22-year-old Jacob was nominated for TrinityTalent 2020 for his creative flair in Classical and Jazz. He attained his ATCL in Classical Guitar at Leeds Conservatoire.
Jacob was nominated by Peter Bachelar, a senior lecturer from Leeds Conservatoire. Peter said: "I am nominating Jacob for this award because of his excellent performing skills which are coupled with a distinctive creative flair both in his compositions and communication through his playing. He draws inspiration from a variety of genres - classical guitar, Indian music, rock, impressionist piano works - yet manages to find his own voice in his own compositions. He uses a variety of playing techniques and is able to draw the listener into the narrative and descriptive aspects of music, hence his interest in film and video."
The Trinity judges said: "We are impressed with the sheer variety and breadth of music that he gets involved with. He can basically turn his hand to any kind of genre and embraces all sorts of influences."
How has your Trinity College London qualification influenced your creativity with your art?
During the time gap between graduating from the Leeds Conservatoire and starting my master’s degree, I had very little inspiration musically due to the current pandemic. All my planned concerts had been cancelled which led to a void in inspiration to tackle new and demanding repertoire, or to write more music for my instrument. Undertaking the ATCL Diploma exam invigorated a new drive to expand my repertoire and overcome new musical challenges both in performance and composition.
Has taking part in a Trinity qualification helped you to develop wider skills?
Predominantly I am a composer. Undertaking the learning and practice of challenging repertoire on the ATCL syllabus and facilitating the different cultures and styles of the composers has inspired many new ideas in my own compositions. For example, my latest suite for solo classical guitar is a collection of four homages based on music that has influenced me over the past few years e.g. impressionism, Celtic folk, heavy metal and Brazilian choro. These pieces are full of ideas borrowed and/or expanded on from composers I have played in the past, some of which I played for the ATCL exam.
Please tell us how you found the experience of recording a digital submission for music
I am lucky enough to have access to quality audio and video recording equipment because my father is an avid filmmaker. However, I find recording far more stressful than playing live – something about playing to a camera has me on edge more than an audience or even an examiner. However, the experience overall was fine as I am quite used to recording in the studio both as a soloist and in a band setting. It was also nice to get to do something academic despite the current pandemic.
Would you like to tell us anything about your personal circumstances or challenges you’ve faced this year, and how you’ve overcome them to achieve your Trinity qualification?
It’s very hard to find the motivation to practice as a professional musician when you can’t play to your audience, or even to your friends. Especially in the classical field where instrumentalists like myself will tend to practice between three to six hours per day. Also, the lack of access to face-to-face lessons with my guitar teacher has been challenging. However, this forced me to take a more independent stance in the learning and interpretation of the scores on the ATCL syllabus, which seemed to pay off as I achieved a distinction.
What are the next steps for you following your qualification?
I aim to complete my master’s degree at the Leeds Conservatoire by summer and then to move to the United States to pursue my career as a performer, composer and teacher. I aim to give academic concerts in the States around composition, Spanish/ South American music and English lute music from the renaissance. Further to this, I intend to also try my hand at writing music for film, which I started as a side project whilst completing my master’s degree. I have scored two short films and two adverts in the past three months which has led me to explore a range of music from melancholic synth music to Jazz Noire. Whilst in the States I also aim to do a PhD in music with the hopes of doing this at Juilliard or Berklee College of Music.
Have you got any advice for other young people working towards a Trinity qualification or Arts Award?
Practice hard and enjoy the art you are pursuing, after all, that is what it is all about! Also, try and learn as much about the broader contexts of what you are studying as you can. For example, the history of the style and the cultures it was born out of. It’s very useful for academic pursuits outside of the arts – not to mention pub quizzes!
More about Jacob
Read more about the talented young people selected to be featured as part of the TrinityTalent Class of 2020.