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Jonathan Bailey Holland named dean of the Bienen School of Music

Experienced educator and award-winning composer joins Northwestern this fall
Jonathan Bailey Holland
Jonathan Bailey Holland has more than 20 years of leadership experience in music education and is an award-winning and prolific composer.

Jonathan Bailey Holland has been named dean of the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University, effective Sept. 1. 

He currently is the Jack G. Buncher Head of the Carnegie Mellon University School of Music.

Holland has more than 20 years of leadership experience in music education and is an award-winning and prolific composer. He will succeed Toni-Marie Montgomery, who will step down at the end of August following two decades as dean at the Bienen School.

“I look forward to joining the passionate and committed artists and scholars of the Bienen School of Music. The school has maintained a highly respected position of prominence in the field for many years,” said Holland, who also will become the Kay Davis Professor of Music. “Its dedicated and uniquely talented students and faculty, impressive facilities, broad range of performance opportunities and connection to the broader University make it a unique and exciting community to join at this moment in time.”

Prior to Carnegie Mellon, Holland rose from assistant professor to full professor of composition at Berklee College of Music before joining the faculty at Boston Conservatory and ultimately being appointed chair of composition, contemporary music and core studies at the merged Boston Conservatory at Berklee. He previously served on the faculty of Vermont College of Fine Arts, where he helped establish the low-residency MFA program in music composition, one of the first of its kind.

“Jonathan Bailey Holland is an acclaimed artist and dynamic leader who possesses the collaborative spirit and commitment to excellence that define the Bienen School of Music,” Northwestern Provost Kathleen Hagerty said. “We are delighted to welcome Jonathan to Northwestern.”

Holland’s music has been commissioned and performed by orchestras and leading contemporary ensembles nationally and internationally, including the Cincinnati, Dallas, Detroit and National Symphony Orchestras, Eighth Blackbird, Awadagin Pratt, Roomful of Teeth, the BBC Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Odyssey Opera, Orchestra 2001, the Westerlies and many others.

He has received honors from the Guggenheim Foundation, The Boston Foundation, Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University, American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the Presser Foundation and others.

Holland has been a strong advocate of music education throughout his career. He has served on the composition faculty of the Curtis Summerfest Young Artist Program, the Sphinx Performance Academy and was a guest faculty member at the Composer’s Institute of the Lake George Music Festival. He also worked on the development of advanced placement music theory examinations and co-led professional development seminars for music theory teachers. 

“The Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music is renowned for its conservatory-level training and scholarship, and for producing some of the world’s great musical performers,” President Michael Schill said. “I look forward to working with Jonathan Bailey Holland to further elevate the prominence of this great school in the Chicago area and on the international stage.”

In addition to lecturing and presenting at more than 50 schools throughout the U.S., Holland has written several commissioned works to introduce young audiences to orchestral music.

“The Bienen School has displayed a commitment to widening the lens through which we define the art form and is well-positioned to continue this necessary work as we move toward a future that demands excellence, creativity, tenacity and compassion,” Holland said.

Holland earned a Ph.D. in music from Harvard University, and he received a bachelor’s in music from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied composition with Bienen School alumnus Ned Rorem (’44, ’77H).

A native of Flint, Mich., he serves on the board of the American Composers Orchestra and is an artistic advisor for New Music USA.

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