Jonathan Pfeffer (b. 1986) employs notation, indeterminacy, disassembled traditional and popular forms, language, samples, and acousmatic sound to create splintered, sensuous compositions that extract complexity and ambiguity from deceptively ordinary subject matter.
Pfeffer’s music inspires (The Wire: musical fragments are layered one upon another, resulting as often in dense polyrhythm as they do in deliciously intertwined melodic lines), antagonizes (Pitchfork: ….teases listeners with surprising bits of poppy melody before yanking out the rug), and mystifies (PopMatters: Like a perplexing film you have to (and want to) watch more than once).
From 2004 until 2012, Pfeffer led Capillary Action, a confrontational cubist-pop ensemble that released three full-length albums and maintained a relentless tour schedule across the North American and European DIY circuit.
Pfeffer is currently working on new music for Chicago-based Third Coast Percussion, a joint commission from San Francisco-based Post:Ballet and The Living Earth Show, and Salvador-based Camará Ensemble as part of a 2-month residency at Instituto Sacatar in Itaparica, Bahia, Brazil.
The Atlanta Ballet will program Pfeffer’s music as part of its Wabi Sabi series, which places emerging choreographers in unique outdoor spaces.
Pfeffer’s music has received support from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, the American Composers Forum, and the City of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program.
Pfeffer lives and works in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.