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Jesse Jones granted the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship

The USC School of Music’s assistant professor of composition has been named a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow

Jesse Jones, assistant professor of composition and theory at the University of South Carolina, was awarded the highly competitive Guggenheim Fellowship in the creative arts category for his field of study, music composition.

In its 90th annual competition for the United States and Canada, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded 177 Fellowships to a diverse group of scholars, artists and scientists. Appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise for future accomplishment, the successful candidates were chosen from a group of almost 3,000 applicants.   

The foundation’s Board of Trustees awarded the fellowships after considering the recommendations of panels and juries consisting of hundreds of distinguished artists, scholars, and scientists. The Guggenheim Fellowship program helps provide the opportunity to work with as much creative freedom as possible. No special conditions are attached to the six to 12-month grants, which may be spent in any manner deemed necessary for Fellows’ work.

“I am thrilled and honored by this award, but mostly just surprised and humbled. I’ll be writing a two-act opera on the late Jack London novel, ‘Martin Eden,’ and have high hopes for both the premiere of the work in 2016-17, and a DVD release of the production. I have wanted to write this opera for so many years now, and I feel like the Guggenheim Foundation has afforded the realization of a life-long dream! For this I am immensely grateful.” – Jesse Jones 

Jones’ music has been performed around the world in leading venues, and preeminent ensembles have commissioned and performed his works. Reviewing a performance of his music by the Juilliard String Quartet at Alice Tully Hall, the New York Times praised Jones as “Eloquent in its melancholy, [making] a striking impact in a poised, intense account.” The Los Angeles Times observed, "Jones works in eerie microtones, producing glassy surfaces like a mystically still sonic pond onto which he throws pebbles and generates ripples. He employs sliding tones, fluttering effects, modal melodies and...one hears...hints of Eastern European holy Minimalism. It's an engaging, well-written piece, grit-free."

Among the numerous awards Jones and his music have received are the Elliott Carter Rome Prize in Composition from the American Academy in Rome, the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Heckscher Foundation Prize in Composition, Cornell's Sage Fellowship, a Barlow Endowment Commission, the Peter Tommaney Fellowship of the Tanglewood Music Center, the Susan and Ford Schumann Fellowship of the Aspen Music Festival and School, an Underwood New Music Reading with the American Composers Orchestra, and awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).

Established in 1925 by former U.S. Senator and Mrs. Simon Guggenheim, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has sought from its inception to "add to the educational, literary, artistic and scientific power of this country, and also to provide for the cause of better international understanding," as the Senator explained in his initial Letter of Gift (March 26, 1925). Fellowships are awarded through two annual competitions: one open to citizens and permanent residents of the United States and Canada, and the other open to citizens and permanent residents of Latin America and the Caribbean.