Saint Mary's Music Professor Creates Music for Haiti

More Devastation Anticipated Today with Tropical Storm

Gwen O’Brien
Director of Media Relations
Saint Mary's College
(574) 284-4579

August 4, 2011 (Notre Dame, Ind.)—Thousands of homeless Haitians and other poor citizens are riding out Tropical Storm Emily today in flimsy shanties and tents as the storm comes on shore. Torrential rains of up to 20” are expected across a country where more than 600,000 people still live without shelter after last year's earthquake.

Saint Mary’s College music professor Jeffrey Jacob watches the forecasts and aches for the people there. When the earthquake devastated the island nation last year he was so moved by the devastation that he got to work on a project he hopes will raise money to help rebuild the country. The CD Music for Haiti is a project Jacob began in the days following the earthquake. The more than 200,000 deaths along with at least as many serious injuries make the earthquake one of the most devastating natural disasters in recorded history.

“I was deeply moved by the suffering of the Haitians, but also by the outpouring of international aid and cooperation, the heroic rescues, the almost unbearably touching scenes of family members reunited, and the feelings expressed by many of ultimate hope for the future,” Jacob said.

Jacob notes that several months after the earthquake, Haiti was largely forgotten. Much promised foreign aid never arrived, never will arrive. There were other international crises and disasters, some natural, some human-made. Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush anticipated this “benign neglect” and formed the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. Seventy-five per cent of the proceeds from the sale of this CD will go directly to this fund.

Jacob says the music on the CD “Music for Haiti” is a compilation of his recent compositions that explore themes of tragedy, death and redemption, and new works directly inspired by the disaster. Each work acknowledges the tragedy, but also offers moments of hope, evokes the dignity of life, and provides resolution in both senses of the word. All of the works are for piano and orchestra, and Jacob is the pianist in every case. The orchestras include two world-class groups, the London Symphony Orchestra, recorded at London Abbey Road Studios, and the Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra.

Jacob’s music has taken him all over the world. The concert pianist and music professor grew up with an instinctual love of classical musical from all periods and was playing the piano by age five. Now he performs 10 to 20 concerts per year and has released and contributed to 21 CDs.

Jacob has played for audiences from Hong Kong to Dublin and all over the U.S. Two of his most memorable performances were forays into Warsaw, Poland, before the fall of communism. Jacob himself has composed three symphonies, three piano concertos, and numerous works for piano and chamber ensemble. Jacob obtained his master’s degree at Juilliard and his PhD from the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University.

About Saint Mary’s College: Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Ind., is a four-year, Catholic, women’s institution offering five bachelor’s degrees and more than 30 major areas of study. Saint Mary’s College has six nationally accredited academic programs: social work, art, music, teacher education, chemistry and nursing. Saint Mary’s College ranks among the top 100 “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” in the U.S. News & World Report 2011 College Guide. Founded in 1844, Saint Mary’s is a pioneer in the education of women, and is sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Cross.