Stephen Ryan Jackson Commissioned by Mid America Freedom Band

The Mid America Freedom Band has commissioned Stephen Ryan Jackson to compose a new piece scheduled to receive its premiere in the ensemble’s 17th season.
Jackson was unanimously selected by a five-person panel after reviewing the submissions resulting from the Mid America Freedom Band’s Call for Proposals to write the ensemble a new piece for the concert band’s 2019–20 season, “Kyngs and Qweens.”

Submissions were received from a talented pool of composers from across the globe including those from Australia, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Greece, Iran, Israel, Japan, Italy, Poland, and numerous entries from the United States and its territories. Jackson’s new piece for concert band will receive its premiere at the National World War I Museum and Memorial on March 1, 2020.

“Stephen’s strong orchestrations and idiomatic writing support his intent to create ‘indescribable sensations.’ His music captivated our panelists with its immediacy and vivid sonic world which was unlike any of the other submissions we received,” writes Mid America Freedom Band Artistic Director Lee Hartman. “We can’t wait to work with him on this new piece and to share it with our audiences as it will greatly contrast the other programmed pieces.” He adds, “the finalists resulting from this call are all fantastic composers with whom we hope to program in the future. Their proposals and portfolios contain such creativity and wonderful music that this decision to choose just one composer is always a hard one. We encourage other groups to seek out and perform their music.”

This new work will join selections by David Avshalomov, George Butterworth, Johan De Meij, Annie Lennox, and Howard Shore, on “Tolkien and The Great War,” the free, educational concert of the Mid America Freedom Band’s 17th season.

MAFB 2019 Call for Proposals Results

Selected Composer: Stephen Ryan Jackson
Runner-up: Heather Koehn

Finalists (in alphabetical order):
Stephen Vincent Casellas
Nathan Froebe
Joshua Jandreau
Christian Quiñones
Cecil Price Walden

Nathan Brown, trombone, composer
Lee Hartman, MAFB Artistic Director
Kirsten Hoogstraten, tuba, conductor
John J. Pearse, percussion, conductor
Jessica Riggins, saxophone, MAFB Board representative

Olivia Kieffer (The Four Swords)
Louisa Trewartha (Silver Lake)
Justin Raines (CME)
Nicole Murphy (six)
Derek Jenkins (Kolo)

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The music of Boston-based composer and trumpet player, Stephen Ryan Jackson (b.1992) examines and recreates seemingly indescribable sensations. His music often draws inspiration from careful observation of everyday phenomena; stretching, distorting, and reexamining them in order to create works that avoid the concept of narrative and allow audience’s to reevaluate and find beauty in aspects of daily life that they might overlook. Jackson composes in a variety of mediums including works for orchestra, wind ensemble, chamber, and vocal music, often interweaving electronic elements with acoustic instruments. Jackson works extensively as a collaborator, working closely with soloists and chamber ensembles in order to create dialogues between composer, performer, and audience. Among these collaborators are soprano Rose Hegele, flutist Jacob Wright and chamber ensembles Still Life Collective, Elevator Music, Trio Mirage, and Trio Minerva.

Jackson has received commissions from The Choral Project, Hardin-Simmons Concert Band, The Ball State Concert Band and the Texas New Music Ensemble, among others. His music has been featured at the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium, the University of Nebraska Lincoln Chamber Music Festival, the University Nebraska Kearney New Music Festival and has had premiers across the U.S. His current projects include collaborations with Boston-based soprano Rose Hegele on a new work for voice and chamber ensemble, a new work for percussion and electronics written for percussionist Austin Lemmons, as well as a chamber opera based on the diary entries of the infamous Donner Party’s Tamsen Donner.

Jackson is currently pursuing a Masters in Music Composition at New England Conservatory studying with Michael Gandolfi, John Mallia and Katarina Miljkovic. He earned his undergraduate degrees in Music Theory/Composition and Trumpet Performance from Hardin-Simmons University in May 2016, studying composition with Bernard Scherr and Jeffrey Cottrell and trumpet with Leigh-Anne Hunsaker, Mark Wilcox, and Keith Johnson.