Laura Grill Jaye
Composer, Arranger, Educator, Performer
2022 Relentless Award Winner
We are enormously honored and humbled to have our musical How the White Girl Got Her Spots and Other 90s Trivia recognized with the first Relentless Musical Award. Spots is our most personal musical. We call it an automythography: the characters are fictional projections of ourselves. In it, we are exploring the agonies and delights of belonging to racial categories and what it feels like to exceed those categories altogether, to find that those categories can’t possibly capture all the messiness of our lives.
Read more in the NEW YORK TIMES!!
My personal soundtrack manifests in a folk/rock/grass/jazz kind of way…
I am most active as a composer of original theatre music with my writing partner Shayok Misha Chowdhury. We’ve been collaborating as Grill and Chowder for over a decade. Our musicals have been developed at Ars Nova, New York Theatre Workshop, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, SPACE on Ryder Farm, NYMF, HERE Arts Center, and Joe’s Pub @ The Public Theater. Most of my other original music was written for the Laura Grill Band, a group of brilliant musicians I met at New England Conservatory. We spent some time touring nationally and released albums in 2011 and 2013.
My not-so-secret passion is arranging… reshaping the song box to fit new ideas. I love connecting disparate genres and instruments, placing melodies in new landscapes, and writing new words for old songs.
Notable collaborations: Jacob Collier, Braxton Cook, Audra McDonald, From the Top, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Berklee School of Music, New England Conservatory
I find a unique joy in teaching and learning along with my students. Each interaction invites growth in my personal practice both as an educator and a performer.
In the spring of 2011, I joined the staff of Meridian Academy. I’ve had the great pleasure of building and running the Music Department at this truly remarkable middle & high school. In 2017, I took over as the Director of MIT’s Vocal Jazz Ensemble, a group founded by Institute Professor John Harbison in 2011. I am now a lecturer at MIT, teaching Songwriting in addition to running VJE. It’s thrilling to be part of such a distinguished institution and to have the opportunity to work with some incredible artists along the way.
My instrument of choice is my voice. I studied jazz vocal performance in undergrad and graduate school and feel absolute freedom standing in front of a trio. Improvisation is a necessary element to jazz and a major component of my lifestyle. I am a collector of musical instruments and play just about all of them… my closest relationships are with the guitar, ukulele, saxophone, bassoon, and cello. I walk through life with my arms wide open, a choice which has led to an exciting life of performances and collaborations with musical giants.