Edward Jacobs

Edward Jacobs is an acclaimed composer and accomplished educator whose music the American Academy of Arts & Letters described as “immediately engaging, attractive, and intellectually demanding” upon presenting him with the Charles Ives Award in 2005. Jacobs (b. 1961, Brookline, MA) began playing violin at age eight, but was drawn to the saxophone at age eleven upon hearing a friend's jazz quartet. Work at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (B.A., 1984) in jazz performance and arranging (Jeff Holmes) and composition (Sal Macchia, Robert Stern) was followed by study in composition (Andrew Imbrie, Olly Wilson, Gerard Grisey) and conducting (Michael Senturia) at the University of California, Berkeley (M.A., 1986) and at Columbia University (composition with Chou Wen-Chung, Mario Davidovsky, Marty Boykan, George Edwards; conducting with George Rothman) where he completed his D.M.A. in 1993.

In 2001 Jacobs began to explore electronic media. He has since written works for computer-generated sound with clarinet (A Function of Memory, 2001, Beauty Shop, 2005), with cello (al momento, 2002), and for dancers (dis/Connect, 2004). His music is published by C. F. Peters Corp., NY, APNM and ACA.

Six years after he began teaching at East Carolina University, Jacobs was chosen for a Teacher-Scholar Award in 2004. He founded and directs the Annual NEWMUSIC@ECU FESTIVAL and works in the Pitt County Public Schools, collaborating with middle school general music teachers in his “Composers-in-Public Schools Project”, a program that strives to make the creation of music a fundamental part of childrens’ education.

WHEN TIME (2007)


When Nick Glennon emailed me the poem upon which this music is based, I was shaken by its clarity and directness. In very short order I set the text to a single melodic line—that which appears in mm. 20-37. As I continued to develop the piece, the word “time” and the rising interval of a ninth became linked, and so emerged the beginning of When Time. The choice of a double choir seemed clear to me, as the notion of an echo—either in space or in time—was unspoken, yet implied, to me, in the poetry. —Edward Jacobs

The poetry used in this work was written by Nicholas J. Glennon (1957-2007) in May, 2006. It is used here by permission of his estate.

Time as a fly


Over our heads


We only notice

It is in our way


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