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Jonathan Bailey Holland

About this Artist

Originally from Flint, MI, composer Jonathan Bailey Holland (b. 1974) began studying composition while a student at the Interlochen Arts Academy, where he received a school-wide award for his very first composition. He continued his studies with Ned Rorem at the Curtis Institute of Music, where he earned 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. Currently the Jack G. Buncher Head of the School of Music at Carnegie Mellon University, he was recently named Dean of the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University. He has served as Chair of Composition, Contemporary Music, and Core Studies at Boston Conservatory at Berklee, and he was a Founding Faculty member in the MFA program in Music Composition at Vermont College of Fine Arts, where he also served as Faculty Chair from 2016 until 2019.

Holland’s works have been performed and commissioned by numerous organizations, both nationally and internationally. Highlights include five works commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (Ode, premiered during the 2018/19 season, when Holland served as composer-in-residence; Stories from Home, commissioned to celebrate the reopening of Music Hall in 2018; and Halcyon Sun, commissioned to celebrate the opening of the Freedom Center National Underground Railroad Museum); El Jaleo, commissioned by the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and premiered by the Phoenix chamber orchestra; Primary Movements, a ballet commissioned by the Dallas Symphony and the Dallas Black Dance Theater; Motor City Dance Mix, commissioned by the Detroit Symphony in celebration of the opening of the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center; Signals, commissioned by the National Symphony in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; House of Dreams, commissioned by the Enterprise Foundation for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in memory of the Foundation’s founder James Rouse, and many more. 

Holland served as 2019 Classical Roots Composer-in-Residence with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, where he was mentor composer for the American Composers Orchestra’s EARSHOT Readings with the Detroit Symphony. He has also served as composer-in-residence with Boston’s Radius Ensemble, the Jacksonville, FL-based Ritz Chamber Players, and with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra, through the Music Alive program, sponsored by Meet the Composer and the American Symphony Orchestra League (now known as the League of American Orchestras). During this residency, the orchestra premiered two of his compositions, including Four Sections and Actions Rendered: Interpretations of Pollock for Three Orchestras. He has previously held residencies with the Plymouth Music Series of Minnesota (now known as VocalEssence) as part of its 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, later recorded by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and released on its private label.

He has received awards and honors from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Boston Foundation, Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Massachusetts Cultural Council, Fromm Foundation at Harvard University, American Academy of Arts and Letters, American Music Center, ASCAP, the Presser Foundation, and others. He was 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. His composition Visit to St. Elizabeth was awarded first prize in the treble division of the 2003 Roger Wagner Contemporary Choral Composition Competition and is published by Gentry Publications.

A strong advocate for music education, Holland has written works for educational concerts and has given lectures and presentations at over 50 schools and other public institutions. In 1995, his composition It’s About Time was commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra, in consortium with the Cleveland Orchestra and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, specifically for their youth concerts. Additionally, Holland has written educational works for the Baltimore Symphony and WAMSO–the Volunteer Association of the Minnesota Orchestra.