Louis A. Josephson Interview by Jen Bush
Louis is a New York-based collaboration-focused composer, music director, and producer. At Age 3, Louis began writing and performing songs at the piano. As a child, Louis was exposed to different styles of music from classic rock in the car with his parents to classical music at the concert hall with his grandmother. Since then, his music has been performed and recorded by esteemed ensembles including The United States Air Force Band, The Juilliard Orchestra, The All-National Honors Concert Band, Sirius Quartet, and various Juilliard chamber ensembles. His music has been featured in various festivals including Tribeca New Music, Association of Concert Bands, National Association of Music Educators, MakeMusic, and Jersey Fringe. He is published by Wingert-Jones Publications, Inc.; A Division of J.W. Pepper & Son, Inc. He is currently studying composition at The Juilliard School with Robert Beaser.
A musical prodigy at age 3, Louis A. Josephson considers his artistry to be a flexible and fluid thing that is ever evolving. “I continue to explore what it means to be an artist. Lately, I have been fascinated with the idea of using art to express complex emotions and the idea of relating my personal growth to my musical language. I am also inspired by my collaborations with other artists who help bring my vision to life and with whom share a similar artistic mindset.”
This production was a long time in the making from adolescence to adulthood. The impetus behind writing it was to create something new and distinct. “After writing a children’s musical with Justin in middle school, I was eager to try something completely different. Little did I know this work would end up being very meaningful to me and help me find my voice. Having started the piece in my freshman year of high and working on it up until my last year of undergrad, Relapse captures how my perspective on life experiences have changed over time.
During interviews artists discuss their creative process if the question arises. Mr. Josephson did much more than that. Here is a rare and literal glimpse of the collaborative creative process between Mr. Josephson and the lyricist, Justin Giachetti. This is golden!
“Here is my recollection of how the most recent song “To Be A Man” came to be.”
Scene Description: Louis’ basement. Louis is sitting at his upright piano harping on random ideas while Justin is sitting on a black couch next to him typing on his laptop. Both Justin and Louis knew (and slightly resented the fact that) they had less than a week to a write one more song for their show.
Justin (confident but also curious) stops typing on his laptop: Ok. Louis, what do you think of this: “So many people ask me to fill them up but my cup is low on its supply.”
Louis (still feeling unsure and slightly afraid of not being able to write a song but likes the idea): yeah, that’s cool.
Louis continues playing with some ideas and Justin continues typing away.
Louis (switching over to his spinning chair): Justin, this song needs to be about toxic masculinity and, in some ways, our own personal connection to “manhood.”
Louis and Justin continue discussing the concept, then Louis goes back to the piano and continues to play some more. A few minutes later, Justin shifts his posture and glows up his entire face.
Justin: I got it. Reads the opening lines of the song. Then sends the lyric idea to Louis to view on his piano.
Louis (singing at the piano): “To Be A Maaan.” No that’s not it. “Tooooo Be A Man.” (many tries later). “To Beeee A Man.” There it is! Ahhh!!! Louis then furiously writes down the tune.
That was the moment I knew we had our tune. From there, we continued exploring this tune and the tone it provided for the song. The lyric was abstract to me at first and of course I couldn’t imagine what the final product would sound like (which is always incredibly daunting), but once I began to absorb the words, and find the tune that served the song most, I knew what the song would sound like.
Some artists feel an added sense of responsibility when presenting a work with serious subject matter. Mr. Josephson’s responsibility is driven by passion. “Being passionate about the topic encourages me to develop it at levels I may not otherwise achieve”.
It’s no surprise that this gifted composer has a full plate of fascinating and distinctive upcoming projects. His work will be music to our ears for a long time to come. “I’m working on a few other projects right now. A musical about how a love affair affects six other people, which is scheduled to be read on August 12/13; A musical about a family escaping from a Nazi occupied ghetto in modern-day Belarus as inspired by a true survivor, as explained by his son, the producer; a piece for orchestra that explores the concept of using metaphors and language to define uncomfortable and (what seems at the time) undefinable emotional and physical sensations; and a song cycle for soprano and piano with text by John Frederick Freeman.”