The Emotions of Music

When you’re an orchestrator sit by yourself in your apartment for three months. As a supervisor, you’re working with the cast”

Christopher Jahnke brings a different kind of expertise to the table. Boasting 25+ years of musical experience, Chris has worked behind the scenes as an orchestrator as well as directly with the cast as a Music producer and supervisor. Working in these roles has given Chris a unique perspective that has undoubtedly contributed to his proficiency in music. Chris, who has always been interested in the way music influences emotion, describes his role as orchestrator very simply, “You are essentially responsible to create the way a piece feels sonically”.

As an orchestrator, Chris has worked on several projects including: Les Misérables (2006), Grease (2007), Cry-Baby (2008), andcurrently, Porgy and Bess. Chris has international experience as well; he orchestrated Legally Blonde on the West End in London in 2010, 3 years after using the same orchestrations that were used for the Broadway showing. He has also worked with his mentor, William David Brohn (Wicked, Miss Saigon, Ragtime), in co-orchestrating the Lincoln Center Theater’s production of Dessa Rose and A Man of No Importance. Chris is grateful for his oppurtunities to work with Brohn, “I’ve learned more from him and I still continue to than I did in college”

In 2001, Chris worked directly with David Bryan on Memphis: A New Musical, a production that took over eight years to complete. Bryan, keyboard player and founding member of Bon Jovi, worked with Chris as his Musical Producer to create the musical hit. Their years of effort were well rewarded – Memphis won the 2010 Tony Award for Best Musical.

Chris believes that there needs to be some sort of bond between co-workers when collaborating in order to create the best music, “Working with every composer is a challenge, When you have a good friendship and a good working relationship you kind of help bring the best out of each person you work with”.

By Tony Saint Jean

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Filed under Music, NYU Courses, Performances

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