Jeffrey Holmes composes post-spectral, teleological music incorporating elements of mysticism and lyrical expression. His creative inspiration is rooted in primitive myths, transcendent legends, and dramatic elemental landscapes in their primal and violent natural states. As a traditionalist, he composes music for acoustic orchestral instruments, using standard notational methods; as a formalist, he works within a complex and unique non-octave diatonic, chromatic, and microtonal language; as a transcendentalist, he combines the inherent abstraction of sound with a greater meaning and possibility of interpretation through the use of lyricism and overt expression.
A new portrait CD “Rider of Darkness, Path of Light” (produced by John Schneider, Scott Worthington, the Talea Ensemble, and Jeffrey Holmes) is described as: “A dramatic and esoteric journey through mysterious mythological realms of imagination, RIDER OF DARKNESS, PATH OF LIGHT evokes natural landscapes united by themes of isolation, primordial struggle and conflict, death, and the Beyond. These premiere recordings feature virtuoso performances by Nicholas Isherwood, the Talea Ensemble, Jason Hardink, Kirsten Ashley Wiest, and many others in a collection of provocative vocal, chamber, and solo compositions.” “Rider of Darkness, Path of Light” is released by MicroFest Records, December 11, 2020. Purchase “Rider of Darkness, Path of Light” on Amazon.com here.
Excerpted from Voix des Arts‘s review of “Rider of Darkness, Path of Light”: “New music offers few guided excursions into intriguing sonic environments as viscerally exciting and thought-provoking as Rider of Darkness, Path of Light, MicroFest Records’ artfully-engineered recording of works by American composer Jeffrey Holmes. The compositional voice that emerges is one of astonishing originality. As represented by the pieces on this disc, all performed with passion and precision, imparting the inescapable transience of existence is a fundamental component of Jeffrey Holmes’s music. Biases condemn humanity to riding in darkness, but, this disc intimates, embracing Art that seeks new means of deciphering the universe’s enigmas offers a path to light.” (Joseph Newsome, Voix des Arts: A Voice for the Performing Arts, May 02, 2021)
Excerpted from Fanfare’s review of “Rider of Darkness, Path of Light”: “Challenging, enriching, wonderful music…the austere beauty is unutterably haunting…disquieting, unsettling, it makes an impact far exceeding its duration. Holmes speaks straight from his soul. Five stars: Urgently recommended.” (Colin Clarke, Fanfare, February 2021)
Excerpted from Sequenza 21’s review of “Rider of Darkness, Path of Light”: “All of the tracks on this album consistently capture the power of the Old Norse legends, masterfully realized through contemporary musical forms. Even when the complexity of the music approaches its unrelenting maximum, Holmes’ texture is transparently clear, with just the right notes always in just the right places. Rider of Darkness, Path of Light is a compelling journey into the heroic past and a telling commentary on our own present – superbly conveyed in 21st century musical language.” (Paul Muller, January 14, 2021)
“Fragments” has been released internationally by Centaur Records on a new CD of music for soprano and piano “Luminous”, with works by Jeffrey Holmes, James Erber, Jack Van Zandt, and György Ligeti, featuring soprano Kirsten Ashley Wiest and pianist Siu Hei Lee, September 04, 2020. Purchase “Luminous” on Amazon.com here.
A double-portrait CD “May the Bridges I Burn Light My Way…” (produced and engineered by John Schneider, Aron Kallay, and Michael Kudirka), featuring 9 works, including concerti, chamber, and solo compositions, has been released on MicroFest Records (distributed by Naxos). Purchase “May the Bridges I Burn Light My Way…” on Amazon.com here.
Music of raw power and vision…a particularly impressive combination of technical prowess and deep expression.Fanfare Magazine
Captivating…the haunting and slightly disorienting sound disrupts and engages the open ear.Los Angeles Times
Brilliantly crafted, a captivating listening experience…extraordinary craftsmanship as well as a mastery of contemporary musical forms…a polish and artistry that stands comparison with any of the 20th century masterworks.Sequenza 21
“Straumr” for symphony orchestra, will be performed and recorded by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, conducted by Mikel Toms, in Glasgow, Scotland, for release on “Orchestral Masters, Volume 8” by Ablaze Records, release in 2021-22.
A major new chamber work, “Kaun (Kenaz)” has been commissioned by Ensemble Variances (Rouen, France), and was recorded in Paris, March 04, 2021. “Kaun (Kenaz)” will be performed by Ensemble Variances on tour in March 2022 in Canada and the United States, and in other locations.
A new work, “Jörmunr”, for Pierre Bibault (Ensemble Intercontemporain) will be premiered in 2022.
A new work, “Viðrir”, will be premiered by Michael Kudirka in 2022.
A major new work for solo piano (duration: ca. 45-minutes), “Ygg – ‘Inn Nætr Níu’ (9 Nocturnes)”, for Jason Hardink will be premiered in 2022.
A new work, “Rán” will be premiered by Kirsten Ashley Wiest in Fall 2021, and released as part of the recording project “Screaming into the Void”, 2022.