Thursday, September 18, 2008

The VSO asks Pierre Jalbert six questions

Pierre Jalbert, composer of the VSO's 2008 Made in Vermont commission, answers six questions posed by the VSO. A Vermont native now living in Texas, Pierre tells what he enjoys the most about Vermont, how his music came to be infused with spiritual undertones, and who inspired him to compose.

VSO: What was the most important factor that led to your decision to be a professional musician?

PJ: Well, there were many factors. I've always loved music and started to compose pretty early on. My piano teacher in South Burlington, Arlene Cleary, who I studied with from age 7 until college was a great inspiration as was our band director at South Burlington High School, George Bedell. One of my musical heroes growing up was Aaron Copland, so I knew pretty early on I wanted to be a composer.

VSO: Now that you are here, where do you see yourself in 20 years?

PJ: I still see myself doing what I'm doing now, continuing to compose, getting more performances, and teaching at Rice University in Houston (it has a great music school).

VSO: What artists or groups with whom you haven't worked already would you love to collaborate with someday?

PJ: I'd love to do something with the L.A. Philharmonic and the New York Philharmonic.

VSO: I find my own music to be laced with spiritual undertones, though I wouldn't consider myself religious. What factors in your own life have contributed to writing spiritually-infused music?

PJ: I'm Catholic and liturgical music was always a part of my musical upbringing. There's a kind of longing and inner beauty to that music, especially with composers like Palestrina, but many others too.

VSO: What's the most difficult thing about being on the road?

PJ: Being away from family.

VSO: What do you like the most about Vermont?

PJ: The mountains in the summer and the snow in the winter.

Hear Pierre Jalbert's new piece, "Autumn Rhapsody," along with a complete performance of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, during the 2008 Made in Vermont Music Festival Statewide Tour. Jaime Laredo will conduct and play in the program which also features Grieg's Holberg Suite and Gershwin's Lullaby. Visit for concert dates and ticket information. Explore this blog for program notes and information on our fall foliage photo contest!