Recent performance by
the Arditti Quartet at June in Buffalo 2020
Jack Herscowitz creates art on a trajectory to challenge sound as music’s ontological basis. Through alternate forms of notation, deep inter-personal collaborations, and trans-disciplinary thinking, his work hopes to recognize music as a process which has always extended beyond the singular dimension of sound. Situated in a unique digital age of superficial accessibility, he draws from a seemingly incongruous tessellation of influences: from Bladee to Lachenmann, Deborah Hay to Fortnite Dances, the AACM to corporate boardrooms, and Artaud to lame parties. These compound influences engender an identity in limbo, searching for compassion, empathy, and genuine political urgency within a zeitgeist of overwhelmingly apathetic irony and appropriative absurdity. This personal search is all he could ever hope from his audience, performers, and co-creators: to respond to art with presence, empathy, and transformation.
His music has been performed throughout the United States and Europe by artists including the Arditti Quartet, Ensemble Dal Niente, Hypercube, Flutist Anat Nazarathy of Meitar Ensemble, Baritone Stephen Lancaster, and Violist Katsiaryna Shapachka. He has been a fellow or featured composer at June in Buffalo, Meitar Ensemble's CEME Festival, DePaul University's Residency for New Music, and the University of North Georgia’s ROCC Conference, among others. He is also grateful to have workshopped his music with ensembles including the Jupiter String Quartet, the Imani Winds, and the Brentano String Quartet.
He has collaborated with Pete Francis of the rock band Dispatch to arrange one of Francis’s original songs, Show Me, for rock band and orchestra, novelist and poet Julia Alvarez on a piece for chamber orchestra and chamber choir based off her novel, In the Time of Butterflies, and members of the Middlebury College Dance Department. Future collaborations include a new piece for the Atlantic Reed Consort drawing from the ethos of hardcore punk and pop music and the 2021 Shastra Collaborative in Los Angeles to premiere a new arrangement of a traditional Hindustani bhajan for string quartet and Hindustani vocalist. Jack has also written music for big bands and short films, and performs as a saxophonist enamored with improvisation, especially alongside dancers.
Jack’s artistic philosophy is also deeply influenced by his studies in ethnomusicology under professor Damascus Kafumbe. He worked as Kafumbe’s research assistant on his book, Tuning the Kingdom, which was published spring 2018 and won the 2020 Kwabena Nketia Book Prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology. Jack's personal research has studied the embodied practice of Pauline Oliveros’ Sonic Meditations, the relationship between social change and Chilean popular music, as well as syncretic musical influences in Keith Jarrett's improvisations.
Jack holds a B.A. in Music and Environmental Studies from Middlebury College where he studied composition with Matthew Evan Taylor and Su Lian Tan.