Jonathan Bailey Holland

Jonathan Bailey Holland (b. 1974), a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music (BM) and Harvard University (PhD), currently serves as the Chair of Composition, Contemporary Music, and Core Studies at Boston Conservatory at Berklee.

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    Jonathan Bailey Holland was born in Flint, Michigan in 1974. He attended the Interlochen Arts Academy where he first began studying composition. Upon graduating from Interlochen, Holland entered the Bachelor of Music program at the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied composition under Ned Rorem. In 2000, he received a Ph.D. in Music from Harvard University, where he studied with Bernard Rands, Mario Davidovsky, Andrew Imbrie, and Yehudi Wyner. 

    Holland is a two-time winner of the Indianapolis Symphony’s Marian K. Flick Young Composer’s Showcase in 1997 and 1999. He also received the prestigious Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1995. He has won multiple other awards in composition from ASCAP, Harvard University, Boston Conservatory, and Austin Peay State University. In 2015, he was a recipient of a Fromm Foundation Commission from Harvard University. In 2019, he was granted a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship. Most recently, Holland was a winner of the 2021 Live Arts Boston award from the Boston Foundation.

    Holland’s compositional voice has also contributed greatly to the way in which the performing arts is used as a medium for social change and racial justice. In 2003, his work Halcyon Sun was commissioned to celebrate the opening of the Freedom Center National Underground Railroad Museum. His work Synchrony, written for violin, cello, oboe, bassoon, and piano, was commissioned by the Radius Ensemble and underlines the struggles of Black America under police brutality and systemic oppression, specifically during the nation’s first Black presidency. Currently, he is composing a new opera that endeavors to illustrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on his journey to the national spotlight in the 1950s and 60s. The opera is commissioned by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project.

    Holland’s significant compositional output is frequently displayed by some of the world’s leading orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Detroit Symphony. In recent seasons, his works including The Party Starter, Sonata Variation, Shards of Serenity, The Clarity of Cold Air, and His House is Not of this Land have been commissioned, premiered, and/or performed by some of America’s most prestigious orchestras, chamber ensembles, and concert artists. He has collaborated with conductors such as Leonard Slatkin, Robert Spano, Paavo Järvi, and Louis Langrée among others. In 2019, Holland worked as the Classical Roots Composer-in-Residence at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

    As a music educator, several of Holland’s compositions are tailored towards educational and youth concerts. He is an active lecturer and presenter across the nation’s public schools and institutions, and has collaborated with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra in the development of their youth concert programs. Other educational collaborations include commissions by the Baltimore Symphony and the Volunteer Association of the Minnesota Orchestra.

    Jonathan Bailey Holland joined the faculty at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee in 2014, where he currently serves as the Chair of Composition, Contemporary Music, and Core Studies. 

    Helen Bryant

    This profile was created in 2022 as part of the Song of America Fellowship Program, a project of the Classic Song Research Initiative between the Hampsong Foundation and the University of Michigan, School of Music, Theatre, and Dance.


    Further Reading: 

    -“Jonathan Bailey Holland”. 2022. Jonathan Bailey Holland.

    -McFarland Flint, Jennifer. 2022. “A Composed Response”. Harvardmagazine.Com.


    Related Information



    Soul and Reconciliation

    (Maria Thompson Corley, Jonathan Bailey Holland, James Lee III, Zenobia Powell Perry, Rosephanye Powell, Dave Ragland and Richard Thompson)


    View recording

    An Anthology of African and African Diaspora Songs

    (H. Leslie Adams, David N. Baker, Margaret Bonds, Charles Samuel Brown, Henry T. Burleigh, Valerie Capers, Harriette Davison Watkins, Adolphus C. Hailstork, Jonathan Bailey Holland, Undine Smith Moore, Camille Nickerson, Robert Owens, Zenobia Powell Perry, Florence Price, Rosephanye Powell, Dave Ragland, Hale Smith, Irene Britton Smith and Brandon J Spencer)


    View recording

    Sheet Music

    An Anthology of African and African Diaspora Songs - 60 Songs

    Composer(s): H. Leslie Adams, David N. Baker, Margaret Bonds, Charles Brown, H. T. Burleigh, Valerie Capers, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Arthur Cunningham, Harriette Davison Watkins, William Dawson, Mark Fax, Bruce Forsythe, Antônio Carlos Gomes, Adolphus Hailstork, Jacqueline Hairston, Maud Cuney Hare, Jeraldine Herbison, Jonathan Holland, Sylvia Hollifield, Langston Hughes, J. Rosamond Johnson, Thomas Kerr, Lena McLin, Undine Smith Moore, Andre Myers, Camille Nickerson, Fred Onovwerosuoke, Eurydice Osterman, Robert Owens, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Zenobia Powell Perry, Rosephanye Powell, Florence Price, Dave Ragland, Nadine Shanti, Carlos Simon, Hale Smith, Irene Britton Smith, Brandon Spencer, Hilbert Stewart, Howard Swanson, George Walker, Aurelia Young

    Song(s): Amazing Grace (H. Leslie Adams)
    Christmas Lullaby (H. Leslie Adams)
    Sence You Went Away (H. Leslie Adams)
    The Heart of a Woman (H. Leslie Adams)
    The Alarm Clock (David N. Baker)
    The Negro Speaks of Rivers (Margaret Bonds)
    Caring (Charles Brown)
    Desire (Charles Brown)
    Your Eyes So Deep (H. T. Burleigh)
    Your Lips Are Wine (H. T. Burleigh)
    Autumn (Valerie Capers)
    Elëanore (Samuel Coleridge-Taylor)
    The Willow Song (Samuel Coleridge-Taylor)
    Minakesh (Arthur Cunningham)
    Stars (Harriette Davison Watkins)
    Out in the Fields (William Dawson)
    The Refused (Mark Fax)
    With Rue My Heart Is Laden (Bruce Forsythe)
    Suspiro d’alma (Antônio Carlos Gomes)
    If I Can Stop One Heart from Breaking (Adolphus Hailstork)
    Longing (Adolphus Hailstork)
    Loveliest of Trees (Adolphus Hailstork)
    Dormi, Jesu (Jacqueline Hairston)
    Gardé Piti Mulet Là (Maud Cuney Hare)
    I’ll Not Forget (Jeraldine Herbison)
    Little Elegy (Jonathan Holland)
    In Time of Silver Rain (Sylvia Hollifield)
    The Founding Fathers (Langston Hughes)
    This is My Land (Langston Hughes)
    L’il Gal (J. Rosamond Johnson)
    Soliloquy (Thomas Kerr)
    Amazing Grace (Lena McLin)
    The Year’s at the Spring (Lena McLin)
    I Am in Doubt (Undine Smith Moore)
    I Want to Die While You Love Me (Undine Smith Moore)
    For a Poet (Andre Myers)
    Chere, Mo Lemmé Toi (Camille Nickerson)
    Gué, Gué, Solingaie (Camille Nickerson)
    Mshila (Fred Onovwerosuoke)
    Entreaty (I Am the Rose of Sharon) (Eurydice Osterman)
    Could I but Ride Indefinite (Robert Owens)
    Die Nacht (Robert Owens)
    From the Dark Tower (Robert Owens)
    The Lynching (Robert Owens)
    The Secret (Robert Owens)
    Madrigal (Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson)
    O Children of Men (Zenobia Powell Perry)
    I Want to Die While You Love Me (Rosephanye Powell)
    Spring (Florence Price)
    The Sum (Florence Price)
    Martin Luther King, Jr. (Dave Ragland)
    Mangez, Boulez (Eat, Drink, Be Merry) (Nadine Shanti)
    Prayer (Carlos Simon)
    Troubled Woman (Hale Smith)
    Why Fades a Dream? (Irene Britton Smith)
    Dream Variations (Brandon Spencer)
    Spring Song (Hilbert Stewart)
    One Day (Howard Swanson)
    I Went to Heaven (George Walker)
    Norris Swamp (Aurelia Young)

    Voice Type: 36 Songs are for High Voice - Medium to High Voice
    24 Songs are for Medium - Medium to Low Voice

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