Jonathan Bailey Holland

Associate Professor
617 747-2865

"I try to teach things in the most logical way possible. I start with big concepts and then work towards specificity. I think about when I was a student studying the subjects that I now teach and how a lot of it seemed abstract and not really connected to what I was doing. So I try to remain aware of that when I'm teaching. And I also tell the students that what I'm teaching will probably click long after they've left the class, but that it is all relevant to everything that they're doing."

"I want them to leave not as experts in eighteenth-century music but with a sense of how to develop an idea, how to create something organically within some type of structure. Ideally they would understand how to create the structure within which they would then work, but in the limited time that we have together, I think just getting them to the point that they understand that a composition isn't just several bars of random notes, but one idea that's developed throughout, and that from the small details to the overall form it's all the same idea."

"I think a lot of times people think about theory as random rules on how notes have to go together. I'm trying to stress that nothing is random, that everything makes sense from point A to point Z, and that everything at point A is the same as everything at point Z, just on a smaller scale. If you look at one phrase of music, everything that happens in that phrase is similar to what happens over the course of the entire piece. And everything that goes into each chord within the phrase is related to the shape of the entire phrase. I think a lot of times, especially in theory classes, you just look at the details endlessly and you lose track of what the whole piece is about. I try to keep a balance as much as possible."

Career Highlights
  • B.M., Curtis Institute of Music
  • Ph.D., Harvard University
  • Commissions from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, and the Philadelphia Orchestra
  • Works performed by ALEA III, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Ritz Chamber Players, and the San Antonio Symphony
  • Works published by Theodore Presser and Gentry Publications
  • Recipient of the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as awards from ASCAP, the American Music Center, and others
  • Recorded Ellington and the Modern Masters with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra