Once Removed

Once Removed

Music that lingers
John Fitz Rogers
Cameron Britt
Joseph Eller
Lynn Kompass
Marina Lomazov
Opus Two
Robert Jesselson
Scott Herring
William Terwilliger
Catalog Number: 
new classical

Columbia, SC

Release Date: 
Dec 13, 2011
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
One Sheet: 

"My music isn't about assault; I'd like to think it's about seduction. I think mystery lies in furtive turns, in the nooks and crannies, in things that are sometimes distant or 'once removed.' I like music that can feel hopeful yet sad, exuberant though slightly crazed. I want my music to feel natural yet pensive or even slightly uneasy. I like music that lingers." - John Fitz Rogers 

If you are up on the last few hundred years of western classical composition you may be seduced into thinking the music of John Fitz Rogers all sounds somehow familiar. Your satisfaction at influence-spotting this eloquently crafted chamber music wouldn't last long though. Just as soon as you flash on Keith Jarrett, Schubert, Messiaen, Britten, and Steve Reich, along comes Jelly Roll Morton. Soon you give up and let the lyrical freshness and sensuous phrasing carry you along with its own internal logic, purely John Fitz Rogers. He's a classicist with a romantic's heart. 

Rogers is not your average rural Wisconsin-born, Northeast-educated (Cornell, Yale, Oberlin), South Carolina-dwelling composer. He grew up playing classical piano, at jazz gigs, in cover bands, and studying West African drumming and Renaissance choral music. The New York Times called his "approach to language...attractive for its omnivorousness; allusions to chant, and to Minimalism, sit beside dense counterpoint." But don't look for obvious pastiche or hybrids in his work: "I look at composing more like a writer might look at writing: I take anything from my experience or background and try to fuse it into a single, coherent voice." 

"The things I value (that a writer might also share): simplicity and clarity; the unexpected but subtle shift; nuance; the graceful, expressive phrase; mystery; just the right proportion and balance. In the end, though, I believe the only thing that's important in any kind of music is whether it speaks to us emotionally." 

Rogers founded the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award winning Southern Exposure New Music Series and teaches at the University of South Carolina. 


[N]ever ceases to be interesting . . . Absolutely beautiful . . . Rogers is one of the few composers who’ve risen beyond academia and found a unique voice. I’d be very interested in seeing how his minimalist-polystylism might work in a longer orchestral piece. Concerto for Orchestra anyone?

- Paul Cook, American Record Guide

...[his] wide sonic palette leads to gorgeous, nuanced pieces with lots of room for interpretation.

- Patrick Wall, Freetimes