Adieu Christopher Jackson

I can’t believe that Christopher is gone. My condolences, solidarity, and love to everyone who knew him, especially his family and loved ones. Many, many friends are grieving today.

Since learning of the death of my friend, colleague and mentor, Christopher Jackson, I can’t think of much else. I sang my first Monteverdi Vespers, Bach B Minor Mass and many other works under his red baton at SMAM. The Canticum Canticorum of Palestrina. The Schütz Historia. Large scale works by Gabrieli, Praetorius, Victoria. Spem in Alium. Countless precious memories I wouldn’t trade for anything. I can’t really describe how thrilling it was to work with him, words can’t really do it justice. Everyone who did have that chance knows exactly what I mean.

I knew him principally as a mentor. For years we would meet fairly regularly to discuss scores and elements of early music. Those were very important times for me, a gift he gave me again and again without request for anything at all. A really selfless thing to do. It was a chance to learn how he put these musical puzzles together. The only thing he really asked of me was to be myself.

Christopher was always supportive of my desire to study and improve my approach to early music. He kept my eye pointed in the direction of performance, which has saved me a few times from going down the rabbit hole. He was a powerful musical presence in my life. Eventually in the last few years we became colleagues and friends.

Despite years of work together, it is the friendship that I will miss most of all. I’m going to miss us chuckling over Lassus, questioning Palestrina, discussing recordings, and especially drinking beer and discussing this strange business of music we live so personally. I will miss calling him up for drinks or watching SMAM in rehearsal or concert. I will miss him coming to listen to my rehearsals and concerts. I will miss his uncompromising nature.

Thank you for everything Christopher. I’ll miss you deeply.

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