Skip to Content

School of Music

Faculty and Staff

Jesse Jones

Assistant Professor / Composition / Theory
School of Music

Phone: 803-777-1793

School of Music Building, Room 310



The music of composer Jesse Jones (b.1978) has been performed the world over in leading venues such as Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall (New York), the Tanglewood Music Center, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, the Aspen Music Festival and School, San Francisco’s Nourse Theater, El Paso Pro Musica, the Oregon Bach Festival, the Paul Hindemith Foundation (Switzerland), MusicX, the American Academy in Rome (Italy), and the St. Matthäuskirche (Berlin), among others. Leading ensembles have commissioned and performed Jones’ works including the Scharoun Ensemble Berlin (a nonet comprised of musicians from the Berliner Philharmoniker), Alter Ego (Italy), the Argento Chamber Ensemble, the Open End Ensemble, counter)induction, the Pulse Chamber Group, SO Percussion, the New Fromm Players, the Cornell Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble, the Israeli Chamber Project, the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, the Cornell Glee Club and Chorus, New York’s Camerata Notturna, and the iO and Momenta String Quartets. This season, the ever-transcendent Juilliard String Quartet will perform Jones’s 30-minute String Quartet No. 3, a work they commissioned, some 19 times across the United States, Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Prominent instrumental and vocal soloists such as violinist Joseph Lin (Juilliard String Quartet), cellist Jeff Zeigler (Kronos Quartet), Anthony Cheung (Talea Ensemble), Xak Bjerken (Los Angeles Piano Quartet), violinist Philippe Graffin, soprano Sharon Harms, clarinetist Chen Halevi, tenor Zach Finkelstein, and guitarist Kenneth Meyer have commissioned and premiered Jones’ concerti, solo works, and chamber music. Jones’s 18-minute work for large wind ensemble, Through the Veil, has been released with rave reviews on the album Augenblick (Albany Records, 2012).

Jones and his music have received numerous accolades such as 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, the 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, as well as awards from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).

Jones’ works have been featured 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, the Sisters Folk Festival, the Wintergrass Mainstage, and on public television and radio.

Jesse Jones holds a DMA in music composition from Cornell University, where in 2012 he defended his dissertation, Microtonalis: A Systematic Approach to Microtonal Composition, a theoretical treatise on quartertone harmony. While at Cornell, Jones studied composition with Pulitzer-prize-winning composer Steven Stucky, Roberto Sierra, and Kevin Ernste. In 2007, Jones earned his Master’s degree (MM) in composition from the University of Oregon, under teachers David Crumb and Robert Kyr, and in 2005 his Bachelor’s degree (BM) from Eastern Oregon University, under John McKinnon and Leandro Espinosa. Jones is currently Assistant Professor of Composition and Theory at the University of South Carolina, where he co-directs the critically acclaimed new music concert series, Southern Exposure.