bio

Jake Landau

Short Bio

Jake Landau (he/him), b. 1995, is an American composer of opera, musical theater, ballet, and instrumental music. His works have been performed by the New York Philharmonic, Houston Grand Opera, and Premiere Division Ballet in venues as diverse as Carnegie Hall, Birdland Jazz Club, and the Royal Palace of Amsterdam. Select works of his have been published by G. Schirmer (Ayres, for SA and piano) and Edition Peters (Hardware Love, for orchestra).

After completing two full-length fantasy novels by age 13 (he had a lot of friends), Landau turned to the closest thing to magic he could find in real life: music. At age 16, he became the youngest person ever accepted to Oscar-, Grammy-, and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Corigliano’s studio at The Juilliard School. While writing concert music at Juilliard, Landau worked in premiere pop music studios, experimental queer nightclubs, and as an audition pianist for both opera and Broadway productions. This unique background led him to a sound that at turns explores and ignores genre, in which hit-factory hooks interact with the concept-driven architectures of classical music—all in service of a theatrical worldbuilding lifted, in abstract, from fantasy novels.

Landau is the youngest-ever winner of the Walter Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; one of NYFOS’S (New York Festival of Song) “9 under 34” composers; a board member of Brooklyn-based experimental theater company Off-Brand Opera; a Clarendon Scholar of Oxford University; and an Extension-Division faculty member at Juilliard in New York, where he is based full-time. Landau is represented by Encompass Arts, LLC.

Long Bio

Jake Landau (he/him), b. 1995, is an American composer of opera, musical theater, ballet, and instrumental music. His works have been performed by the New York Philharmonic, Houston Grand Opera, and Premiere Division Ballet in venues as diverse as Carnegie Hall, Birdland Jazz Club, and the Royal Palace of Amsterdam. Select works of his have been published by G. Schirmer (Ayres, for SA and piano) and Edition Peters (Hardware Love, for orchestra). 

After completing two full-length fantasy novels by age 13 (he had a lot of friends), Landau turned to the closest thing to magic he could find in real life: music. At age 16, he became the youngest person ever accepted to Oscar-, Grammy-, and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Corigliano’s studio at The Juilliard School. While writing concert music at Juilliard, Landau worked in premiere pop music studios, experimental queer nightclubs, and as an audition pianist for both opera and Broadway productions. This unique background led him to a sound that at turns explores and ignores genre, in which hit-factory hooks interact with the rigorous architectures found more often in classical music—all in service of a dramatic worldbuilding lifted, in concept, from fantasy novels. 

After his formative studies with theater composer and lyricist Lawrence Rosen, Landau earned his bachelor’s degree at Juilliard under John Corigliano. One year later, he graduated from Oxford University with a master’s degree and First Class Honours.

Recent significant premieres include Landau’s first opera, Pietà, which debuted in an innovative film format documenting the show’s delayed opening due to Covid and subsequent reading in New York. Filmed in 2020, Pietà went on to win the “Best Music Documentary” laurels at such festivals as The People’s Film Festival, RAGFF New York City, and Malabar Music Festival. The full production of Pietà was mounted in 2021 at The Narnia Festival in Italy with the composer conducting from the piano. His second opera, a companion piece to Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas titled & Aeterna, premiered at the same festival the following year. The uniquely combines period performance practice with contemporary compositional ideas, built on a libretto by Landau’s frequent collaborator Emily Garber. 

Between these two operas, Landau’s “The Coin Toss” was premiered at the legendary Birdland Jazz Club by Broadway star Sam Gravitte (most recently seen as Fiyero in Wicked on Broadway). A song cycle with music, lyrics, and orchestrations by Landau, “The Coin Toss” garnered the following review from Broadway World: “though one is reluctant to use The S Word, Mr. Landau’s composition is so creative and innovative that one cannot help but be reminded of another musical theater titan whom everyone admires [Sondheim].” 

In addition to his composing, Landau is a lyricist, conductor, and Baroque keyboardist. A regular performer of his own works and others’, he has written, arranged, and music-directed concerts for a wide-range of singers from celebrated indie artists to leading Broadway stars at iconic venues like The Duplex, The Greenroom 42, and 54 Below. 

Landau is the youngest-ever winner of the Walter Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; one of NYFOS’S (New York Festival of Song) “9 under 34” composers; a board member of Brooklyn-based experimental theater company Off-Brand Opera; a Clarendon Scholar of Oxford University; and an Extension-Division faculty member of The Juilliard School in New York, where he is based full-time. He is represented by Encompass Arts, LLC.

though one is reluctant to use The S Word, Mr. Landau's composition is so creative and innovative that one cannot help but be reminded of another musical theater titan whom everyone admires [Sondheim]
- Broadway World