Jesse Rodin strives to make contact with lived musical experiences of the Renaissance. Immersing himself in the original sources, he sings from choirbooks, memorizes melodies and their texts, and recreates performances held at weddings, liturgical ceremonies, and feasts. As Director of the Josquin Research Project (josquin.stanford.edu), he uses digital tools to explore a large musical corpus. As Director of the ensemble Cut Circle (cutcircle.org), he works with world-class singers to animate Renaissance music.
Rodin is the recipient of awards and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation; the Université Libre de Bruxelles; the American Council of Learned Societies; the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers; the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies; and the American Musicological Society. For his work with Cut Circle he has received the Prix Olivier Messiaen, the Noah Greenberg Award, Editor’s Choice (Gramophone), and a Diapason d’Or.
He is the author of "Josquin’s Rome: Hearing and Composing in the Sistine Chapel" (Oxford University Press, 2012), editor of a volume of the L’homme armé masses for the New Josquin Edition (2014), and co-editor of "The Cambridge History of Fifteenth-Century Music" (2015). His articles have appeared in the Journal of the American Musicological Society, Music & Letters, Acta Musicologica, and other major journals. A recent essay in Early Music tackles the longstanding problem of the Josquin canon, classifying all 346 pieces somewhere attributed to Josquin in descending order of confidence.
An in-progress book explores how fifteenth-century polyphony happens in time. Drawing on his experiences as a scholar and performer, Rodin argues that composers activated a new collection of compositional building blocks to create a powerful and imaginative range of musical experiences (Cambridge University Press).
Cut Circle performs internationally, with recent appearances in Florence and Arezzo, Italy to mark the 500th anniversary of Josquin’s death (27 August 1521). With the Belgian label Musique en Wallonie, Cut Circle has published recordings devoted to two riveting anonymous masses of the fifteenth century (2021), the complete songs of Johannes Ockeghem (2020), the late masses of Guillaume Du Fay (2016), and music in the Sistine Chapel in the time of Josquin (2012). A short film titled "Sounds of Renaissance Florence" recaptures the soundscape of fifteenth-century Italy. A disc of songs and motets by Josquin is scheduled for release soon.
A passionate teacher, Rodin has led seminars, workshops, and masterclasses at institutions such as Princeton University, the Schola Cantorum (Basel, Switzerland), the University of Vienna, and the Centre d’Études Supérieures de la Renaissance (Tours, France).
At Stanford Rodin directs the Facsimile Singers, in which students develop native fluency in old musical notation. He has organized symposia on the composer Johannes Ockeghem, medieval music pedagogy, and musical analysis in the digital age. In addition to undergraduate and graduate music courses, he teaches a class on late-medieval feasting that marries art, music, poetry, and politics with hands-on experience in the kitchen.