notated precisely and popular with performers.” Six Pieces for Two Violins, Strings Magazine 7/91. “…vibrant textural transformations.” Simple Figures, NY Times 4/89. “...a natural crowd pleaser.” CHANT, New York Newsday 5/88. “The music is multi-layered, whirling and propulsive...well-scored and vividly played.” Il Ponentino, Minneapolis Star 10/85. “I believe he will make a real contribution to the music of his generation.” (composer, John Lessard). “...above all a musician, a craftsman. And there are too few of those in this world. (composer, Billy Jim Layton)
Publications & Recordings: Parma-Navona, MEP Music srl, Continuo Recordings Italy, RCA Red Label, ERM Naxos, Innova Recordings, L.P. Recordings Bulgaria, Carl Fischer, Theodore Presser, Classical Vocal Reprints of New York, Granta/Little Book-Room, Peter B. Allen Music Publishing, Saxtet Publications, G7 Music, ScoreExchange.com/profiles/jgach
Education: Ph.D State University of New York at Stony Brook 1982; Fellow London College of Music FLCM 1993; MM Hartt College 1980.
Mr Gach’s biography has appeared in Marquis ‘Who’s Who in America’ since 2006. He currently serves as Secretary of the Long Island Composers Alliance.
Describe your music
The music I compose is an acknowledgement and confirmation of the American and European culture in which I was raised.