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Jennifer Jolley
Blue Glacier Decoy

The 2017 obituary in the New York times for the modern dancer and choreographer Trisha Brown only casually mentioned her debt to the landscapes of the Pacific Northwest. It was an unusual characterization for an artist who once told her fellow Washingtonian, the choreographer Merce Cunningham, that “the rain forest was my first art class”

Indeed the Pacific Northwest’s instruction is found in many of Brown’s works. Her 1970 piece “Floor of the Forest” employs a steel scaffolding to hold a cloth canopy of ropes threaded with colorful used clothing to create a synthetic forest where dancers writhe and wiggle. 

Her 1979 piece “Glacial Decoy” is similarly derived from these experiences. In this work, Brown and Robert Rauschenberg created fleeting images via gossamer-clad dancers and an ongoing found image slide projection. The mechanical and physical movements become an elegant analog to the glaciers. The images and dancers move and shift forward and back, side or another side, or anywhere in between, like a lateral melt The fleeting projections become a visual metaphor melting and congealing anew.

I have never been to Olympic National Park, so I followed Brown’s example and combined my own experiences with what I learned from an artist who followed the Hoc River Trail studied the Hoc Rainforest, and revered the Blue Glacier. We should follow her lead and do the same. We must “give [ourselves] a moment to feel this very mobile sense of how the balance is.”  


Instrumentation:  2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, English Horn, 2 Clarinets, 2 Bassoons, 4 Horns, 3 Trumpets, 3 Trombones, Tuba, Timpani, Percussion, Harp Piano, Strings, and Fixed Media (32 audio files of Trisha Brown’s recorded voice). 

This is the Dayton Philharmonic’s first performance of “Blue Glacier Decoy”.  


Jennifer Jolley (b. 1981) is a composer, blogger, and professor person. She is also a cat lover and part-time creative opera producer.

Jennifer’s work draws toward subjects that are political and even provocative. Her collaboration with librettist Kendall A, Prisoner of Conscience, has been described as “the ideal soundtrack and perhaps balm for our current ‘toxic… times’” by Frank J. Oteri of NewMusicBox. Her piece, Blue Glacier Decoy, written as a musical response to the Olympic National Park, depicts the Pacific Northwest’s melting glaciers. Her partnership with writer Scott Woods, You Are Not Alone, evokes the fallout of the #MeToo Movement.

Jennifer’s works have been performed by ensembles worldwide. She has received commissions from the National Endowment for the Arts, the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music, the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Quince Ensemble, and many others.
 
Jennifer deeply values the relationship that is created between composers and the communities with whom they collaborate. She has been composer-in-residence at multiple institutions. She promotes composer advocacy through her opera company NANOWorks Opera and her articles for NewMusicBox & I CARE IF YOU LISTEN. Also, she is on the Executive Council of the Institute for Composer Diversity and the New Music USA Program Council.
 
Jennifer joined the Texas Tech School of Music composition faculty in 2018 and has been a member of the composition faculty at Interlochen Arts Camp since 2015.