1989 graduate Jesse Ronneau may have moved across the world, but he still remembers his Immanuel roots. When reminiscing, Jesse said, “So many fond memories: the friends I made there, the high-quality education, the encouragement to be curious and ask questions really led me on my path”. The friendships Jesse made there continue to remain strong, despite the 4400-mile difference.
After moving to Cincinnati, Ohio in high school, he attended a very unique school called The School for Creative and Performing Arts. There Jesse studied Music Composition. While being in the top classes in the basic core subjects, he was also well ahead of the expected level for composing due to Immanuel’s education. Jesse explained, “Mr. Ickstadt came to Immanuel when I was in the seventh grade. He shocked us all in one of our first music classes when he asked us to compose a melody. None of us had ever done so, and were very confused by such an ‘outrageous’ assignment. I went home with the little sheet of music paper he gave us and gave it a try anyway. After a few false starts, a melody began to appear, and then another and then another. I couldn’t believe how fun it was to create music”.Jesse enjoyed it so much, he began coming to Mr. Ickstadt privately to work on composing. His first complete piece was even played during one of the Thursday morning services. Jesse has not stopped composing since.
Jesse’s traveling didn’t stop when he moved to Ohio, his final year of high school was spent as an exchange student in Vienna, which is notorious for classical music. He then attended college at the Universtiy of Cincinnati,, College-Conservatory of Music where he studied composition. He then got his Masters at Roosevelt University in Chicago and his Doctorate in Music Composition in 2006 from Northwestern University. After completing his Doctorate Jesse accepted a job offer in Cork, Ireland to teach. His one-year professorship turned into four years. He then began teaching at the National University of Ireland Maynooth for three years. After becoming Irish citizens in 2013, Jesse and his wife moved to Berlin. He remains there, composing and teaching occasionally to this day.
Just like Jesse, his music has traveled around the globe. Hid Avant-Garde Music has been played in Australia, Thailand, throughout the EU, and occasionally int he States. When explaining what the field of Avant-Grade Music was, Jesse explained, “For those not familiar with this small branch of the Classical music world, most horror film music bears a striking resemblance to older Avant-Garde music”. When discussing what advice he had for any students interested in becoming musicians, he said, “The amount of fascinating, intelligent people you will meet and the tremendous places you will visit are such a treat that it more than makes up for the fact that you probably won’t be a millionaire. And if you do decide to make music your life and livelihood, stick with it and stay curious. It will be rewarding in the end.