Undergrad creates a piece for jazz ensemble


Imagine composing a 6.5 minute jazz piece for 15 instruments, with a vibraphone. Now imagine doing this in your final year as a double major in Business and Music. Senior Binghamton’s “Kolymbithres” Julian Cubeiro premiered on November 18, performed by the Harpur Jazz Ensemble at the Anderson Center on campus.

“The piece displays all the characteristics of a very promising artist, with a unique fusion of complex and playful rhythms, surprising harmonies and transgender riffs that is ‘very Julian’,” said Daniel Thomas Davis, associate professor of music . “Beyond that, it’s especially special to see and hear a student create a major new composition for an ensemble he has been performing in for several years.”

When Cubeiro, the ensemble’s vibraphonist, asked the group’s director about the possibility of performing an original composition last fall, he accepted without hesitation. “Julian is an incredible jazz musician and his vibraphone skill level from the start was extremely high,” said Michael Carbone, director of jazz studies. “The first reading of the article was, ‘Wow… this is amazing. The room is so well put together and colorful.

It took Cubeiro 60 hours to compose “Kolymbithres”, which takes its name from a beach on the island of Paros in Greece. It was there that he spent his summer holidays with friends, getting started in composition, getting inspired by the beach and the emotions that flow from it: relaxation, happiness and happiness.

The resident of Flushing, Queens, learned to play and harmonize on the piano on his own at the age of 3, then spread to percussion and electric bass. Cubeiro didn’t have the experience of playing in a band until he was in his senior year, but since he was already comfortable with percussion, he found the vibraphone a natural fit: “I could seeing the keyboard in front of me so it was a collision of these two worlds.

But his first love will always be the piano, and this is the key to his creative process: “Playing the piano is almost meditative or therapeutic. I like to play something without thinking, ”Cubeiro said. “I like to sit aimlessly and just play chords. And when I play something memorable, I lean on it.

He didn’t start making his own music until he was a teenager, writing his first song during his freshman year of high school. Cubeiro first learned composition by taking existing songs and recreating them in a free, open-source music notation software called MuseScore.

He has hundreds of voice memos on his phone ranging from 10 seconds to 25 minutes, named after their key, emotion, or other artist, just so he gets a feel for what’s being recorded.

“’Kolythimbres’ was originally called something like ‘Hot Melody of the Night in E major,'” he said, “and it was from a 10 second clip I recorded in October 2020. I am not the best at naming things, this is the last of the process for me.

Cubeiro has around 30 completed songs and he hopes to compose music for video games, movies or TV shows and teach music.

His compositional strength is in bringing together genres and styles that don’t seem to go together, said Davis, “and he creates something deeply personal in the process – the video game aesthetic, the minimalist repetitive figures, the color. and Big Band harmonies, and catchy melodies all woven together into a dynamic tapestry of sound.

This story first appeared in Binghamton Discover-e.


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