Sophia Jani is a composer of contemporary classical music.

Currently based in Berlin and Munich Sophia Jani is a composer of contemporary classical and electronic music. She is part of a new generation of artists who were influenced early on by the boundlessness of the 21st century.

Her debut album of chamber works, Music as a mirror, is out now on Berlin-based label Neue Meister.

Releases

  • Music as a mirror [LP|CD|Digital]

    Out Now

    • 05:50The dark and the light and everything in between
    • 12:47Woodwind Quintet No. 1 "Music as a mirror"
    • 04:51Everybody was so young I
    • 03:50Everybody was so young II
    • 01:26String Quartet No. 1 "See, the grass is full of stars" I. Introduction
    • 05:24String Quartet No. 1 "See, the grass is full of stars" II. Meditation
    • 02:25String Quartet No. 1 "See, the grass is full of stars" III. Intermezzo I
    • 04:28String Quartet No. 1 "See, the grass is full of stars" IV. Poco più mosso
    • 01:22String Quartet No. 1 "See, the grass is full of stars" V. Reminiscenza
    • 00:34String Quartet No. 1 "See, the grass is full of stars" VI. Intermezzo II
    • 02:09String Quartet No. 1 "See, the grass is full of stars" VI. Coda
    • 03:57Andrà

Works

  • The dark and the light and everything in between

    for violin, clarinet, cello, bass clarinet and piano

    The title is a line from Charles Bukowski's (1920-1994) poem "Mind and Heart“, which inspired me to this composition. Bukowski wrote „Mind and Heart“ at the end of his life when he was coming to terms with his inner demons. In the context of the anthology in which I found this poem, the lyrical ‚I‘ seems incredibly at peace with itself, like it is in a calm, reflective state - no struggle, no grand final chord, just elegant acceptance. A very desirable state of mind for me, especially when I wish to write music.„The dark and the light and everything in between“ is a very special piece for me. When working on it I realized for the first time that I can write the music I want to hear, without having to make it fit in certain structures. Concert music has a very strong academic and historical tradition and takes place in a very institutionalized environment, which put me off at first as it felt quite restrictive. At the time when I wanted to turn "Mind and Heart"into music, I was actually expressing myself musically more through electronic music. For this piece, however, I was looking for a very unique, special sound: acoustic and warm, strong, light and somber at the same time. That's how the instrumentation for this piece came about, and that's how I found my musical approach.

  • Woodwind Quintet No. 1 „Music as a mirror“

    for flute, oboe, clarinet, french horn and bassoon

    This is the only piece on the album that I wrote for a specific ensemble, the Dandelion Quintet. Traditionally, when writing for a woodwind quintet, each instrument is assigned a specific function within the group. I was interested in breaking with these conventions and distributing the same elements equally throughout the ensemble. My idea was to create a pulsating process that changes over time, almost unnoticeable for the listener, until the piece ends up in a completely different place as it started.

  • Everybody was so young I + II

    for alto flute, clarinet and cello

    When I began working on a trio for alto flute, clarinet, and cello, I happened to come across an interview in a 1962 issue of The New Yorker with Sara and Gerald Murphy, two upper-class Americans who moved to France as a young couple in the 1920s. They were among the hottest artistic circles in Paris, served as inspiration for Scott Fitzgerald's main characters in "Tender Is the Night", and invented sunbathing in the south of France. They later had three children, two of whom died young, prompting them to return to the U.S. and live a reclusive life. American writer Amanda Vaill portrayed the couple in her novel "Everybody Was So Young", which I've never read but whose title inspired me to write music based on the feeling it conveys for me. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea that time goes on and on, that it can't be stopped, and that we humans are constantly changing, even if we aren’t able to perceive it at the moment. In "Everybody was so young" I want to express this feeling of transience and nostalgia that overcomes you when suddenly you realize that you have once again transitioned into a new version of yourself while looking at this other being that was once you.

  • String Quartet No. 1 „See, the grass is full of stars“

    for 2 violins, viola and violoncello

    When I was a child, I had a handful of CDs that I listened to over and over again. One of them was a recording of the last Schubert Piano Sonata by Wilhelm Kempff. I always loved this music for several obvious reasons, one of them being the fact that each of the movements just go on forever. I liked that I could engage with this beautiful music and the story it was telling me without worrying that it would soon be over. When I started working on this string quartet, I wanted to create a similar situation within my own music. I wanted to create a musical narrative that would make you forget about time, that would allow you to just dwell in it. The surreal image evoked by the title, which is based on a line of poetry by Majorie Pickthall (1882-1922), should serve as a starting point for the listener as they embark on their own listening journey.

  • Andrà

    for piano

    "Andrà" is the only piece on the album that I wrote on and for the piano, my own instrument. After spending so much time writing for other instruments, it felt like coming home for a brief moment. "Andrà" is about standing still, enjoying the achievements we make along the way, and postponing the urge to keep moving forward to some point in the future.

Projects

  • Film

    • "Die Goldfische" (directed by Alireza Golafshan), 2019
  • Theatre

    • "Das Uhrenstellinstitut" @August-Everding Akademie, 2016
    • "Trick 7105" @Kammerspiele München, 2018
    • "Regel 5/22" @Kammerspiele München, 2018
  • Dance

    • "Close-Up" @August-Everding Akademie (choreographer: Katja Wachter), 2018

About

“Some of it reminds me of minimal music, the repetitions, the different layers that build up little by little, but she doesn’t hide behind them, she uses these techniques to express her own ideas. I find it wonderful how carefully she goes about it. When she’s onto an idea, she doesn’t just grab it, but approaches it carefully and gives the idea time to blossom.” – Tuula Simon, WDR 3, “3 von jetzt” (“3 of now”)


Sophia Jani is a Berlin- and Munich-based composer of contemporary classical and electronic music who writes poetic minimalist works.
Jani studied at the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich and the Yale University School of Music with Martin Bresnick and David Lang. Her music has been performed by the New Jersey Symphony, the Munich Symphony, the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival, musicians of the Dallas Symphony, the Goldmund Quartet, the Omer Quartet, the Sirius Quartet, the Kontai Quartet, and the Dandelion Quintet, among others. She has also written commissioned works for pianist Eunbi Kim, guitarist Jiji Kim, and violinist Teresa Allgaier, and has contributed music to successful film, theater, and dance projects.


In 2021, Jani was awarded the prestigious Scholarship for Music by the City of Munich for her solo violin piece III. Her debut album of chamber works, 2022’s Music as a mirror, received a nomination for the German Classical Music Prize “Opus Klassik.” In June 2022, she co-composed and produced “Tulips” with violinist Darian Donovan Thomas, which was featured on !K7’s String Layers Vol. II. And in July 2022, she participated in the Edward T. Cone Composition Institute at Princeton University as one of four selected early career composers, where her composition “What do flowers do at night?” was performed by the New Jersey Symphony under conductor David Robertson.


In addition to Jani’s work as a composer, she’s passionate about building a diverse and international community of artists that open-mindedly addresses the challenges notated music faces in the 21st century. To that end, she is one of the founders and artistic directors of “Feet Become Ears,” which is a brand-new concert series that will commission, present, and celebrate contemporary chamber music.