Jack Frerer (b. 1995) is an Australian-American composer of music for concert, film and dance, as well as a producer and filmmaker based in Manhattan. His concert works have been performed around Australia, Europe, Asia and the U.S., and his music has earned a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Morton Gould Composers Award from ASCAP, the Suzanne and Lee Ettelson Composers Award, and the Brian Israel Prize from the Society for New Music.
Frerer has participated in the Vincent C. LaGuardia Jr. Competition, Red Note, the Lake George Music Festival Competition, and the Juilliard Orchestra and Gena Raps Chamber Music competitions. He is a Tanglewood composition fellow for 2019, a composer for the New York City Ballet’s 2019 Choreographic Institute, and is currently Composer-in-Residence with the Arapahoe Philharmonic. Frerer studied with John Corigliano and Robert Beaser at The Juilliard School and was awarded a Benzaquen Career Advancement Grant upon graduation.
As a filmmaker, Frerer has created films for The Juilliard School, Quest magazine and dancers Marcelo Gomes and Julie Kent, as well as music videos for bands and ensembles. Together with dancer Liana Kleinman, he is a co-creator and producer of The Roof, a collaborative film and performance series featuring New York–based choreographers and composers.
Frerer was the recording engineer for ShoutHouse’s album Cityscapes, released by New Amsterdam Records in June 2019. He has recently produced recordings for Molly Joyce, Nina Grollman, Will Healy and Noah Halpern, as well as the score for Always Summer, a short film by Alexa Eve.
Learn more at www.jackfrerer.com.
Featured Work: On-Again, Off-Again
“Write what you know” is something I think about a lot, and after having lived in New York for a few years now, I probably know the subway system better than I know certain relatives. What begins as one of the most daunting aspects of living in New York gradually becomes one of the most comfortable; not the trips themselves — they’re distinctly uncomfortable — but their familiarity. You know what you’re in for, you know where you’re going, you know it will be over soon; it’s the tearing-off-the-Band-Aid of New York.
I take the 1 train, which runs along the west side of Manhattan, at least twice a day from 157th Street to 66th Street and back. Highlights include the frantic 96th Street stop, where half of the train’s contents empties to switch to the 2 train and vice versa; the elevated, tightrope-esque 125th Street stop, which rises above Harlem; the standing passengers who fall over as a result of the dodgy tracks between 145th and 157th; etc. It’s maddening, but there is something satisfying about knowing to grab the handrail once you leave 145th.
This piece is about my commute from 66th up to 157th. To me, nothing is a better symbol of the energy shifts that you find in a place like New York; you’re either going, hurtling at a million miles an hour through work, school, meetings, friends and more work, or you’re stopped, sitting in the back of a Starbucks trying to catch your breath for a moment, or sitting on the 1 train as it emerges from the ground at 125th Street, sun shining through the windows. In New York, there’s no in-between.