Jessica Meyer: A Unique Blend

Black Tea Music is thrilled to welcome composer, violist, and educator Jessica Meyer to our roster. A composer of “evocative” (NYTimes) and “other-worldly” (The Strad) works, Meyer is becoming increasingly recognized for her haunting, powerful, and emotionally resonant compositions. Informed by her expertise as a performer on contemporary and period instruments, her palette moves from lush, lyrical passages to aggressive extended techniques, wielded with intuition and imagination. Recent premieres include: Ring Out, Wild Bells for the Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble, Roomful of Teeth, at The TANK Center for Sonic Arts in Rangely, CO this past July; Through Which We Flow, Meyer’s string orchestra piece premiered at St. Paul Chapel of Trinity Wall Street by NOVUS NY and conductor Julian Wachner in May 2017; and Space in Chains, a song cycle for soprano and viola, premiered by the composer alongside Melissa Wimbish at Carnegie Hall in Fall 2016. As a performer and composer, Meyer premiered Luminous Prison, a site-specific piece for viola, spoken word, and loop pedal, showcasing at once the unique architecture of the water-tank-turned-music-venue, as well as Meyer’s keen sense of understanding of her sonic environment. Alex Ross, who has written an engaging account for the concert, sang his praise for Meyer’s performance as “fierce-edged playing [that] activated the Tank’s awe-inspiring properties.” 

Continuing to push the boundaries of solo viola performing, Meyer has created a one-woman show that combines her viola, voice, and percussive effects in an orchestral way by using a simple loop pedal . Inspired by music from around the world, her music is saturated with wide-ranging influences that include Bach, Brahms, Delta blues, Flamenco, Indian Raga, and Appalachian fiddling. Her corresponding solo record, Sounds of Being was described as “intriguingly vivid” (Lucid Culture), exploring joy, anxiety, anger, bliss, torment, loneliness, and passion. She has performed the show internationally at iconic venues, including Joe’s Pub in Manhattan, BAMCafe in Brooklyn, the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, and Sunset Sunside in Paris.

In addition to her own artistic work, Meyer has become a force in nurturing the next generation of musicians with inspirational workshops that empower musicians with networking, communication, teaching, and entrepreneurial skills (take a look at Meyer’s TEDxBushwick below.) Meyer’s workshops have been featured around educational institutes throughout the country. Additionally, she regularly leads composition activities for Carnegie Hall and the Caramoor Center of Music for the Arts, as well as advises teachers in Dubai and Qatar in conjunction with The Juilliard School.


Looking beyond this impressive list of past projects, we eagerly anticipate the upcoming world premiere of her orchestra piece, Actions speak…with the Raleigh Civic Symphony this November, as well as works by the PubliQuartet in February, Sybarite 5 in March, and flutist/dancer Zara Lawler later in 2018.

We welcome Jessica to the Black Tea Family and all the exciting works to come!