After being named executive director of Light Opera of New Jersey, Dr. Jason Tramm, Seton Hall’s director of choral activities, said he is looking towards a bright future for music.
Tramm, who has a doctorate of musical arts in conducting, is now in his tenth year as an Associate Professor at Seton Hall. He recently spoke to The Setonian about his love for his current job at the University, his plans for the Light Opera, and reflected on his career.
“The most joyful part of my career is I get to mix my professional conducting, my guest conducting with my Seton Hall teaching,” Tramm said. “I bring back what I learn in the professional world to my students in the classroom.”
Tramm was hired as the executive director of LONJ in July, which took effect on September 1. LONJ is a professional theatre company that produces opera and musical theatre productions. As the executive producer, he is responsible for hiring all of the professional artists in the cast and orchestra, the directors, and managing all of the artistic operations and fundraising efforts.
Tramm runs Seton Hall’s university choir, university orchestra, and chamber choir, in addition to teaching a music course.
“It’s unusual for someone to do both choirs and orchestra, but it’s actually really what I love the most because I get to do both of my passions,” Tramm said.
Timothy Dziekan, a junior political science major, and a bassoon player in Tramm’s orchestra class, shared a very positive opinion about having Tramm as a teacher.
“I feel really good about having his class,” Dziekan said. “You can just see how passionate he is.”
Tramm said he was chosen for LONJ due to his past experiences and various connections in the opera and symphonic world.
“Ultimately it’s all about being nice.” Tramm said. “Being a good colleague and working with people who are excited to do good work.”
Tramm said this new job will not interfere with his current position at Seton Hall. Rather, his position could allow students to get involved with productions as interns to experience and collaborate with the professional world. He also said he has the goal of bringing modern and visionary productions to the state with the help of numerous talented artists and the use of screen projections on the stage.
“I keep saying, ‘it’s not your grandmother’s opera company,’” Tramm said. “It’s gonna be modern, it’s gonna be in the now, with exploring contemporary issues, even with great standard master works.”
LONJ will host a gala concert, Light Night 2021, on October 29, which will be Tramm’s first concert as the executive director of the organization.
Michael Olson, a sophomore social and behavioral sciences major who plays the trumpet in the orchestra agreed that Tramm will handle his multiple commitments without any problem.
“He does so much already that an additional job would not make a difference,” Olson said. “I think he can balance it.”
Tramm is very proud of getting to set up and perform two virtual concerts in the past academic year, but he does not miss any of the lack of student connections or self-reflections from the professional world that makes his job so special. He described this year as a “rebuilding year” for all musical artists, and that there will be a real resurgence of the arts everywhere in the near future.
“We all need music, and we need to heal,” Tramm said. “Music allows us to touch our feelings and emotions.”