Jessica A. Hunt (b. 1987)

Jessica A. Hunt

Ms. Hunt’s music has been heard from coast to coast, including Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City, broadcast on FM radio and PBS television, recorded on the Pro Organo label, and played in concert by some of today’s finest ensembles and soloists, including the Gaudete Brass Quintet, the Chiara Quartet, the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings, the Calidore Quartet, Fulcrum Point, Ensemble 20+ (Michael Lewanski), the Fear No Music Ensemble, Palomar, Oliver Brewer, Richard Hoskins, Jonathan Ryan, and R. Benjamin Dobey, and in readings by the DePaul Symphony Orchestra conducted by Cliff Colnot and by members of the International Contemporary Ensemble and Dal Niente, among others.

Her work has garnered many honors and awards, including being selected as the Boontling Community Fellow at the Gabriela Lena Frank Academy of Music (2018), serving as the Young-Composer-In-Residence with the Detroit Chamber Winds & Strings (2017-2018), receiving a Ragdale Fellowship Nomination, a Regents Fellowship at the University of Michigan, the Alumni Talent Scholarship at Illinois Wesleyan University, an honorable mention in the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts (NFAA) Recognition and Talent Search, and the William Russo Scholarship for Excellence in Music for four concurrent semesters at Columbia College Chicago; festival appearances including the Chicago Ear Taxi Festival, the Women Composers Festival of Hartford, the Bay View Music Festival, and multiple brass conferences; as well as numerous commissions, including an upcoming work for the Philadelphia Orchestra (2020), The Eagle Tree (2018) for the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, And So I Looked To The River (2018) for the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings, Colloquy (2016), Dragon Call for brass quintet and narrator (2014), Brass Chorales on Advent Themes for brass quintet (2013), anti[syn]thesis for double antiphonal brass quintet (2012), Three Impromptus For Organ and Brass Quintet (2010) (released on the CD “Conversations In Time” on the Pro Organo label), Christmas Suite (2010) and Three Movements for Brass (2008) all commissioned by the Gaudete Brass Quintet, Celebration Columbia for string quartet and jazz ensemble (2009) commissioned by Columbia College Chicago for the 2009 Commencement Ceremonies, and song cycle Songs of Autumn (2007) commissioned by the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City for a celebration of the poet Robinson Jeffers. Other major works include song cycles Parker Poesies and Levi’s 501s (2009), string quartet Astri Orion (2007), Il Capitano e Columbina (2008) a comedic work for chamber orchestra premiered in a reading by the International Contemporary Ensemble, and chamber quintet Nacht ohne Mond (2002) premiered by the Fear No Music Ensemble and broadcast on PBS television and FM classical radio. Theater composition credits include The Breakfast Club Musical (pH Productions), The Mystery of Madam Pearl (CCC), Stafford & Hunt’s Cinderella (CYT Chicago), and Lucid (Diamante Productions).

Ms. Hunt’s primary goal as a composer is to seek emotional resonance in the rhetorical dialogue between herself, the audience, and the performer by creating eclectic works that explore the aural and syntactical intersections between theatre, narrative, sound, truth and fiction. As such, she has a particular focus on works engaging with the interpretation of text. Her current large-scale works in progress include Thurso’s Landing, an opera in two acts based on the epic narrative poem of the same title by Robinson Jeffers, and a series of works for trombone and piano for trombonist Paul Von Hoff which explores the rhetoric, identity and question of “tune.”

In addition to her work as a composer, Ms. Hunt frequently serves as a music director for theatrical productions, specializing in premiering new works and readings, and was the music director and composition coach for the Music Theatre Writer’s Workshop with John Sparks and Midwest New Musicals for that program’s final five years. She teaches voice, piano, music theory, and composition lessons, and also does vocal coaching and audition coaching for actors.

Ms. Hunt was born on a small cattle ranch in the desert mountains of eastern California during a blizzard. Most of her childhood and adolescence were spent in Vancouver, Washington, where she attended the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, studied classical vocal technique at Clark College, and had theatrical training at the Northwest Children’s Theatre in Portland, Oregon. While finishing high school in Bloomington, Illinois, Ms. Hunt studied music composition and theory with Mario Pelusi at Illinois Wesleyan University. She enrolled at IWU in the fall of 2005 as a music composition major with a vocal emphasis, where she also studied composition with David Vayo. She transferred to Columbia College Chicago in the Spring of 2007 to be in a more urban setting, where she studied composition with Ilya Levinson, Rick Baitz, and Philip Seward, and piano performance with Sebastian Huydts before graduating with honors in 2009. After five years of freelancing, she earned her Master of Music degree with distinction from DePaul University in 2016 where she studied with Seung-Won Oh, Christopher Wendell Jones, and Kurt Westerberg. In the fall of 2016 Ms. Hunt was awarded a Regents Fellowship to pursue her doctoral studies at the University of Michigan, where she currently studies with Erik Santos and Kristin Kuster.

Ms. Hunt is a member of both ASCAP and the American Composers Forum.


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