Around 1999, while studying composition with James Tenney at York University in Toronto, Jesse became interested in the sonic properties of stone. He began writing pieces that incorporated stones and rocks (some of which are documented on his solo CD Music for Found Objects). He also began building lithophones--instruments made out of stone. The most complex of these is a two octave marimba with marble bars tuned in eighths of a tone (48 tones per octave). Given the size (and weight!) of this instrument, Jesse generally selects certain subsets of pitches to approximate different tuning systems that he uses in original compositions and improvisations.
Click here to read an essay about this instrument's design and construction.
Other Original Instruments
In addition to his stone instruments, Jesse has designed and built experimental percussion instruments out of a variety of materials. These include a glass marimba, a bass marimba (an homage to Harry Partch’s instrument of the same name), a glass udu drum, and others. Here are a few images of some of Jesse’s instruments.