Jaffrey Native is a Composer of Unique Works

Written by Tim Goodwin

No matter where Leah Reid goes she’s always listening. That next great sounds is out there – just waiting to be heard.

Reid, who grew up in Jaffrey but now splits her time between Massachusetts and Virginia, where she is an Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia teaching courses in music composition and technology, is also well known in the world of acoustic and electroacoustic composition. Her work has been presented all over the world and it’s her ability to use every day sounds to create something that is truly unique has been years in the making.

Reid was always drawn to music. She began playing the violin at the age of five and it led to an interest in how musical pieces were put together. She began composing at a young age and over her career, has developed a style that must be heard to be appreciated.

“There’s many different types of music,” Reid said. “And for me, it’s composing for each individual theme. Each piece is so different.”

In ‘Sparrow’, Reid uses recordings of the bell in the Jaffrey Meetinghouse to “explore both interactive electronics and the concept of using timbre as a structuring device”. There’s Sk(etch), a piece that examines sounds, gestures, textures, and timbres as it relates to act of sketching, drawing, writing, and composing.

She’s written compositions that explores the sounds and rhythms present inside Gertrude Stein’s poems “Apple” – which she wrote during her fellowship at MacDowell Colony in the Monday Music Studio – and “Single Fish” using constants, vowels and portions of words to present the works in a one-of-a-kind fashion.

Remember the last time you wrote something down the old fashioned way—with pencil and paper? It's probably been a while. But it makes a pretty great sound. If you listen closely, you will notice that each letter makes its own distinct sound as its being written. You can actually make out words as they get put down on paper.

This is one of the sounds in Leah Reid's musical composition, Sk(etch). She also mixed in the crumpling, tearing, and cutting of paper. And throughout her piece, you can hear sketching and drawing on paper, wood, and metal.

As always, listen with headphones for the full effect!

Find more at: 





McIntire Department of Music
112 Old Cabell Hall
P.O. Box 400176 Charlottesville, VA 22904-4176

Email: music@virginia.edu