“I am as influenced by contemporary classical music as I am by jazz, rap, r&b, neosoul, and all other good music. I am fascinated by color, both visually and aurally. I strive to communicate with my music. I do not embrace one single style for all of my compositions. I aspire to have a recognizable voice.”
Commissions & Performances
Composer Jonathan Bailey Holland’s works have been performed and commissioned by numerous performing organizations. Highlights include:
• ChiScape, a collaborative work, commissioned by the Chicago Sinfonietta, celebrating many of Chicago’s iconic buildings
• The Party Starter, commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony in celebration of Paavo Järvi’s 10th season as Music Director, and WGUC’s 50th Anniversary
• Primary Movements, a ballet commissioned by the Dallas Symphony and the Dallas Black Dance Theater in celebration of DBDT’s 30th Anniversary
• Halcyon Sun, commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, in celebration of the opening of the Freedom Center National Underground Railroad Museum
• Motor City Dance Mix, commissioned by the Detroit Symphony, in celebration of the opening of the Max M. Fischer Music Center
• Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock, commissioned by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, for their educational concert series
• Signals, commissioned by the National Symphony in honor of the 25th Anniversary of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
• Summer Frenzy, commissioned by the Minnesota Orchestra for their Viennese Sommerfest
• House of Dreams, commissioned by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, in memory of James Rouse
These works and others have also been performed by the Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago Civic, Chicago Youth, Cleveland, Richmond and San Antonio Symphony Orchestras, the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Florida Philharmonic, Greater Twin Cities Youth Orchestras, Alea III, Auros Group for New Music, Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia (currently Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia), Orchestra 2001, Orchestra Society of Philadelphia, and soloists Ignat Solzhenitsyn, Demarre McGill and others. JBH has worked with such conductors as Robert Spano, Roger Norrington, Neeme Jarvi, Paavo Jarvi, Michael Morgan, Leslie Dunner and Davis Zinman, among others.
Background & Education
Originally from Flint, MI, JBH began studying composition while a student at the Interlochen Arts Academy, where he received a school-wide award for his very first composition. Upon graduation from Interlochen, he continued his composition studies with Ned Rorem at the Curtis Institute of Music, where he received a Bachelor of Music degree. He went on to receive a Ph.D. in Music from Harvard University, where his primary teachers were Bernard Rands and Mario Davidovsky. He has also studied with Andrew Imbrie, Yehudi Wyner, Robert Saxton and Robert Sirota. Currently, he is Associate Professor of Composition at the Berklee College of Music, and a founding faculty member in the Low Residency MFA in Music Composition program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Compositions for Youth/Family/Educational Concerts
An advocate for music education, JBH has written several works for educational concerts, and has given lectures and presentations at over 50 institutions. His composition It’s About Time, which introduces the audience to the idea of musical meter, was commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra, in consortium with the Cleveland Orchestra and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, specifically for their youth concerts. Four Sections, was commissioned by South Bend Symphony Orchestra, and features each section of the orchestra. He has also written educational works for the Baltimore Symphony and WAMSO – the Volunteer Association of the Minnesota Orchestra.
JBH served as composer-in-residence with the Boston-based Radius Ensemble for the 2008-2009 season. He was the Ritz Chamber Players Composer-in-Residence for the 2006-2007 season. The RCP premiered and perform several of Holland’s compositions on various concerts in Jacksonville, Miami, Baltimore, etc. In March of 2003, Holland served as composer-in-residence with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra, as part of the Music Alive program sponsored by Meet the Composer and the American Symphony Orchestra League. He has also been composer-in-residence with the Plymouth Music Series of Minnesota (currently Vocal Essence) as part of their WITNESS program, and with the Detroit Symphony, through the Unisys African-American Composer Residency and National Symposium program, which included the premiere of his composition Fanfares and Flourishes on an Ostinato.
Awards & Honors
JBH is a two time winner of the Indianapolis Symphony’s Marian K. Glick Young Composer’s Showcase, which led to performances of his compositions Martha’s Waltz and Summer Frenzy. He has received the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and was a two-time finalist for an Artist Grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. He has received several Composer Assistance Grants from the American Music Center, as well as other awards from ASCAP, the Presser Foundation, Boston Conservatory, Austin Peay State University, and Harvard University. His composition Visit to St. Elizabeth’s was awarded first prize in the treble division of the Roger Wagner Contemporary Choral Composition Competition.
Recent & Upcoming Projects
Recent highlights include performances of Motor City Dance Mix by the Bryan Symphony; the premiere of Tracing Lines by the Radius Ensemble, commissioned with support from Free for All concert fund; a new work for pianist Sarah Bob; and the release of the album American Portraits, which features the Halcyon Sun, performed by the Cincinnati Symphony.