Internationally recognized composer set for Bainbridge homecoming

Composer  and musician Jherek Bischoff has played concerts at some of the nation’s most venerable venues (Lincoln Center most recently). But he’ll give one of the most meaningful performances of his career Friday at Bainbridge Performing Arts.

The island concert marks a homecoming for Bischoff, who first took to the stage in Bainbridge High School and BPA musicals. Since then he’s released an acclaimed album of orchestral music and toured internationally.

Bischoff took the time to respond to a few questions by email this week for a Kitsap Sun/Bainbridge Islander story. Here’s what he had to say about the Bainbridge concert:

What are your thoughts/emotions on returning to Bainbridge to perform?

blog.bischoffalbumartI am super excited to come back to Bainbridge to play. I have been getting so much love and support from the community since things have been taking off, well really I have gotten that support my whole life, but even more now!

So I am excited to bring my music to all these folks who I know as well as my family and to people who may just be finding out about what I do!

My brother, father and I have all played in multiple musicals at BPA too, and it is just really lovely to go back to this space in a completely different context and to put into perspective (for myself) how my musical journey has begun and where it has taken me since playing those musicals!

What influence do you think your time on Bainbridge has had on your career?

I was a strange kid. I had green hair and would dress in pretty outrageous clothes and grew up on a boat and just stuck out quite a bit… In many other communities, that would lead to bullying, and frankly getting beat up all the time! But the B.I. community never really flinched at my appearance.

blog.JherekBischoff-green-creditAngelCeballosI feel that this acceptance toward my self discovery and my creativity (if you want to call it that) was a huge support in giving me the confidence to really BE ME. As an artist, that is always the hardest yet most rewarding thing to find. When your artistic output is wholly you and you find a receptive and accepting audience. I also lucked out pretty big time in my couple of years at Bainbridge High school taking part in the musicals there.

Bob McAllister the theater director (also creative writing teacher) and Mark Nichols (musical director) put together a pretty mind blowing and inspired run of Jesus Christ Superstar that was truly a huge moment for me. Playing with all these awesome musicians, playing complicated music and building that team was my first real insight into what being in a real band was like.

What should we expect from your BPA concert?

I will be playing with what I refer to as my dream team. These are all musicians that played on my most recent record “Composed”. They know my music better than anyone and are the most lovely people ever.They are songwriters, dancers, teachers, etc. themselves, and just have endless talent.

The ensemble will consist of string quartet, clarinet/bass clarinet, percussion and myself on bass/ukulele and vocals. I will be playing a bunch of tunes from “Composed” as well as some newer music including a piece I recently wrote for Kronos Quartet which premiered at Lincoln Center last month.

It will not be your average chamber music show. Expect high energy, sing a longs, and hopefully some tears and smiles.

Contributed photo by Angel Ceballos