Welcome to the web page of composer Mark Eliot Jacobs.

A great truth for me as a composer is the idea that we do not create music so much as discover it. A composer finds inspiration for music from life, the universe, and, of course, everything (with apologies to Douglas Adams).

Music is a gift to our waking world from another slumbering world. Like Isaac Newton (quoted in Memoirs … of Sir Isaac Newton by D. Brewster, 1855), I feel

…like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.

For me that truth is nothing less than the meaning of music itself, the inner life of a work that reveals itself to the participants in the musical experience through listening. All musical activities are forms of listening: the purest art of the listener, the skill of performers, the collected wisdom of theorists and musicologists, and even the efforts of the humble composer.

The concepts of Pitch Space and Sound Space are crucial to the way that I compose. These mental constructs offer a paradigm for exploring the limitless possibilities in music. Composer Iannis Xenakis expressed this well in his book Formalized Music (1971, p.144):

Freed from tedious calculations, the composer is able to devote himself to the general problems that the new musical form poses and to explore the nooks and crannies of this form while modifying the values of the input data … the composer becomes a sort of pilot: he … supervises the controls of a cosmic vessel sailing in the space of sound, across sonic constellations and galaxies that he could formerly glimpse only as a distant dream.

The composer’s unique character, background, and training set the stage for the potentials that express themselves in compositions. The composer directs these expressions into a cultural context. In my case, I always inform my compositions with a "backstory" based on my personal life and a good deal of research.

I have amassed a body of works in the areas of chamber, orchestra, theater, and electronic music. I hope that you will take the time to familiarize yourself with the samples on my music page.

This website will also be the forum for announcements of new projects and events. Please feel free to subscribe to my occasional E-Newsletter and to follow me on Facebook and Twitter. There is also a contact page through which you can contact me directly.

  • Live recording of The Orchard City: Medford, Oregon 1913 with the Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon now streaming on the music page.