Composer, conductor, and mandolinist Jesse Jones (b. 1978) is an American artist of wide-ranging tastes and influences. His music has been performed extensively across North America, Europe, and Asia. Jones has received numerous accolades as both a composer and performer, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Elliott Carter Rome Prize in Composition from the American Academy in Rome, a Juilliard String Quartet Commission, a Tanglewood Commission, a Barlow Commission, the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, an EarShot New Music Reading with the New York Philharmonic under Alan Gilbert, and a fellowship in Aldeburgh Music’s “Jerwood Opera Writing Programme.” Jones is an alumnus of both the Tanglewood Music Center and the Aspen Music Festival and School, and has received the Heckscher Foundation Prize in Composition from Ithaca College, and the Sage Fellowship from Cornell University. Jones has participated in the Underwood New Music Readings of the American Composers Orchestra, received fellowships and honors from the University of Oregon, and awards from ASCAP. His choral music is published internationally by Earthsongs. In summer 2016, an all-Jones CD is slated to be released by the Freiburg-based Ensemble Recherche, and New York’s Argento Ensemble, with soprano Sharon Harms & tenor Zach Finkelstein.
The American Composers Orchestra, the Spokane Symphony, the Cornell Symphony and Chamber Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, the Oregon Composers Orchestra, the New Frontiers Chamber Orchestra, the Grande Ronde Symphony Orchestra and others have presented Jones’ orchestral works. Others of his compositions have been programmed by the Juilliard String Quartet, the Scharoun Ensemble Berlin, the Italian ensemble Alter Ego, Camerata Notturna, the Argento Chamber Ensemble, the Momenta and iO String Quartets, the New Fromm Players, the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, the Israeli Chamber Project, Ossia, So Percussion, FIREWORKS, and ECCE.
As a performer, Jones was featured, playing his own works, on the nationally broadcast A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor to an estimated live and listening audience of 6 to 10 million. From 2001 to 2005, Jones toured extensively as a vocalist and mandolinist with the genre-busting ensemble String Helix, composing much of the ensemble’s core repertoire. Jones has also been featured on the stages of the Oregon Bach Festival, Wintergrass, the Sister’s Folk Festival, and on public television and radio. Jones performs frequently with bassist Craig Butterfield, a duo whose debut album was released in spring 2015.
Jones holds a DMA in music composition from Cornell University. While there, he studied composition with Steven Stucky, Roberto Sierra, and Kevin Ernste, as well as piano with Xak Bjerken. In 2007, Jones earned his Master’s degree in composition from the University of Oregon, under teachers David Crumb and Robert Kyr, and in 2005 his Bachelor’s degree from Eastern Oregon University, under John McKinnon and Leandro Espinosa. Most recently, Jones has been appointed Assistant Professor of Composition at the Oberlin Conservatory.