• Room 21 (2016)

    This site-specific hour-long composition/performance for 20 musicians was written and choreographed by Clayton in response to the art and objects in Philadelphia's Barnes Foundation, where it debuted. The project was curated by Lee Tusman in conjunction with Ars Nova Workshop. More info.
  • Enkutatash እንቁጣጣሽ

    Enkutatash እንቁጣጣሽ  is a large-scale public choral work by Jace Clayton, transforming security threats into spiritual renewal. The piece debuted on September 11th 2014, the Ethiopian New Year (Ethiopia uses its own calendar system), and featured a choir singing a musical rendition of the color-coded Homeland Security Threat Level changes superimposed with seasonal African songs. Enkutatash እንቁጣጣሽ treats the changing threat-level data as a musical score to be sung by a D.C. choir and audience participants, using the five-note (pentatonic) Ethiopian musical scale. Accompanying the choir are modified East African harvest songs for masinqo (one-string lute) and voice, performed by Gezachew Habtemariam and Kalkidan Woldermariam. The D.C. area is home to the largest Ethiopian community outside of Ethiopia. After the performance there was music by all-lady DJ crew Anthology of Booty and complimentary vegetarian Ethiopian food in tribute to the holiday, from which the piece takes its name and inspiration. The free outdoor event, commissioned by the 5x5 Project, was staged at the Gateway Pavilion at St. Elizabeth’s East, in the Anacostia neighborhood. St. Elizabeth's is the former national mental institution that currently houses, among others, the Department of Homeland Security.
  • Gbadu and the Moirai Index (2016)

    Gbadu is an experimental musical composition and performance piece for four vocalists and the stock market. The performance will be staged in New York near Wall Street, with singers representing the Moirai (the three Fates) and Gbadu (their West African counterpart). Each singer’s vocals are processed and transformed by real-time financial data, mapped to character-appropriate stock market indexes. Due to market fluctuations, although the score is fixed, each performance will sound radically different. This project is supported by Creative Capital, with debut slated for summer 2016.
  • Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner (2013-)

    Conceived for twin pianos, live electronics, and voice, Clayton's The Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner brings fresh insight to the artistic legacy of the mercurial gay African American composer Eastman, and contributed to Eastman's newfound popularity. ("...will advance [Eastman's] cause with an eclectic young audience" - Russel Platt, The New Yorker, 2013) The Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner is built around new arrangements of Evil Nigger (1979) and Gay Guerrilla (1980), two of Eastman's most important, if rarely performed, piano compositions. Clayton uses his own custom-designed 'Sufi Plug Ins' software to live-process the pianos of David Friend and Emily Manzo, and also intersperses musical vignettes and new compositions – performed by neo-Sufi vocalist Arooj Aftab – to lend context and nuance to the composer's saga, which was cut short in 1990 at age 49.  JEMD debuted in 2013 and continues to be performed. An album version of the project was released on New Amsterdam Records.
  • Sufi Plug Ins (2012 – ongoing)

    SUFI PLUG INS is a free suite of music-making software tools based on nonwestern notions of sound & a poetic interface. This brief demonstration video shows version 1 in action. For more information, please visit the project site.