Guest Composer Talk: Jay Wadley

Thursday, February 3, 2022

4:00pm - 6:30pm

Orwig Music Building


Award-winning composer Jay Wadley join Professor Eric Nathan’s course, MUSC 1110: Seminar in Composition, on Thursday, February 3 from 4:00-6:30pm. This in-person event is open to members of the Brown University community for observation. Masks are required.

About Jay Wadley

Jay Wadley is a NY-based composer and music producer, a two-time winner of the Charles Ives Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and was featured in IndieWires’ 2020 and 2016’s 10 Best Scores of the Year. He recently scored Charlie Kaufman’s psychological drama/thriller I’m Thinking of Ending Things, featuring an original ballet, two songs from the musical “Oklahoma!”, and an original song co-written with Kaufman in the form of a hallucinatory 1950s ice-cream jingle. Other recent projects include Oscar-winning director Ben Cleary’s Swan Song (Apple/Anonymous), Heidi Ewing’s 2020 Sundance NEXT award-winning narrative debut I Carry You with Me (Sony Pictures Classics), a commissioned dance piece from CoLab Ensemble for a 2021 premiere at The Guggenheim, Emma Tammi’s Blood Moon (Blumhouse/Hulu), additional music and percussion on M. Night Shyamalan’s OLD, and Season 2 of Amazon’s Emmy Nominated Modern Love.

Wadley artistically and skillfully moves between genres creating affecting scores featuring modern orchestra, poignant piano, and vibrant electronic soundscapes that communicate from a deep understanding of the compositional process, production, and narrative. His multifaceted musical upbringing began with playing drums in and producing punk bands at an early age in Oklahoma and expanded into studying classical vocal performance and composition at OCU, composing for choir, dance, and orchestra, making experimental electro-acoustic music, and earning a Master’s Degree in modern classical composition from the Yale School of Music. Wadley spent his formative years working in recording studios, honing his craft, and pouring himself over scores and recordings of innovative composers and bands such as Krystof Penderecki, John Corigliano, David Lang, Igor Stravinsky, Arvo Pärt, Johnny Greenwood, and Radiohead. He began his professional career orchestrating for Rufus Wainwright, Mark Ronson, and Calexico for performances with orchestras worldwide.

Wadley continues his studied approach to music composition with each new project, diving into research and experimentation to create compelling and authentic scores to further establish a project’s unique voice. A testament to his skillful versatility, Wadley’s Lo-Fi Post-Punk score for Rhys Ernst’s Adam features “a mind-blowing commitment to period specificity”(LA Times), while Indiewire said Indignation’s “rich, ‘classical’ compositions are every bit as tortured as Roth’s writing, and as achingly beautiful as any of the treasured music that Schamus commissioned for films like ‘Lust, Caution’ and ‘Brokeback Mountain’ when he was running Focus Features.”

Wadley’s scores have received high praise for their consistent depth and resonance by critics and audiences alike. Michael Phillips’ Chicago Tribune review of Andrew Ahn’s Driveways says, “Wadley sustains the emotional undercurrents brilliantly in what may turn out to be the most moving film music of 2020.” His score for Indignation (Lionsgate) was featured in IndieWire’s “10 Best Scores of 2016,” in which David Ehrlich says Wadley “may be the most exciting ‘new’ composer to enter the fray in 2016”. The score was later performed in concert by the Winnipeg Symphony. His original ’50’s style Jazz tune, “Is It Love?,” with lyrics by Schamus and featuring Grammy-winning vocalist Jane Monheit, received an exclusive Billboard premiere. His vibrant orchestral and textural electronic score for 2020 Sundance favorite, I Carry You with Me, was lauded as “a wrenching score that swells and fades to the rhythms”(EW) and an “enveloping atmosphere of yearning and nostalgia”(THR).

Other recent Film and TV projects include: The Innocence Files directed by Oscar-Winner Roger Ross Williams (Life Animated, Apollo), The OA (Netflix/Plan-B), Tales of the City (Netflix/Universal), Emmy nominated Raised in the System (VICE/HBO), Sundance-winning short Lucia, Before & After, and Emmy-nominated Long Shot (Netflix).

He is co-founder of Found Objects with Trevor Gureckis, composer for M. Night Shyamalan’s Servant (AppleTV+) and OLD. Found Objects is an award-winning music and audio production company providing original music production, music supervision, and sound for Film, TV, Advertising, and Interactive Media, and was named one of Inc. 5000s fastest-growing privately held companies of 2020. Their studio in DUMBO, Brooklyn, features a state of the art live room and 5.1 mix room, where they recently hosted the score mix for Lin Manuel Miranda and John Chu’s film adaptation of In The Heights and the score recording/mix of Tamar-Kali’s score for Fisher Steven’s Palmer(AppleTV+). Wadley received a MM and AD in composition from the Yale School of Music and a BM in composition from Oklahoma City University, studying under Aaron Jay Kernis, David Lang, Martin Bresnick, Ezra Laderman, Ingram Marshall, and Ed. Knight. He has participated in composition masterclasses with John Adams, John Corigliano, Steve Reich, and Evan Zyporn. Wadley has been invited as a guest lecturer in composition, music for film, and the business of music at the Yale Dept. of Music, Columbia graduate film program, Peabody Conservatory, NYU Steinhardt Dept. Of Music, OCU, and others.