“It’s weird how I’m constantly surprised by the passage of time when it’s literally the most predictable thing in the universe.” ~Randall Munroe

There’s a really profound compositional thought in there somewhere.

Anyway, it is well into July and I have no idea how that happened. I find myself in New Mexico for the second time in a month for a brief period of time. Unfortunately much too brief to make the quick trip up to Santa Fe from Albuquerque to catch my friend Dan Bates at the opera there. But not so quick that a sight seeing trip or two can’t make its way in.

The Private Works of Puncher & Wattmann will be premiered by Transient Canvas at the Center for New Music on August 15th, and hopefully will be heard in the Boston area a bit as well. The program for the concert at the Center includes works by Andy Vores, Brenna Noonan, David Coll, and Adam Roberts. TC will then make it back into town to be featured on a GCG event later on. Very exciting.

A couple of upcoming projects with feature very low sounds, something I am looking forward to investigating.




I just finished up a piece for the marvelous Transient Canvas entitled The Private Works of Puncher & Wattmann.

If you haven’t checked out their cache of youtube videos it is well worth the time.

I am looking forward to them premiering the new work here in San Francisco in a couple of months. Stay tuned for details.

P&W flyer

Time just seems to flow by, and all of a sudden it has been far too long since I have updated this space. My goal is to be better about that for a while to come. Hold me to it.

This year I am honored to be playing at the Garden of Memory at Chapel of the Chimes on the summer solstice. I will be playing in a quartet with three other fantastic musicians, and there will be ton of other amazing performers around in the space. This is definitely one of the not-to-be-missed annual music events in the Bay Area. If that’s not enough to get you to come, all I’m going to add is the phrase “detuned harmonicas”.

I am finishing up a new piece for Transient Canvas, who I have to say, have one of the best names of any music group, ever. I had known Amy and Matt from my time in Boston, and we met up again after they performed at the New Music Gathering. I am very excited to reconnect and work with them. They are phenomenal performers and have already made their mark in Boston. Plus Matt shares my enthusiasm for a good cigar. Stay tuned for more details to come on that front.

I am nearly finished on the song cycle Frames for the soprano Jill Morgan Brenner. As part of her poetry project she commissioned three other composers to write sets for her on contemporary poetry. I’ve gotten a peek at some of the other works, and I can say that the whole thing is going to be killer. Mark your calendars,  the premier will happen on Sept. 12 at the Center for New Music.

Prodigal Opera Productions had its initial outing and was a huge success. Next up will be a workshop of a new libretto with multiple composers taking part. Because actual libretto writing is important and needs more attention, period. All of this is a part of its Overture season which is helping gear up for its first full season next year.

Meerenai Shim just came on as a curator for the Center for New Music. One of the awesome projects she is bringing in is a New Music Open Mic Night. That is happening next week, and I will be playing a new work for piano and fixed media.

Starting at the beginning of this year, I came on board as one of the hosts for Music from Other Minds. It has been a blast curating shows and I look forward to continuing to host at least a show a month.

I’ve put up a Bandcamp page for some of my electronic and ambient works, as promised. This will surely grow over the course of the year, but for now feel free to check out this collaboration I did earlier this year with the tenor Matt Habib, setting a John Keats poem.

And lastly, I’ve been on the twitters more. So tweet at me. @JMColombo

Much has happened since the end of 2014, so here’s a rundown.

Back in May of last year I wrote an ambient piece, entitled Days Will Come, for the newly born daughter of a friend of mine, Kyle Hovatter. An 18 minute excerpt of that almost three hour work will be coming out on an album of music all written for Kyle’s daughter. Also featured is a remix Kyle did of an electronic piece of mine. You can check out and order the album here. (Keep an eye and an ear out for my own bandcamp page coming soon, where you will be able to stream the entire piece.)

The New Music Gathering had its inaugural event here in San Francisco. I was in attendance for most of it and had a fantastic time meeting with friends old and new. A lot has been said about the event already, and I urge you to check everything out. For now I will just say I look forward to this hopefully becoming an annual occurrence to help make our community that much stronger.

Areon Flutes did a stellar job of Spirals Slinkies Staircases at the SFCM Alumni recital last week, you can check out a review of the concert here.

Keep an ear on Music From Other Minds. I have produced about three episodes so far and will be hosting this week’s. Tune in Fridays at 11pm (PST) on KALW 91.7 FM.

Lastly, the video of the I Smoke My Pipe is now up. Enjoy.


The Guerrilla Composers Guild concerts were awesome. If you missed them, you can check out a review of the first concert here, and listen to the recording of my string trio below and on my Sounds page.

[Vijay Chalasani, Crystal Pascucci, and Chris Whitley performing. Nick Benavides and Zach Miley recording.]

I will be spending the holidays in upstate New York, experiencing my first white Christmas since I was five. I continue to make my way through Jan Swafford’s monumental new Beethoven biography, which so far, has already been tremendously illuminating. I am also finally getting back to some fiction, having just taken a detour to engross myself in some thoughts on poetry, in preparation for the numerous projects coming up next year involving poetry.

2015 is already shaping up to be a fantastic year, but I shall save details on everything for later. For the moment, I shall bid adieu for the rest of the year as I head out to enjoy a welcome change of scenery.

Happy Holidays and a Merry New Year

Spent Thanksgiving with the family in Orlando. It is always great to get some distance and perspective on things. Not to mention spending time with the folks. The year is winding down, but there is more going on than ever.

The Mobius Trio return from their East Coast tour, playing my piece, Initial Darkness, among other works. The boys had a blast over there and I have heard nothing but awesome reviews. Hopefully a recording of some sort will be forthcoming in 2015, so keep an ear out for that.

I am very excited for my new string trio to be premiered by the Guerrilla Composers Guild. Vijay Chalasani, Chris Whitley, and Crystal Pascucci are ripping it to shreds. Entitled I Smoke My Pipe, there will be two performances, one in San Francisco and one in Oakland. Also on the program will be music by GCG co-founders Nick Benavides and Danny Clay. (Both of whom have just updated their websites and they look amazing. Check them out!)

I just finished up two pieces for the Left Coast Ensemble’s Intersection 2015 workshop. Both short works written specifically for the participants. One is for clarinet, viola, and piano entitled Firefly Reflections. The other for flute, violin, and cello, entitled in the moonlight there were flowers.

I have a tendency, whenever I am in need of a title or two, to just pick up the nearest book of haikus and use something from the first couple that catch my eye. So far this has worked remarkably well, as the titles it has produced have had a fitting resonance with the emotional quality of the works in question.

Some electronic work of mine may surface sometime over the next couple of months. Keep an eye on this space and I will be sure to let you know when and where.

As mentioned before, I am working on a new song set with the poetry of J.L. Nowak. Again, another artist very much worth your time to take a look at. I will be setting her work Frames, which will include a visual component.

Lastly, a teaser of more work that will be coming up in later in 2015, check out the poetry of Roy Doughty.

Have a wonderful holiday season and I hope to see you at some of the shows coming up.

UPDATE: check out the interview I did with the Guerrilla Composers Guild about the upcoming show here!

If you are in the NYC area this week, keep and eye and ear out for the astounding Mobius Trio. They will be doing a short tour of the area, playing some absolutely fantastic music, included my own Initial Darkness (Radio Edit). More information can be found on my events page.

I have also been putting up small pieces and sketches under the title Short Takes on my soundcloud page. These are short clips that are either discarded from some other works, or their own stand alone little microcosm. Keep an ear there as well as they should update once or twice a week for a little while.

More projects are coming down the chute, which I will update about as appropriate, but I am most excited to be starting on a new song set for the soprano Jill Morgan Brenner.

Having two premieres within 24 hours was amazing, exhilarating, and tiring. Both Areon Flutes and the Mobius Trio did awesome amazing jobs on all of the music that they played this weekend. Unbeknownst to me at the time, on Saturday night when Areon was premiering Spirals Slinkies Staircases (as well as, among other things, recapping a decade-old gem by Noah Luna), Mobius was premiering a new work by the awesome Santiago Gutierrez Bolio, which they then recapped the following day at their concert at C4NM. At that concert on Sunday, Mobius opened with a three year old piece by Danny Clay before moving on to the Radio Edit of my new piece for them, Initial Darkness. They closed the concert with another new work, Infinite Earths, by the astounding Mario Godoy.

Those stories are a very tiny testaments to one of the things that make these groups awesome, especially from a composer’s perspective, which is that they will continue to perform pieces. It is already a tired lament in the new music community that far too often pieces get premieres, and then no second performance. Fighting this was one of the main impetuses behind the founding of the Fifth Floor Collective (of which I had a small part in, and who also had a concert last night in Boston). But groups like Mobius and Areon bring a very special dedication to the music that they ask for and perform. This goes all the way through their entire preparation (Santiago mentioned to me yesterday, after sound check, at his awe that everything that Mobius was spending time to checking and setting up, was all in service to giving the best performance possible of these works), to continue to perform the works, sometimes even for years.

I am very fortunate that Areon and Mobius will both continue to perform the works I have written for them throughout this season. Mobius is making a small tour to the NYC area, I’ve posted the shows where they are planning on playing Initial Darkness. Areon as well will be playing some cool shows later this season, and I will be posting those dates once I have confirmation. Every musician knows that performance of works only continue to get better with time and practice, as was very clearly evident this weekend by the performances of Noah’s and Danny’s music. I am excited that these pieces will get a life outside of this past weekend and I look forward to seeing all of the nuanced ways in which they change and grow over the season.

Looking ahead, there will be news about a new work I have written for the Guerrilla Composers Guild, and if you don’t already, keep an ear out on Music from Other Minds.

Areon 10:11:14 Mobius 10:12:14