Composer Jan Järvlepp creates a genuine European/American musical fusion by combining the excitement of rock and jazz rhythms with the large-scale classical structures found in orchestral and chamber music. The seriousness of his well-thought-out forms and the immediacy of contemporary rhythmic and melodic ideas make a potent brew that is appealing to both open-minded classical listeners and pop music listeners who are searching for something new. Sometimes the influence of world music makes itself felt in his compositions as it did in his Concerto 2000 for flute and symphony orchestra (Available from Navona Records: NV6291).
Järvlepp began playing pop guitar and cello as a teenager and learned bass guitar and harmonica during the same period. In university he majored in composition while developing his cello-playing skills. As his studies progressed, he realized that he was not on the same wavelength as his modernist composition teachers.
He returned to his native Ottawa in 1981 after completing his doctoral studies in composition and 20th century music at the University of California, San Diego. His composition teachers over the years were Luis de Pablo, Alcides Lanza, Will Ogdon and Roger Reynolds. Since returning to Canada, Järvlepp has been a member of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra and has been active as a freelance cellist, composer, teacher and recording technician. Once outside the university environment, he began composing in the newer, postmodern style of neo-tonal music that would rarely be acceptable among academics.
Järvlepp has been delving deeper and deeper into the world of pop-influenced contemporary “classical” composition. He has completely turned his back on the avant garde modernism that he was rigorously trained in to concentrate on postmodern style. He has also taken an interest in Hispanic, Arab, and Nordic folk styles. The result has been a variety of accessible pieces of music that appeal to a surprisingly wide cross section of listeners. At times Järvlepp employs unusual combinations of instruments that have not previously been heard in the world of classical music. He has composed over 80 works for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, orchestra and electronic instruments.
His orchestral music was first heard on the BIS CD-1052 The Garbage Concerto. The Singapore Symphony Orchestra conducted by Lan Shui was joined by the Kroumata Percussion Ensemble. Then in 2020, Navona Records released Järvlepp’s orchestral album entitled Concerto 2000 featuring various performers.