Composer / Jazz Guitarist
Jerry Tabor composes electroacoustic and experimental acoustic music, much of which is either within or extending the jazz idiom. Perhaps one of the most enduring aspects of his work is his use of open structures that highlight unique performer, instrumental, and computer system characteristics. The composer holds that by designing structures in which non-intention is unrelenting, the music reveals sound as an authentic extension of whoever is acting within the structure. Such structures often control every nuance of a composition, from the articulation of individual sounds to the unfolding of form through ensemble interaction. This approach has established new frameworks for improvisation that are not necessarily dependent upon jazz tradition or style and are, therefore, free of historical contexts.
Tabor’s music has been featured at the John Donald Robb International Composers Symposium (twice), the Radford International Guitar Festival, the Western Illinois University New Music Festival, the Holy Cross College New Music Festival (MA), and the Electroacoustic Music: The Continuing Tradition conference (MD). As a guest composer, Tabor’s music has been presented at George Mason University (VA), SUNY Buffalo, Catholic University of America (DC), and Hartwick College (NY), and more recently, Conservatorio Alfredo Casella in L’Aquila, Italy, among others. Tabor’s music has also been presented at such festivals as the International Computer Music Conference, the Percussive Arts Society International Conference, the American Society for Cybernetics Conference, the Electronic Music Midwest Festival, and Society of Composers conferences. Several of his compositions are recorded on the Neuma Records label and many of his scores are published by Neuma Publications.
Tabor’s research is focused in the areas of composition theory and composition pedagogy. His important book on a pioneering theorist and cognitive musicologist, entitled, Otto Laske: Navigating New Musical Horizons, is published by Greenwood Press (1999). In that book, Tabor introduces the concept of composition theory that Laske developed through an interdisciplinary understanding of musical process. He played an important role in the organization of a significant Mellen Press volume on the work of Thomas DeLio, Essays on the Music and Theoretical Writings of Thomas DeLio, Contemporary American Composer, for which he coauthored the introduction (2008). He also published several essays in the Computer Music Journal and wrote the Instructors Manual for the 2nd edition of the popular jazz text, Jazz: The First 100 Years.
In 2013, Tabor took the helm of the respected independent contemporary music label, Neuma Records. As an advocate of living composers and contemporary music, in general, he expanded Neuma to include a contemporary music publishing house. Believing strongly that women composers have been unfairly underrepresented in the field, Tabor partnered with the “I Resound Press” archive of women composers and began publishing important music by both men and woman that he believes has or will have a profound impact on the field from an historical perspective. Neuma is also now the only company in the world that publishes electroacoustic music as independent works of art on par with acoustic compositional scores. Additionally, through his role as executive producer, editor, and coordinator of significant Neuma projects, Tabor has emerged as a respected editor of writings on music as well as music and text format designer.
Tabor holds Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees in composition from the University of Maryland at College Park, where he studied with esteemed composer and theorist, Thomas DeLio. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree in theory and composition at the University of New Mexico under the guidance of Scott Wilkinson, William Wood, and Christopher Shultis. While at UNM, Tabor took master classes with such composers as Milton Babbitt and Michael Colgrass.
As a guitarist, Tabor studied classical with renowned classical and national finger-style champion, Michael Chapdelaine while at the University of New Mexico. He also studied jazz with the L.A. studio and jazz guitarist, Michael Anthony. Tabor has recently come out of retirement from playing after nearly 30 years and is presently developing a performance schedule in which he presents his most recent works for solo guitar and guitar with ensembles.
Tabor has taught at the University of Maryland, University of Maryland Baltimore County, and Trinity College in Washington, D.C. As Professor of Music at Salisbury University in Maryland, where he has taught since 1997, Tabor teaches in and coordinates the theory and composition programs. He teaches all levels of concert, electroactoustic, and jazz composition, classical and nontonal theory, orchestration, jazz theory, and he directs the jazz ensembles.
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