An endlessly curious musician based in Morgantown, West Virginia, Jacob Kopcienski maintains a vibrant career as a performer, scholar, educator, and writer. His work in these areas is characterized by a passion for creative expression and a desire to foster growth in others through collaboration, mentorship, and education. Jacob currently serves as a Lecturer in Music Theory and Musicology at West Virginia University and is a frequent contributor for the contemporary music blog, I Care If You Listen.
As a saxophonist, Jacob has established himself as an adventurous soloist and chamber musician within classical, contemporary, and experimental genres. His performance credits include appearances on self-produced concerts, festivals, and academic conferences throughout the United States, France, Italy, Australia, and Malaysia. In recent seasons, he has performed with Alia Musica Pittsburgh and appeared in concert at Spectrum (NYC), the Bowling Green State University New Music Festival, UC Berkeley, CNMAT (Berkeley CA), the Omaha Under the Radar Festival, the West Fork New Music Festival, the Society of Composers International Invitational Concert Series, the World Saxophone Congress, the North American Saxophone Alliance Regional and Biennial Conferences, and the Navy Band Saxophone Symposium.
Premiering numerous works, he has worked with composers including Vinko Globokar, François Rossé, Ravi Kittappa, Julien Malaussena, Molly Joyce, Ben Carey, Jacob Sandridge, Peter Kramer, Peter Wilson, and Jamie Leigh Sampson. He has also enjoyed collaborating with visual and performance artists including Antone Konst and Feriel Boushaki. As a performer, Jacob has received numerous honors and accolades including a prestigious Harriet Hale Woolley Scholarship for advanced musical studies and residence at the Fondation des Etats Unis ( Paris, France 2014-2015), a Presser Foundation Scholarship (BGSU-2012) 3rd Place in the chamber music category at the Concorso Internazionale di Musica Marco Fiorindo (2013), and was a prize winner of the BGSU Concerto Competition (2011) and Chamber Music Competition (2010).
Although particularly interested in 20th and 21st century contemporary art and experimental music, Jacob’s scholarly interests broadly include issues of identity and subjectivity, improvisation, performance, technology, intellectual history, critical theory, music cognition, and philosophy. His recently completed thesis, “Rethinking Interaction: Identity and Agency in the Performance of “Interactive” Electronic Music,” combined historical and auto-ethnographic methods to examines the nature of subjectivity, identity creation, and relational power structures that emerge between humans and computer technologies in musical performances. Jacob has presented his research at Columbia University’s Computer Music Center and West Virginia University.
Jacob has completed formal studies at Bowling Green State University (BM in Music Education- 2013), the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional de Boulogne Billancourt (2013-2015), and West Virginia University (MM in Music Performance; MA in Musicology- 2018). His primary saxophone instructors include John Sampen, Jean-Michel Goury, and Michael Ibrahim. Jacob has completed additional studies with Chien-Kwan Lin and Joel Diegert as well as masterclasses with Kenneth Tse, Otis Murphy, Doug O’Connor, and Clifford Leaman. His musicological mentors include Dr. Travis Stimeling, Dr. Evan MacCarthy, and Dr. Michael Vercelli. Jacob has additionally studied electronic music composition with Dr. David Taddie.