Eclectic influences to drive composer's March 9 show

American contemporary composer Jonathan Pieslak, a music theorist and performer who has studied subjects as diverse as the nu-metal band Korn and music of the war in Iraq, will appear Wednesday, March 9, in a Ke-Nekt Chamber Music Series concert.

Jonathan Pieslak.The performance of such Pieslak pieces as “Shards” for piano and “White Shadows” for violin will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Sheldon Hall ballroom. (NOTE: This is a late venue change.) The composer will give a preconcert talk at 7.

“Jonathan Pieslak has been a good friend and admired colleague ever since our days at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor,” said Robert Auler, associate professor of music at SUNY Oswego. “Jon was always one of the brightest and most talented people, but also one of the most down-to-earth and decent people I know. It’s been an absolute pleasure to collaborate with Jon over the years.”

Pieslak, associate professor at the City University of New York and its Graduate Center, also will offer another piano piece, “American Atmosphere,” as well as a saxophone quartet. “White Shadows” will feature violinist Tigran Vardanyan.

“My music is influenced by the many musical genres that have shaped my life,” Pieslak said. “As a kid growing up in the suburbs of Wilmington, Del., my first real pursuit of music came as an electric bassist, playing in jazz, Latin and rock bands.”

‘Energy and pulse’

Pieslak, an active theorist and performer, has published articles and presented papers at institutions and conferences that include the Society for Music Theory, the Dublin International Conference of Music Analysis and the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, among others. His articles include “Text, Sound and Identity in Korn’s ‘Hey Daddy’” and “Sound Targets: Music and the War in Iraq.”

“I have loved playing Jonathan’s piano compositions,” said Auler, an internationally known concert pianist. “Two of them—‘Spiral’ and ‘Shards’—were included in my recent ‘American Century’ album (2010). His music exhibits a strong sense of energy and pulse—combining the best elements of rock/pop and modern, contemporary classical sensibility.”

Pieslak’s work has been performed and broadcast throughout the United States and internationally. His collaborations include the Kiev Philharmonic, North/South Consonance, Oberlin College Concert Choir and many more.

Artswego and the SUNY Oswego music department sponsor Pieslak’s appearance and others in the Ke-Nekt series.

Tickets are $15 ($12 for SUNY Oswego faculty and staff, non-SUNY Oswego students and for seniors age 60 and over; $6 for SUNY Oswego students), and are available at all SUNY Oswego box offices, online at and by calling 315-312-2141.

Parking is free that evening for those attending this event.

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(Posted: Feb 23, 2011)