Could Young Composer Jay Greenberg Be The American Mozart ?
I recently borrowed a CD of music by a promising young Amercan composer named Jay Greenberg from my library . His name is Jay Greenberg, and he was born in December 1991 . Although his parents are not professional musicians , his father being a professor of Slavic languages at Yale , he showed amazing musical talent as a small boy , and began composing before his tenth birthday . Young Jay attracted the attention of a couple of noted composers who teach at Juilliard , and came under their tutelage as a student in Juilliard's renowned pre-college program .
The CBS Sunday program 60 Minutes has featured him not once, but twice ! One of his teacher's has called the lad a child prodigy on the level of Mozart , which is high praise indeed . So far, He has written no fewer than five symphonies , a sonata for cello and piano , a quintet for strings , a concert overture inspired by the 9/11 catastrophe , and assorted other works .
So what does the music sound like ? For one thing, it's extremely well-crafted and technicaly assured . The CD, which is on the Sony Classical label , features his 5th symphony and the quintet for strings, written for two violins, one viola and two cellos, the same as the great string quintet by Franz Schubert . It's entirely tonal, and not at all outlandishly avant-garde . In fact, it would not have sounded avant-garde 70 years ago . The knotty music of the venerable American composer Elliott Carter is far more modernistic despite the fact that at 103 , he is old enough to be Greenberg's great grandfather .
One thing it seems to lack is a distinctive personal style which is uniquely his own . It sounds at times like Hindemith , Bartok or Shostakovich . But he could certainly develop his own unmistakable personal voice with time . Many great composers did not find their own voices until they gained maturity .
The symphony is performed by no less than the distinguished Uruguayan-born conductor and composer Jose Serebrier , leading the world-famous London symphony orchestra, and the quintet is performed by the renowned Juilliard string quartet with an extra cellist , and both performances are excellent . A young composer could not hope for better recdordings .
It should be interesting to see how this remarkably gifted young man develops as a composer . Will he become a truly great one ? Only time will tell .