Composer Highlight: Jesse Diener-Bennett / by and Play

Jesse Diener-Bennett Headshot (1).jpg


As you all (hopefully/should) know, andPlay's concert at East Bank Music in Greenpoint is this coming Friday (October 25th) @ 8 PM! We have three premieres by three composers, and we thought that it would be fun for everyone to get to know them a bit! Jesse Diener-Bennett is our first composer highlight of the week, with his piece Moebius . Enjoy his words on the work and other things below...


 Could you tell us about the title or inspiration for your piece?

I started writing Moebius while revisiting my childhood fascination with the Moebius strip. I used to make them with some paper and tape, and then trace their one side with my finger, knowing that I would end up where I started, but each time not believing it until I got there. 

It’s a shape of contradictions. There’s a sense of stasis invested in it, and an equal sense of movement. Its form is very simple, very comprehensible, but at the same time complex in a way that violates our common-sense understanding of the world.

When andPlay approached me about writing a piece for them, I starting thinking about what that could mean in the realm of sound. I ended up writing a piece that is very simple and static at first glance, but full of energy and movement just under the surface.

What can listeners expect or listen for in your piece?

A lot of the action goes on in the noises and colors underneath the notes, and in the visual and auditory interplay between the motions of the violin and viola bows. I think you can listen to this piece in a lot of different ways and come away with something, but it’s probably most rewarding to pay attention to all of that stuff that’s usually at the basement level of music. 

What is your current snack of choice?

Homemade Everything Chips! Potato chips, kale chips, beet chips, collard chips. If you don’t like a vegetable, just make it into a chip. Everything tastes better as a chip.

What have you been listening to?

I was just looking through my old CDs for the first time in probably a couple of years, and found my old Pixies best of compilation, Wave of Mutilation. I still remembered all the words. And on Saturday night the awe-inspiring Tak ensemble just performed a concert of music by David Bird, Marcelo Toledo, and others. It was one of the best concerts I’ve heard in a long time. 


Find more of Jesse's compositions and writing at