Category Archives: Music

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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Colin Tierney

If Colin Tierney’s name sounds familiar to you, there’s a reason for that. He graduated from Duke in 2009, and he made his mark while he was there — “Colin Tierney” was one of those names that popped up in the Chronicle all the time. Early in his Duke career, Colin noticed that there were plenty of people making music around campus, but he also noticed that these musicians had nowhere to record their work. Colin and his friend Dan Corkum decided to do something about this. During their freshman year, the two founded Small Town Records, Duke’s first student-run record label and recording studio. As president of Small Town Records, Colin helped secure start-of-the-art recording equipment for the studio, produced an annual student compilation album, and organized release parties and live music events. Small Town Records is still thriving today under the umbrella of Duke University Union, providing a place on campus for the musically inclined to record and produce their own music. Here is a Chronicle article on Small Town Records’ founding, a profile of Colin, and a piece on a planned Small Town Records event back in 2008.

Throughout his tenure at Duke, Colin worked as an intern with V2 Records, helping to market and execute the indie rock band Roman Candle’s lifestyle tour; he interned with the Warner Music Group; and he spent a summer working for a think-tank, the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress (an internship which fulfilled requirements for his public policy major). After graduation, Colin went on to work as an independent contractor for several months, providing marketing and e-commerce services to various bands and artists. He then took a position with the music and technology company Indaba Music in December of 2009. Colin currently serves as marketing manager at Indaba, where he’s developed the online marketing and social media campaigns for artists such as Paul Simon, Daft Punk, Metric, and Peter Gabriel.

Colin is also a musician himself. He plays guitar and has been writing songs for over eight years, citing Americana as his biggest influence.

Emma Miller

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Jessica Laun

Jessica Laun

Jessica Laun

Jessica Laun graduated Magna Cum Laude from Duke University in 2005, with degrees in Music Theory and Composition and International Comparative Studies. During her time at Duke, she was heavily involved in the campus music scene, being a member of the Duke Chorale and music director of Rhythm & Blue, Duke’s oldest co-ed a capella group.

After graduating from Duke and spending some time at home in San Diego, she decided to move to New York City to follow her passion in the music industry. Thanks to her relationships with Professors of music Stephen Jaffe and Anthony Kelley, Jessicca was able to enter the industry through a year-long internship at the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). In 2006, she began working at Boosey & Hawkes as a publications and marketing coordinator. During her time at Boosey & Hawkes, Jessica moved on from being the publications coordinator for the company’s choral series into music licensing for tv, film, and advertising. As part of the Synchronized Licensing Department of the company, she was responsible for pitching and licensing music for such tv shows and movies as The Simpsons, The Truman Show, and the Spiderman series.

After working at Boosey & Hawkes for approximately 3 years, Jessica was hired by Warner/Chappell Music, where she currently works as a Senior Manager of Strategic Marketing. Besides her current occupation, Jessica is also the Secretary on the board of directors for The Young New Yorkers’ Chorus, where she helps program concerts to encourage young musicians in the field of choral music.

Jessica has stated that she is very happy to have found her dream job, commenting on the subject; “You just can’t be afraid to try and really go after what you want. If there’s anytime to do it, to take a risk, it’s as a college graduate.”

 -Barış Köksalan

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Anthony Kelley

Dr. Anthony Kelley is very connected to the arts at Duke.  In 1991 he received a joint Bachelor and Masters degree in music from Duke and he got his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley.  In 2000 he returned to Duke as a faculty member in the music department.  Dr. Kelley is a recipient of the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Institute and Academy of Arts and Letters.

Kelley is a classical composer but also studies the role of hip-hop and minorities in classical music.  One of his earlier compositions “The Breaks” premiered at Carnegie Hall in 1998 and has since been performed at symphony halls on both coasts.  He also composed the scores for the films “The Doll” and “Conjure Bearden” as well as the incidental music for the Duke Theater department’s production of “Spring Awakening”.

One of his works that really stood out to me was his 2002 work entitled “Sidelines”.  This is three movements of classical music, each inspired by a different sport: basketball, football, and baseball.  In an interview with the Duke Office of News and Communication, he said the work was inspired by his athletic relatives, the Cameron Crazies, Julius Erving, ragtime music, and George Carlin’s stand up routine.  Needless to say I wish I had been at Duke for that performance.

Steven Feister

More Information:

Faculty Website:

Works Cited:

Hicks, Sally. “Ciompi Quartet Premieres Sports-Theme Piece.” Duke News & Communications. 30 Oct. 2002. Web. 19 Nov. 2010. <;.

“Jack Kent Cooke Foundation – Dr. Anthony Kelley.” Jack Kent Cooke Foundation – Homepage. Web. 19 Nov. 2010. <;

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Guest Blogger: Jessica Edison

I kinda saw this musical three times. While this may make me slightly insane, in my defense, ISpring_awakening1lg
did not plan to
see it three times. It is just that
people (i.e. my parents,
visiting friends, and the class) kept wanting to go to it, and I almost never
turn down a Broadway musical.

I must admit that I do have an unusually high tolerance for re-watching things,
I feel that this is a particularly good show and highly recommend it. Based on the play of the same name by Frank
Wedekind, Spring Awakening tells the story of a sexual awakening of a
group of young adolescents in 1890’s provincial Germany which leads to tragic
consequences. While the musical retains
the same setting, it incorporates modern rock-like show tunes, which oddly work
wonderfully into the story. (In
addition, there are some major plot changes between the play and the

music is by Duncan Sheik who is known for the hit-song “Barely Breathing.” I enjoyed the songs so much that I downloaded
the entire album from iTunes. (I also
downloaded “Barely Breathing” which I used to like but had completely forgotten
about). My favorite song is probably
“Totally F****d” which is a high-energy full-cast or nearly full-cast
number. And honestly, any song that ends
with the cast flipping off the audience is going to make me smile. Also, if in addition to swearing, you like
partial nudity and somewhat graphic sex scenes, then this is the musical for

don’t, however, want to give the idea that this piece is just about swearing
and nudity. It is honestly a really good
and well-done serious work. If you don’t
want to believe me then trust the Tony Awards—it won eight including best
musical. The original leads are still
performing, and this is definitely a musical worth checking out. 

New York Times Review

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Guest Blogger: Ally

On Saturday night I saw an opera, voluntarily, and loved
it.   Ok, so it wasn’t exactly a
traditional opera, but it was technically an opera nonetheless: Rent. This was my third time seeing it, and it was
just aRent_castrecordings incredible this time, maybe even more so, than the first two. As most of you, or probably all of you,
already know, I am not exactly what you would call a theater person. It takes a lot for me to really get in to a
show and actually want to go. However, I
absolutely LOVE Rent. As I said, I have
seen it three times and I would definitely see it again.

Rent is one of those shows that grows on you. The first time I saw it I was really
confused, but I still liked the music and enjoyed it despite not being exactly
sure what was going on. (I was also 12
or 13 so some of the content definitely went right over my head). Anyway, I started listening to the songs a
lot after the first show and it started to make a lot more sense.

I also got to the point where I knew every
single word to the entire show (I still do). Now seeing it
this time, the experience was so different. I saw it with Dylan and our friend Amanda who
was visiting, both of whom had never seen it before, although Dyl knew the
music/story and had seen the movie. The
cast was totally different from the other times I saw the show, and Tamyra Gray
was absolutely AMAZING as Mimi. During
“Out Tonight” it was incredible to watch her dance the way she was and still
manage to keep her voice from wavering at all. I walked out of the show and was just in such a good mood. I had the songs stuck in my head for the next
few days.

This is what I went in to Spring Awakening expecting. I thought I was going to absolutely love the
show and want to listen to the soundtrack immediately. However, I was not as taken with it as I was
with Rent. I found some of the plot
confusing and rushed. I did like some of
the songs a lot but I think I would need to have a pretty good understanding of
the plot before I saw it again, which I do eventually want to do. I think part of the problem that led to my
disappointment was the fact that I was expecting something entirely
different. I had been expecting a
full-fledge comedy, not a tragedy where two of the main characters die by the

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Guest Blogger: Allie Fields

Bruce Springsteen Concert

    Last night I went to the Bruce Springsteen concert at Continental Airlines Arena (out by Giant Stadium in Jersey).  I have been hearing about the legendary Bruce concerts from my dad ever since I was little, so I was excited to see what it was actually like in person.  We ended up getting there about an hour & a half early, and we walked around the parking lot where people were grilling, throwing footballs and blasting Springsteen songs.  (The only bad part was that there was only one PortaPotty, so the lines were really long.  It was bad enough to have to use a PortaPotty so the wait did not make me very happy). 
    The culture at the concert was so distinct, everyone seemed to know when to sing, what to do, etc. My dad told me that pretty much everyone there has already seen him one million other times, so it was a little intimidating because I dont know many of his songs, especially the newer ones.  Dave and I were also significantly younger than most people in the crowd.  Despite that, it was a lot of fun anyway.  I have never been to something where the crowd was so excited and so into a show, and that made the atmosphere absolutely amazing.   Springsteen is actually from New Jersey so that fact that it was a hometown crowd definitely added to the craziness.  All in all, it was an awesome night and I’m really glad I got to experience one of his concerts, as the tickets are nearly impossible to get.
    In addition to seeing the Bruce concert, Dylan and I happened to stumble on a
really great street fair that was taking place down by NYU.  We went down to
that area to go shopping for Halloween costumes (which we did eventually find

in a rather questionable shop across the street).   Anyways, the fair was great!  The weather outside was perfect, a typical fall day the way it should be (and by that I mean not 80 degrees!).  We were really excited by the idea of getting fresh squeezed lemonade and we eventually got taken in by the experience and walked the entire 2 block stretch of vendors.  There were people selling everything from $1 Thai Food to 2 for $10 scarves to American Apparel clothing to handmade jewelry.  Dylan bought two great scarves (which I?m sure I will borrow by the end of the semester) and we both bought dresses from this awesome Indian shop.  They are essentially just long pieces of material that can be wrapped, twisted or tied in a variety of ways to create really cool dresses or skirts.  I won?t bore you with the details of these outfits but trust me, they are pretty cool.  Finding this street fair randomly actually reminded me of E.B. White?s piece we read at the beginning of the semester.  We would never have known this was g oing on unless we had accidentally stumbled on it the way we did.  It is really crazy to think about what other types of things I must be missing out on, if I have already found so many cool surprises!

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