Board Profile: Jay Rosenblatt
Without paid staff, AFCM relies on its board members for strategic planning, artistic direction, and day-to-day operations – among other things. Over the course of the season, we invite you to meet the individuals who dedicate significant time to making AFCM possible.
Q: How long have you been involved withAFCM?
Jay Rosenblatt: Since 1998.
Q: What is your current role?
JR: I edit the programs and occasionally contribute notes and other information. I have also served on the Marketing Committee.
Q: What role does music play in your life?
JR: I am an Associate Professor of Music History in the Fred Fox School of Music at the University of Arizona. The courses I teach vary from surveys of a particular era to those that cover an individual composer. I have also taught courses through the Humanities Seminars, where I have been delighted to see a number of audience members from our AFCM concerts. All of my degrees are in music, a B.A. from UCLA (piano), an M.A. from UCLA and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago (both musicology).
Q: Did you play music as a child?
JR: I studied and performed as a pianist for many years.
Q: How did you first become interested in chamber music?
JR: Chamber music was always one of the things I enjoyed most as a pianist, the idea of collaborating with other musicians, intensely listening to each other, and jointly making music together.
Q: Do you think that it is the collaborative aspect that makes chamber music unique?
JR: Yes, I think so. When you play a solo piece, you make your own decisions about the way it should go, whether that concerns tempo, phrasing, dynamics – even the length of the silences. When you play under a conductor, you must take direction. Your personal ideas must fit into someone else’s conception. But as a chamber musician, you make these choices as a group. There’s give and take, and your ideas may be challenged and modified by the other players. Everyone has a voice in the outcome. In the best circumstances, the result is better than the individual musicians might have come up with on their own.
Q: AFCM provides program notes for each concert – what are program notes, what role do they play?
JR: Having studied music most of my life, both academically and as a performer, I believe the more you know about it, the deeper your experience of it will be. Program notes provide that information. Our long-time writer, Nancy Monsman, is very gifted in her ability to offer our audiences a readable style with historical background along with musical details that can serve as guideposts for the listener. Of course it is true, that music can be enjoyed as it comes to you – Aaron Copland called this “the sensuous plane” – but for me additional knowledge brings its own rewards. My hope is that the program notes accomplish that goal.
Q: What other kinds of music do you enjoy?
JR: All kinds. I grew up in the era of The Beatles but later discovered classical music, including opera, and some types of jazz.
Q: What are your interests outside of work?
JR: As anyone knows who teaches, it is often more than a full-time job. But I enjoy traveling and going to the movies (my taste in films is quite eclectic). And like a sailor who goes fishing on his day off, I go to concerts and collect recordings.