Jackson Harmeyer is a freelance concert annotator based in Louisville, KY. He serves as Director of Scholarship to the Sugarmill Music Festival held each May in Alexandria, LA. A project he is developing for the 2020 festival, “A Scholarly Presentation in Lecture and Music: Solomon Northup in the Central Louisiana Sugarhouse,” has been awarded a prestigious Rebirth Grant by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. Jackson earned an M.M. in Music History and Literature from the University of Louisville with a thesis entitled, “Liminal Aesthetics: Perspectives on Harmony and Timbre in the Music of Olivier Messiaen, Tristan Murail, and Kaija Saariaho.” There he was the recipient of the Gerhard Herz Music History Scholarship and was employed at the Dwight Anderson Memorial Music Library where he did archival work for the unique Grawemeyer Collection which houses scores, recordings, and documentation for over five thousand entries by the world’s leading contemporary composers. He has shared his research at the American Musicological Society South-Central Chapter’s annual meetings in Asheville, NC and Sewanee, TN; the University of Tennessee Contemporary Music Festival in Knoxville, TN; the Music by Women Festival in Columbus, MS; and the University of Louisiana System Academic Summit in Thibodeaux, LA. Aside from his studies, Jackson is a composer, choral singer, music blogger, avid reader, and award-winning nature photographer. Learn more at www.JacksonHarmeyer.com.
A Personal Note
Hello and welcome! This website, launched in fall 2015, is meant to both represent my musical activities and serve generally as a scholarly resource for those interested in music. That fall, as I applied for graduate school, I knew I would be leaving behind the position at the Arts Council of Central Louisiana which had allowed me to become a public advocate for classical music. Through my MusicCentral blog, as series director of Abendmusik Alexandria, as a concert annotator, and as someone who regularly made television and radio appearances, I had many opportunities to enrich people’s lives through classical music. I wanted to continue those activities in whatever way I could; and, at the same time, I also sought to collect the many writings on music which I had produced and let them speak on my behalf during the application process. The content on this website has grown exponentially over the past three years, but the essential two-fold mission remains the same.
Throughout my life, history has been of great interest to me as has been constructing historical narratives. This began as an interest in storytelling, and growing up I dreamed of being a novelist. My science fiction epics, already quite extensive by high school, were indeed largely historical in their storytelling. To this day, I maintain that the effective study of history depends on narrative, and I bring this approach with me into my study of music history – or, musicology, as it is often termed. My interest in history, however, extends beyond music. I have thoroughly explored the local history and culture of Louisiana and Kentucky, my two homes, and wherever I travel I also study the history and culture of these locales. Through my liberal arts education at the Louisiana Scholars’ College, I was able to study all periods of western civilization to some extent, while also familiarizing myself with the literature and philosophy of many cultures. I have taken particular inspiration from Plato, Luther, Jefferson, Goethe, Hegel, Olmsted, Twain, Mann, and others.
My interests also extend beyond these intellectual pursuits. I am a lifelong choral singer. I first sang with the St. Louis Cathedral Boychoir of New Orleans, gaining with this ensemble my initial exposure to classical music. In Louisville, I have sung with University Chorus, directed by Kent Hatteberg, and, more recently, the Louisville Master Chorale, directed by Mark Walker. I have also participated in Gregorian chant groups and shape-note singings. A photographer and nature lover as well, I enjoy hiking and take my camera wherever I go. My photos have even won a competition hosted by the Louisville Olmsted Parks Conservancy. Since then, I have launched a photography shop at Fine Art America where my photos are available for purchase as art prints and in a variety of media from stationery to home decor. Aside from all of this, I have long been a Lego fanatic who has constructed an entire Lego city; a fan of Monty Python who has made a cameo appearance in a production of Spamalot; a Star Trek, Gundam, and Dragon Ball enthusiast who knows many of the ins-and-outs of these extensive universes; and an occasional contra-dancer with a growing fascination in bluegrass music and Appalachian folk ballads.
– Jackson, August 2019
Jackson at Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Jackson at Abendmusik Alexandria
Jackson at New York's Carnegie Hall, 2003
Jackson as a swamp castle guard in Spamalot
Jackson at the Red River Gorge Geological Area in Slade, Kentucky, a short drive from Louisville