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Jennifer Jolley

Columbus, OH            

Composer Jennifer Jolley’s diverse catalog includes choral, orchestral, wind ensemble, chamber, and electronic works. She has been commissioned by ensembles and institutions across the United States, including the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, University of Texas at Austin, Bowling Green State University, Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, The Canales Project, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, and the University of Cincinnati, among others. She is Assistant Professor of Music at Ohio Wesleyan University.

In recent years, Jennifer has been increasingly drawn toward subjects that are political and even provocative. Her 2015 collaboration with librettist Kendall A, Prisoner of Conscience, sets to music statements made by the Russian punk-rock band Pussy Riot as they stood trial in Moscow for “hooliganism” and “religious hatred.” Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble has performed the piece widely and will release a recording in Spring 2018. Jennifer’s 2017 piece The Eyes of the World Are Upon You, commissioned by the University of Texas at Austin Wind Ensemble, reflects on the first-ever campus shooting in America, which took place at UT-Austin in 1966.  

Jennifer’s blog—on which she has catalogued more than 100 rejection letters from competitions, festivals, and prizes—is widely read and admired by professional musicians. She is particularly passionate about this project as a composition teacher, and enjoys removing the taboo around “failure” for her students. In addition to her professorship at Ohio Wesleyan, she is a member of the composition faculty at Interlochen Arts Camp. 

Jennifer deeply values the relationship that is created between composers and the communities with whom they collaborate. She has been composer-in-residence at Brevard College, University of Toledo, and the Vermont Symphony, and will be in-residence at the Alba Music Festival in Italy in 2018.  

Jennifer Jolley has been a finalist for the American Prize (Choral Division) and the Symphony Number One Call for Scores. She holds degrees from the University of Southern California and the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where her principal teachers included Stephen Hartke, Frank Ticheli, Michael Fiday, Joel Hoffman, and Douglas Knehans.

Jennifer’s works are distributed through ADJ*ective New Music.

Photo credit: Tina Gutierrez

August 2017

Articles by Jennifer Jolley:

Articles February 26 2018 | By Jennifer Jolley
(Okay Ladies Now Let’s Get) In Formation

If we creators are present and attuned to what is happening, we as global citizens will speak up via our music for what is right and just. If you are...

Articles February 20 2018 | By Jennifer Jolley
How It Happened (said John Cage): A Moment of Silence

Are all of our artistic offerings political in nature? When a composer writes a piece that is of its time and moment, is it a commentary on the current state...

Articles February 12 2018 | By Jennifer Jolley
A Thousand Thoughts

When things get rough, depressing, or downright heartbreaking, we’re still supposed to make music, right? Jennifer Jolley continues her exploration of where and how music and politics best intersect and...

Articles February 5 2018 | By Jennifer Jolley
All the Rage: When Is Music a Political Action

The social and political turmoil that accompanied the beginning of the 21st century led Jennifer Jolley to repeatedly question her career choices. But she came to understand where her music...

Articles April 24 2014 | By Jennifer Jolley
So You Want To Start An Opera Company…

You and your librettist (and co-collaborator for most artistic things in your life) decide that the way around the non-performances and non-workshops of your work is to create a small...

Articles April 17 2014 | By Jennifer Jolley
So You Want To Write An Opera….

I admit I attempted composing for opera long ago as an undergraduate. I remember seeing the Los Angeles Opera’s production of Billy Budd in the late '90s and then seeing...

Articles April 10 2014 | By Jennifer Jolley
When Life Throws You Cincinnati, Redefine Chili

When I suggest to undergrads that they should take what is now called a “gap year,” the first question they blurt out is, “What will I do?” “Get a job,”...

Articles April 3 2014 | By Jennifer Jolley
Cataloging the Fail: A Cathartic Scrapbook

Lately I’ve been reflecting more and more on how I’ve dealt with rejections and supposed failure as a young composer. Because I now teach at a small liberal arts college,...