Jesse Olsen Bay is a composer, performer and teacher who lives just north of the San Francisco Bay. At home in a wide variety of musical forms and styles, he creates aural landscapes and narratives that explore the depths and extremities of the human experience. Ranging from art-songs and folk ballads to instrumental music for dance and film, from soundscape collage to experimental performance art, his music is always rooted in a search for meaning, truth, human connection and honest communication.
Jesse grew up in a musical family of leftist activists in Berkeley, California, before going on to study at Bennington College with the legendary percussionist/healer Milford Graves. He also immersed himself in the cutting edge dance program there, studying with dancer and improvisor Susan Sgorbati. Since then, his work has earned him awards and support from the American Composers Forum, San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, Meet the Composer/New Music USA, Ucross Foundation, Zellerbach Foundation, California Arts Council, East Bay Fund for Artists, and Paul Dresher Ensemble.
Jesse is a prolific collaborator with dancers and choreographers, for which he has received an Isadora Duncan Award and two additional nomintations. Notable collaborations have included Project Bandaloop's Harboring (2013), Amy Seiwart's Imagery's In The Time (2011), Joe Goode Performance Group's The Rambler (2010), Sean Dorsey's The Secret History of Love (2009), Scott Wells & Dancers' The How Not to See Dances (2006). He has scored several feature-length and short films, and his music has appeared in numerous television and radio spots.
Jesse performs as half of the eclectic singer-songwriter duo Ramon & Jessica, mainstays of the San Francisco music scene, and in Open Graves, an experimental electro-acoustic improvisation project with Seattle-based musician Paul Kikuchi. Recordings of Jesse's music are available on Porto Franco Records, Prefecture Records, and Deconstruct My House.
When he's not making music, he can be found hanging out with his sons Yarrow (age 6) and Altair (just born!) and his partner Frieda, on their 3 acres of land in Sebastopol, CA.