Jenna Lyle

Jenna Lyle

We commissioned the Chicago based composer Jenna Lyle write a piece for us. We will be premiering "Stitch" in Chicago on December 1, 2013.

Here's a short Vine video of Chris and Jenna trying out some sounds during our meeting this summer: 


Chris came to know Jenna through a performance of a piece commissioned by the Clarinet/Percussion duo, Devil May Care. Devil May Care percussionist Caleb Herron and Jenna had known each other for quite awhile. When we were on tour in Atlanta, we performed a show with Chamber Cartel (a group headed by Caleb). During our stay we formulated a list of composers, when Chris mentioned Jenna's name to Caleb, he gave such a resounding yes that we knew we had to get a piece from her. 



Photo courtesy of Jenna Marie Lyle


Jenna Lyle is a composer, vocalist, and sound artist from Carrollton, Georgia. Currently in Chicago, she is pursuing a Doctorate of Music in Composition at Northwestern University under the tutelage of Lee Hyla, Hans Thomalla, and Jay Alan Yim.

An active composer, performer, and administrator, Jenna has worked with various ensembles and specialized in the performance and presentation of works by living composers.  She has presented her own works as well as those of her colleagues throughout the U.S. and abroad, with performances recently by Chicago's Spektral Quartet, DMC Duo, NO EXIT New Music Ensemble of Cleveland, Seattle’s Young Kreisler ensemble under the direction of Jayce Ogren, and by performers at UCLA’s Hammer Museum as part of the Little William Theater project.   Her artistic concerns are rooted in the unification of physicality with the creative process for the sake of immediacy, clarity of expression, and intimate exchange.   Her style has been described as having a “leave-’em-wanting-more approach, offering music whose brevity and surface uncomplicatedness enhanced its ear-grabbing ability.”-Gavin Borchert [Seattle Weekly, Aug. 2010].

Jenna is also co-founder and co-administrator of Parlour Tapes+, a New Music cassette tape label and media/performance collective out of Chicago. For more information about Jenna, please visit


A/B:  Any pre/during/post composition rituals?


Pre: do the dishes while listening to the Splendid Table, then sit in silence and stare at things for a couple of hours.

During: candle, peppermint tea, manuscript paper and formal structure drawings all over the floor

Post: roast an animal

A/B:  Favorite drink after finishing a composition?

Jenna:  In the summer, a Pimm's cup; in the winter, Templeton Rye with two ice cubes. I don't get anything done in the other seasons because they last 3 weeks in Chicago.  Hmpf.

A/B:  Stay-cation or vacation?

Jenna:  I actually don't know what Stay-cation means.  But Wikipedia doesn't make it seem that awesome.

A/B:  Rom-com or Action-Thriller?


A/B:  Nsync or Backstreet?

Jenna:  Nsync for sure

A/B:  Cake or Pie?

Jenna:  Pie--so much more flexible, can be savory or sweet or BOTH AT THE SAME TIME

A/B:  Favorite live musical moment?

Jenna:  Recently, Third Coast Percussion & guests playing the following in January 2013:

 TENNEY Koan: Having Never Written a Note for Percussion


I've been excited about the way music is felt in an audience member's body ever since.

A/B:  Apple or Microsoft?

Jenna:  Microsoft

A/B:  Sibelius or Finale?

Jenna:  Finale

A/B:  Favorite Artist?

Jenna:  Pierre Soulages

A/B:  Favorite Book?

Jenna:  To the Castle and Back,  Václav Havel

A/B:  Ideal vacation spot?

Jenna:  Lake house with big windows, a dock, and a kayak. I mean I don't really kayak, but I do if I'm on a lake. AM-I-RIGHT?

A/B:  Guilty pleasure?

Jenna:  Ally McBeal

A/B:  Favorite Sesame Street character?

Jenna:  These guys

A/B:  Favorite breakfast food?

Jenna:  fried eggs over medium with grits and ratatouille

A/B:  Your proudest moment?

Jenna:  Hearing my 1-year-old nephew Jet (who is now 3) clap WITHOUT PROMPTING after hearing a recording of a piece of mine.  I maintain that he was moved and overwhelmed with emotion and not conditioned to clap after things by the Wiggles.

A/B:  Vinyl, cassette tape, compact discs, or mp3?


A/B:  Name one item on your bucket list.

Jenna:  become good enough at climbing to scale a Redwood or something equally ridiculous.

A/B:  Favorite movie?

Jenna:  Jurassic Park

A/B:  Your first LP, tape, CD, etc. purchase?

Jenna:  Life's a Dance by John Michael Montgomery, cassette tape, 1992