Jake Sorgen is a Chicago-based Composer/Improviser/Multi-Instrumentalist whose work in the areas of lyrical songwriting, improvised music, contemporary composition, and composed theatre is renowned for its inventive harmonies and economical impacts in sound and story.
“Jake Sorgen’s languid, lugubrious voice, haunted by burble of whispering voices in the head, lit by backdrop of compassionately strummed acoustic guitar, tear drop steel, lyrical strings and river deep bass; occasionally straying to stranger, convoluted musical places; is illuminated by ruminative instrumentation, almost improvisational jazz and magnetically mesmeric, meandering, swaying half spoken vocal…impossible to put down.“– Chumki Banerjee, Mudkiss Magazine
Jake’s music blur borders between composition and improvisation and engages with poetry, graphic scores, and traditional notation practices to create a stylistic impression that is approachable and malleable yet remains clear and unique. His formal training continues at the Vermont College of Fine Arts with Carla Kihlstedt and Roger Zahab.
From 2014-2019 he served as Composer in Residence and Artistic Associate for the American Theatre Wing award-winning Rogue Theatre in Tucson, AZ and has written for theatre and dance companies in Boston, Tucson, Chicago, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
Jake wrote and produced 4 albums of lyrical songs that showcase a grounding yet restlessness with American and Celtic folk traditions. Tinged with “outside” influences from the American 20th century’s avant-garde, these songs tell modernist stories in Americana-based forms.
As an improviser, Jake has performed and studied with many of the masters on the scene today including Jeff Lederer, Joe Fonda, Mary Oliver, and Jasper Stadhouders, as well as dancers such as Katie Duck and Miri Lee. With distinctive economy, Jake’s contemporary approaches to acoustic & electric guitar and saxophone playing reflect his engagement with jazz, baroque music, and contemporary composition often within the same piece.
Jake holds a BA from Emerson College and is a current MFA candidate in Music Composition at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Recent compositions have been featured in Chicago at Trap Door Theatre, 2nd Story, and The Story Theatre and by the Loadbang Ensemble in New York.
“[Jake Sorgen] creates music—and often performs it live—that lends an incalculable depth to our experience of [The Rogue Theatre’s] shows”– Tucson Weekly