Jay “Bluejay” Greenberg, born December 13, 1991, New Haven, Connecticut, is an American composer who entered the Juilliard School in 2002.
He came to the American media’s attention through the sponsorship of Juilliard instructor Samuel Zyman, who lauded Greenberg’s talent during a CBS News 60 Minutes broadcast on November 28, 2004, and again on November 26, 2006. “We are talking about a prodigy of the level of the greatest prodigies in history, when it comes to composition. I am talking about the likes of Mozart, and Mendelssohn, and Saint-Saëns.”
His primary composition instructor was Samuel Adler. Greenberg composes primarily on his computer, using a music notation program. His most well known work is the Overture to 9-11, about the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, which was featured on PRI’s From the Top. At the time of the attacks, he was living in Macedonia but has since returned to the United States. His father, Robert Greenberg, is a professor of Slavic languages at Yale University. His Israeli-born mother also has no musical background, but Jay found himself attracted to music from an early age, having begun playing the cello at the age of two.
Like many composers, Greenberg says he hears the music performed inside his head and often several musical pieces simultaneously, and he is then able to simply notate what he has listened to. He says he rarely needs to make corrections to what he has notated. A lot of other material comes to him in this manner.
The Sony BMG Masterworks label released his first CD on August 15, 2006; it includes his Symphony no. 5 and String Quintet as performed by the London Symphony Orchestra under the direction of José Serebrier and by the Juilliard String Quartet with cellist Darrett Adkins respectively.
On October 28, 2007, Joshua Bell gave the premiere of Greenberg’s Violin Concerto at Carnegie Hall, performing with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s.
Greenberg’s works are published by G. Schirmer.
Greenberg is currently reading music at Peterhouse, Cambridge.