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Living Composer: Jessica Krash

Updated: Jul 2, 2021

Washington, DC-based composer and pianist Jessica Krash's music has appeared in many different kinds of performance contexts, including both traditional and experimental concerts. One of her works (a piece for dancers and saxophones) was even performed on the Washington canal in a thunderstorm! Her work has also been aired on radio in three continents: the US, Europe, and Asia.

Jessica graduated with high honours from Harvard College. She then earned a master’s degree in piano from Juilliard and a doctorate in composition from the University of Maryland. She also studied at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), doing research in the philosophical and cognitive issues underlying musical understanding. Her research found that people who haven’t studied music can notice more important patterns and feelings in music than what musicians see at first on a musical score; sheet music does not always show clearly which notes go together, or which notes are the most important.

Jessica loves teaching chamber music, piano, and composition to students of all ages. For 28 years, she taught at George Washington University, and has given lectures at the Library of Congress, NIH, Strathmore, and the Kennedy Center. She enjoys developing lectures and courses on music and the brain, women composers, music and dance, and “dangerous music” - music that was understood as powerful enough to change society.

Jessica’s work has received high critical acclaim. Some highlights:

  • Her 2018 chamber and vocal music CD (Albany Records) was praised by the Wall Street Journal, Gramophone, and Fanfare.

  • This album was also named in “10 of the Best New Releases of 2018” by The Daffodil Perspective.

  • Her solo piano CD (Ravello/Capstone) was listed by Tim Page as one of the most interesting CDs of 2006.

Recent projects include:

  • A cello concerto, premiered with the Alexandria Symphony in 2018, directed by James Ross with cellist Tanya Anisimova.

  • Delayed by the pandemic, Trimitas’ premiere in Lithuania of Jessica’s piece for wind orchestra in honour of the Vilna Gaon, will be rescheduled for 2022.

  • A short video opera related to artwork of Helen Frankenthaler.

Learn more about Jessica:


Jessica's compositions:

  • Sulpicia's Songs

  • And Then

  • What I Wanted To Tell You (album)


Jessica's Top 5 Classical Music Works:

  • Johannes Brahms: Piano Trio No. 1 in B major, op. 8

  • Barbara Strozzi: Lagrime Mie

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Serenade For Winds in Bb, K. 361, “Gran Partita”

  • Errolyn Wallen: Peace on Earth

  • Gabriella Smith: Carrot Revolution


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