About

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Jake Sorgen is a Chicago-based Composer/Improviser/Multi-Instrumentalist whose work in the areas of lyrical songwriting, improvised music, contemporary composition, and interdisciplinary performance seeks out 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 blurs borders between composition and improvisation and engages with poetry, graphic scores, and traditional notation practices to make music for the concert stage, coffeehouse, and dramatic theatre.

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. His concert works have been performed by the Loadbang Ensemble, members of Bang on a Can and the Instant Composer’s Pool, as well as a myriad of music and interdisciplinary ensembles featuring Jake as a guitarist.

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. 2019’s Somewhere Trio and the upcoming debut album by the multidisciplinary Small Giants Band feature Jake’s infatuation with the porous border between the notated and the instantly composed.

Jake’s songwriting prowess is on full display in his 5 albums of lyrical songs produced since 2012. His latest EP, Pushing Clocks, released December 2020. Though always guitar-centric, these albums present Jake’s multi-instrumental abilities and ever expanding palette of sounds and source material as the Americana forms are engaged with with both reverence and restlessness.

Jake holds a BA from Emerson College and is a current MFA candidate in Music Composition at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

“[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
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