Composer, author, and filmmaker Jack Curtis Dubowsky works in concert music, improvisation, and live performance. His output includes three books, one documentary feature, and numerous musical compositions in film scoring, classical music, popular music, choral music, and other musical genres.
== Choral and Vocal works ==
Dubowsky's choral music has been performed internationally by groups including San Francisco Choral Artists, Desert Voices, Resounding Harmony, Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco, Oakland/East Bay Gay Men's Chorus, Mount Eden Chorus, University of San Francisco Chamber Singers, and Gay and Lesbian Singers Auckland. Dubowsky's major work Harvey Milk: A Cantata has been performed by university, high school, and community choruses. The text, entirely by Milk, is culled from speeches as well as unpublished documents, researched and sourced with the cooperation of the Estate of Harvey Milk and the Harvey Milk Archives of the San Francisco Public Library. Other major vocal works by Dubowsky include the socio-political chamber opera Halloween in the Castro and Quaker Peace Testimony.
== Orchestral and Chamber works ==
Dubowsky's orchestral music has been performed by the Chicago Modern Orchestra Project, Cadillac Symphony Orchestra, and the Castro Valley Chamber Orchestra. Major works include an oratory with orchestra, Eisenhower Farewell Address. Dubowsky's chamber music has been performed by Classical Revolution, Paradigm Brass, Keisuke Nakagoshi, Nicholas Phillips, and Stephanie Lynne Smith. Dubowsky has received grants from Meet the Composer, Zellerbach Family Fund, Friends of San Francisco Public Library, Queer Cultural Center, National Queer Arts Festival, Grants for the Arts/Hotel Tax Fund, San Francisco Arts Commission, San Francisco Foundation, and the American Composers Forum.
== Ensemble and Live Scores ==
The Jack Curtis Dubowsky Ensemble combines composed material and structured improvisation. The Ensemble has released four albums, has played theatres and performance venues nationwide, and presents live scores to silent and experimental film. Dubowsky has composed and conducted new scores for silent classics including Nosferatu, The Black Pirate, Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, The Golem, The Phantom Carriage, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and The Mark of Zorro.
== Film Scoring ==
Dubowsky has scored feature films including Redwoods, Rock Haven, That Man Peter Berlin, I Always Said Yes, and Steven Arnold Heavenly Bodies. Dubowsky provided additional music for Bruce LaBruce's LA Zombie and Hustler White. Dubowsky worked in Pixar's in-house music department, garnering screen credit on Monsters Inc. and Toy Story 2.
== Filmmaking ==
Dubowsky produced and directed the experimental documentary Submerged Queer Spaces (2012) that examines San Francisco history, architecture, and gentrification. The film premiered at the Frameline International Film Festival, and is streaming on Amazon Prime Video. Dubowsky's short films have screened at the British Film Institute and film festivals worldwide.
== Books ==
Easy Listening and Film Scoring: 1948-1978 (Routledge 2021) documents easy listening's artistic, commercial, and cultural connections with midcentury film music, an aspect overlooked in academic and popular literature.
Intersecting Film, Music, and Queerness (Palgrave 2016) bridges musicology, cinema studies, and queer theory.
Composing for Silent Film (Routledge, forthcoming) is a specialized music composition guide offering insight, information, and techniques for contemporary composition, arrangement, and performance of live scores for period silent film.
Dubowsky is sole inventor of one U.S. patent, assigned to Apple Computer.
== Memberships and Archive ==
Dubowsky is a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Recording Academy, the Motion Picture Editors Guild, and is a fellow of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. He has taught and lectured at universities in the US and the UK.
Dubowsky's archive is held in Special Collections at the Oviatt Library at California State University, Northridge. It includes scores, 500 hours of recordings, and 100 hours of video.
== Backstory and Cultural Significance ==
Dubowsky began playing in bands in Los Angeles in 1982, and working professionally in the recording industry in Los Angeles in 1986. His album Diazepam Nights (1989) was an early D.I.Y. queercore private press CD. Dubowsky's subsequent "faggot heavy metal" band Helot Revolt garnered national attention in 1990. Dubowsky performed at important period and queer venues such as Highways (Santa Monica), Club Fuck! (Silver Lake), Klubstitute (San Francisco), and Bottom of the Hill (San Francisco). Much of this performance work was connected to activist communities including benefits for ACT UP Los Angeles and Queer Nation.
Within these activist and performance art communities, Dubowsky met Glen Meadmore, a 6'8" queer performance artist notably tried for obscenity in 1989 for a show at UC Santa Barbara. Dubowsky worked with Glen and produced his album Hot, Horny, and Born Again (1993). Three of these songs were used in Bruce LaBruce's film, Hustler White (1996), which featured Meadmore onscreen. Dubowsky worked with LaBruce again in 2010, contributing music to L.A. Zombie.
In San Francisco, Dubowsky worked at the Plant Studios in Sausalito (with Metallica and others), Francis Ford Coppola's American Zoetrope, and Pixar Animation Studios. Dubowsky composed chamber operas performed at Intersection for the Arts, Bernice Street Theatre, and the Koret Auditorium; audiovisual materials and correspondence from a 1997 project with New Narrative poet and librettist Kevin Killian are held at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale. Dubowsky was active in the local theatre community, performing regularly with the Sick & Twisted Players. Video of Dubowsky performing at Klubstitute is held in the Human Sexuality Collection at Cornell University Library.
Much of Dubowsky's choral music was composed for the GALA choral movement, and is informed by social justice, political activism, and the Quakers. Dubowsky's choral music has been performed internationally. Pieces performed at GALA's choral festivals from 2004-2016 include: Was It the Wind, A Bacchanalian Song, Harvey Milk: A Cantata, Quaker Peace Testimony, Magic Snow, Sing We and Chant It, Twilight in Technicolor, and Double Nut. Dubowsky's Magic Snow caused a ripple of controversy within the San Francisco gay community, portraying Santa as a drug addled all-night trucker, performed by the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco on a holiday concert before a capacity all-ages audience at The Castro Theatre. In 2009, undeterred, LGCSF commissioned an opera from Dubowsky, Halloween in the Castro, which tackled the violence that decimated the neighborhood celebration, as well as the city's awkward responses.
Dubowsky continues to compose and write.
Rev. September 2022