The College of Arts & Letters is saddened by the loss of Assistant Professor Jason Painter Price, who passed away on Sunday, November 1. He was 45 years old.
Since August 2011, Price had served as a faculty member in the Department of Theatre at Michigan State University where he taught classes in Sound Design. He also taught Computer Music and Trumpet classes in the College of Music.
“I shared some memories of Jason with my class, and they all appreciated having a moment to express their thoughts. Many of the students said that he was an encouraging teacher who made them feel capable of accomplishing tasks even if they lacked knowledge and experience of sound equipment,” said Dan Smith, Assistant Professor of Theatre. “Jason was a great storyteller, especially gifted at finding humor in awkward situations. I always enjoyed hearing about his job collecting roadkill in Virginia.”
A trumpet performer, composer, and improviser, Price wrote electronic and acoustic music for dance, theater, film, television, radio, and software. His compositions had been presented at Carnegie Hall, the FONT Festival, STEIM – Amsterdam, Manhattan School of Music, Ohio University, Virginia Tech, and Bowling Green State University.
As a sound designer, he created the interactive electronics for several theater productions and sound installations. His work centered on the evolution of communication devices into musical devices.
Former students and colleagues continue to reach out and express their admiration for Jason as a kind, enthusiastic, and compassionate artist and educator. We lost a great colleague and friend.Kirk Domer, Professor of Theatre
Price had been a guest artist and gave master classes and talks at New York University, California Institute of the Arts, Eastman School of Music, Dartmouth College, Carthage College, Hamilton College, Otterbein College, University of Missouri – Columbia, Virginia Tech, Nazareth College, and three International Trumpet Guild Conferences. He also had once served on the faculties of Dickinson College, Virginia Tech, Susquehanna University, and Lansing Community College.
“This is a sad time for MSU and the Department of Theatre,” said Kirk Domer, Professor of Theatre and former Department of Theatre Chairperson. “Our thoughts are with Blake and the many lives that Jason touched over the years. Former students and colleagues continue to reach out and express their admiration for Jason as a kind, enthusiastic, and compassionate artist and educator. We lost a great colleague and friend.”
As a soloist and trumpeter, he performed in North America, Europe, and Asia, specializing in innovative contemporary works. He performed in the World Premiere of works by John Adams, Harrison Birtwistle, Steve Reich, Bernard Rands, Benedict Mason, Augusta Read Thomas, Michael Gordon, Misha Mengleberg, Willhelm Breuker, Wolfgang Rihm, Meredith Monk, and Kenny Wheeler. He also performed the American premiere of a solo piece by Peter Maxwell Davies.
Price was a founding member of the New York-based music ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, which performed the collaborative musical theatre piece, 1969, at Carnegie Hall to rave reviews in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal. The band also performed at the Lincoln Center, Berlin Philharmonic, Whitney Museum, Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Hall, Conservatory of Amsterdam, RadioKulturHaus in Vienna, the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam, the Kitchen, and the Knitting Factory. His performances can be heard on the Nonesuch, Warner Brothers, Cantaloupe, AudioDrain, and Ace-Fu labels.
In 2001, Price won First Prize in the National Trumpet Competition for his performance of Luciano Berio’s Sequenza. For six years, he worked and taught at the Eastman Computer Music Center at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where he earned the Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music in Performance and Literature in Trumpet in the studio of James Thompson. He also studied with Allen Bachelder at Virginia Tech in his hometown of Blacksburg, Virginia.
Jason Price’s contribution to the performing arts defied simple labels. From his work in sound design for live theatrical production to his prestigious record as a live performing musician, Jason was always pushing himself to explore new avenues.Chris Corneal, Associate Professor of Theatre
“Jason Price’s contribution to the performing arts defied simple labels. From his work in sound design for live theatrical production to his prestigious record as a live performing musician, Jason was always pushing himself to explore new avenues,” said Chris Corneal, Associate Professor of Graphic Design. “I’m glad to say I had the opportunity to see him perform in various venues and he seemed to make it look so easy. From performing as part of a small classical chamber music trio, to the avant-garde ground-breaking work he did with the internationally acclaimed musical group, Alarm Will Sound, Jason’s lifelong dedication to his craft as a performing artist was always about new opportunities of exploration and expression.
“But more than an artist, Jason was also a kind, brilliant, funny, and giving person that I feel honored to have called a friend. He was the ideal friend to consult for advice on any issue, personal or professional. While he was so often the smartest person in a conversation, he never seemed to acknowledge that it was even a possibility. He had the amazing ability to remain centered and consider any question from all angles. While serious when needed, he also had the ability to just have fun. He was always up for a good laugh or the opportunity to attend a sporting event, concert, exhibition, or just hangout. Anyone that knew Jason, knew he had the most amazing laugh and I’m really going to miss hearing it. Most of all, I’m going to miss our hilarious and rambling conversations that seemed to cover everything under the sun (obscure popular culture references, politics, sports talk, and of course the best places to eat) and nothing at all at the same time.”
The College of Arts & Letters wishes to extend its heartfelt condolences to Price’s wife, Blake Williams, who is an Associate Professor of Ceramics in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design.