Jessica Pavone’s creative practice encompasses developing a personalized voice on her instrument as both an instrumentalist and composer. She has been focusing primarily on two projects recently.
Pavone’s new work, “Lull,” is a composition for string octet and soloists in four movements. Recorded during the pandemic year of 2020, the piece reflects a multifaceted experience of ‘stasis’—quietude and introspection sustained amidst tension and instability.
In the music, occasions of consonance and dissonance take turns occupying foreground and background: Lull’s harmonic consonance evokes a calmness with a temperament of cool neutrality; its stark moments of harmonic dissonance maintain a similar composure. The rhythmic pacing of Lull can be characterized in terms of landscapes: endless rolling waves, expansive monochrome desert, stars punctuating an empty dark sky . . .
Compositionally, the music is crafted at the finest line between notation and indeterminacy in a tightly controlled balance of structure and individual free choice. Each of the two soloist movements contain the highest degree of improvisation allowing for a greater insertion of ‘individuality within the larger collective framework.
Lull is manifest as an extension of Pavone’s solo viola practice which has origins in 2012. In this solo practice, Pavone deeply explores the impact and implications of long-tones and sustained resonances as well as repetition, song form, and sympathetic vibration. In 2017, she established the J. Pavone String Ensemble—consisting of two violas and two violins; the octet of Lull is an outgrowth of this ensemble.
Like in much of Pavone’s music, the qualities of consonance and expansiveness prevail, a sonic environment in which the listener persists.
Jessica Pavone – composer/viola
Brian Chase – amplified percussion solo
Nate Wooley — Bb trumpet solo
Aimée Niemann – violin
Charlotte Munn-Wood – violin
Abby Swidler – viola
Christopher Hoffman – cello
Mariel Roberts – cello
Shayna Dulberger – double bass
Nicholas Jozwiak – double bass
Solo Work and Tour
As both an instrumentalist and composer, Pavone explores the tactile and sensorial experience of music as a vibration-based medium. Since 2012, she has established an individual body of material for solo viola, concentrating on these elements of performance. The structured yet indeterminate pieces stem from intensive long tone practice and an interest in repetition, song form, and sympathetic vibration. When No One Around You is There but Nowhere to be Found is Pavone’s fourth album of her highly personalized music for viola. It may be pre-ordered on Bandcamp today. The music video for the piece has just been released:
Cover photo credit: Yuan Liu
Group photo credit: Josiah Cuneo
Solo photo credit: Yuan Liu