Carnegie Mellon University
May 04, 2022

CMU School of Music Welcomes New Head, Jonathan Bailey Holland

Pam Wigley
  • College of Fine Arts
Dan Fernandez
  • School of Music

Jonathan Bailey Holland will join Carnegie Mellon University as the Jack G. Buncher Chair and new head of the School of Music beginning Aug. 1. Most recently, Holland served as chair of composition, contemporary music and core studies at Boston Conservatory at Berklee, a position he has held since 2016 in addition to serving as professor of composition.

After earning his bachelor's degree in composition from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Holland earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University.

His educational, academic and professional experience spans public and private institutions; world-class conservatory and university training; and urban music college and conservatory instruction — all of which have helped to shape his vision of the necessary elements to nurture artistic acumen and proficiency.

Holland joined Berklee College of Music in 2000 as assistant professor of composition, later being named associate professor and full professor there, serving on various committees and contributing to curriculum review initiatives. From 2005 to 2017, he worked with the Educational Testing Service in Ewing, N.J. on the development of advanced placement music theory examinations and co-lead professional development seminars for music theory teachers. In 2016, he became part of the Curtis Summerfest Young Artist Summer Program faculty and in 2021 served as the Institute's Sphinx Performance Academy Composition faculty. That same year, he was a guest faculty member at the Composer's Institute of the Lake George Music Festival. Holland also served on the faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts where he helped to establish a low-residency MFA program in music composition — one of the first of its kind.

An acclaimed composer, Holland has been commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra, the American Guild of Organists and Arx Duo, and his work has been performed by such artists and ensembles as the LA Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Eighth Blackbird, as well as Awadagin Pratt and Roomful of Teeth. He served as the first ever composer-in-residence with the Cincinnati Symphony, which included curating a concert at the National Freedom Center Underground Railroad Museum, and leading a young composers competition. Recent honors and awards include a Brother Thomas Fellowship from The Boston Foundation, an Artist Fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and a Fromm Commission from the Fromm Foundation at Harvard. He is the recipient of a just-announced 2022 Guggenheim Music Fellowship and will serve as an artist-in-residence at Civitella Ranieri in Italy during summer 2023.

He believes that one of the most important aspects of his role as the new head of the CMU School of Music will be to continue his history of fostering a sense of community among various areas of study within the school. His plans also include curriculum and program development, and a continued commitment to school- and college-wide initiatives centered on diversity, equity and inclusion.

"I look forward to continuing and expanding the opportunities available within and beyond the Carnegie Mellon School of Music," Holland said. "The future of our field is evolving at an ever-increasing rate of speed, and today's students need to be equipped with the skills and knowledge to be agile and adaptable to the ways in which music is made and experienced, while remaining rooted in the foundations of the artform. Carnegie Mellon is uniquely equipped to achieve these goals, and I am excited to help lead the school into its next chapter."

"Jonathan Bailey Holland is a celebrated creator of new music, a devoted and inspiring teacher, and a leader known for building community," said Mary Ellen Poole, dean of the College of Fine Arts at CMU. "We are in very good hands for the adventures ahead."

Poole also extended her thanks to the search committee members and the School of Music's Student Advisory Board for their tireless work, which culminated in Holland's appointment.

"We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the search advisory committee, chaired by our unflappable and persistent Senior Associate Dean Eric Anderson, and ably supported by Sharon Guberman," she said. "Members were Frederic Chiu, Daniel Nesta Curtis, Thomas Douglas, Jocelyn Dueck, Ross Garin, Megan Grady, Micah Howard, Annie Hui-Hsin Hsieh, Lance LaDuke, Stephen Neely and Alexa Woloshyn."

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