"If Pierre Jalbert were a baseball player, he'd be batting 1.000 by now... Not even Barry Bonds is that consistent." (Contra Costa Times) But American Pierre Jalbert, among the most eagerly-watched composers of his generation, has indeed been consistent with his richly colored and superbly crafted scores, writing in a musical language that is engaging, expressive, and deeply personal.
Jalbert has received major commissions from the American Composers Orchestra, the Houston, California, Albany, and Vermont Symphonies, and two from Meet the Composer: a “Magnum Opus Project” consortium that included the Oakland East Bay, Marin, and Santa Rosa Symphonies, and Commissioning Music/USA for Music from Copland House, and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, where he served as Composer-in-Residence from 2002-2005.
His much sought-after chamber music has been performed by Midori, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Escher, Ying, Borromeo, Maia, and Chiara String Quartets, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Janaki String Trio, and the Caramoor Festival,. Upcoming commissions include new works for the Houston Symphony, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Arizona Friends of Chamber Music, and the Emerson String Quartet. He served as composer-in-residence with the California Symphony and Chicago's Music in the Loft.
Jalbert’s many honors include the Rome Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Copland House/Borromeo String Quartet Award, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Stoeger Award, given biennially “in recognition of significant contributions to the chamber music repertory,”
and a 2010 award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. As a student, his compositions were honored by both ASCAP and BMI. Jalbert’s orchestral work In Aeternam, which has been performed internationally - the Seattle and London Symphony Orchestras among others - garnered the highly prestigious BBC Masterprize. Jalbert’s discography features recordings by David Finckel and Wu Han, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and the Ying Quartet, and includes such labels as ArtistLed, Cedille, Albany, New Dynamic, Gasparo, Helicon, and Summit Records.
Jalbert has drawn inspiration from a variety of sources ranging from plainchant melodies to natural phenomena. His music is tonally centered, incorporating modal, tonal, and, at times, dissonant sonorities, while retaining a sense of harmonic motion culminating in a completed musical journey. His rhythmic shapes are cogent, often with an unmistakable sense of underlying pulsation. Jalbert’s primary oeuvre is instrumental, and, he is particularly noted for his mastery of color; in both his chamber and orchestral scores, he creates timbres that are vivid yet refined.
Born in Manchester, NH into a family with roots in Quebec, Jalbert grew up in northern Vermont. At age 5, he began piano lessons and immersed himself in the classical repertoire. His appreciation of French and English folk songs and Catholic liturgical music helped him gain a deep respect for music that communicates powerfully with an economy of means. Following undergraduate studies in piano and composition at Oberlin Conservatory, Jalbert earned a PhD in Composition at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied with George Crumb. Jalbert is Professor of Composition and Theory at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music in Houston, where he has taught since 1996, and currently serves as co-artistic director of Musiqa, a locally based contemporary chamber ensemble. His music is published by Schott Helicon Music Corporation (BMI), New York.