Composer, theorist, and software engineer

Jess Hendricks being weird

Jess Hendricks (1972) is a composer, theorist, and software engineer based in New England. His compositions have been described as “exhilarating” and “fun to play.” He continued his music studies at the University of Tennessee (M.M. in Music Composition) and the University of Miami (D.M.A. in Music Composition) after receiving his B.A. in liberal Arts at Western Kentucky University. Recently Dr. Hendricks also received a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts. He is an avid performer on the electric bass, which he composes music for as well. Dr. Hendricks previously worked as an Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Technology at CCSU. Dr. Hendricks is currently a Web Developer at Common Media in Massachusetts while composing in his free time.

Jess with his father in Biloxi.
Jess Hendricks and his father in Biloxi.

Dr. Jess Hendricks was born in the Nashville, Tennessee area on December 5, 1972. His father, who went by the stage name Doyle Holly, was already a noted solo Country Music artist at that time. Jess grew up listening to an eclectic mix of popular music, rock and 70s bands such as Chicago and Yes. He also explored jazz and classical music.

Originally Jess wanted to be a film composer, much like many composers just out of high school. He went to study music at Western Kentucky University, where he received a B.A. in Liberal Arts. Jess studied music composition with Dr. Charles W. Smith and excelled in Music Theory courses. Many of his earliest works were performed here as well. During his undergraduate years (1991-1995) three works were awarded the top prize at the Kentucky Music Teachers National Association awards (1992, 1993, and 1994).

With just a few credits left in his undergraduate degree, Jess moved to Winston-Salem, North Carolina with the intent of finishing his degree via correspondence and attending the North Carolina School of the Arts Film Music program. But life and finances sidetracked this plan with Jess eventually returning to the Nashville, TN area to finish his degree while working as a bartender in the area. While in North Carolina he did compose several works and began to discover a passion for electroacoustic music that would be a foundation of his later works. His Bassoon Concerto was premiered by Jefferson Campbell while he was living in North Carolina, which was his first work for orchestra to be performed.

Jim Diamond and the Groove Syndicate in Italy
Jess, and members of Jim Diamond and the Groove Syndicate performing near Lugano, SZ

In the interim period between completed his undergraduate work and beginning his graduate work, Jess was a member of the blues band Jim Diamond and the Groove Syndicate as their bassist. During his tenure with the group, they toured extensively highlighted by performances at the Chicago Blues Festival and the Blues to Bop festival in Lugano Switzerland. The group also released a live recording of a performance at Stevie Ray’s in Louisville Kentucky, “Live Alive” in 2003.

Jess performing in Knoxville

Jess next attended the University of Tennessee (2005-2007) where he received an M.M. in Music Composition. At U.T. he studied composition with Dr. Ken Jacobs. This time period was very prolific for the composer as he was encouraged to submit his music to many festivals, conferences and competitions. Jess received performances of his music all over the U.S. including San Juan, Puerto Rico; Spartanburg, SC; and others. In 2006 Jess won the Phillip Slates Composition Contest for the Quartet for Woodwinds, opus 7 that was subsequently performed at the Southeaster Composer’s League Annual Forum at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro.

After completing his work at U.T., Jess was accepted to the doctoral program at the University of Miami (2007-2010). During his time at UMiami, Jess studied composition with Dr. Dennis Kam and Dr. Lansing McLoskey. He also studied film music with Dr. Raul Murciano and electroacoustic music composition with Dr. Ferdinando Desena. This was also a prolific time for Dr. Hendricks as we was able to compose music for the many performers at UMiami including the Other Music Ensemble. This period also saw performances at the College Music Society National conference and the premier of the Concertino for Bassoon and Electronics at several venues by Dr. Jefferson Campbell.

Jess and Eric Ewazen

Dr. Jess Hendricks received his D.M.A. in Music Composition in 2010 and immediately sought work as a professor. He served one year as a visiting assistant professor of Music Theory and Technology at Central Connecticut State University. Jess then directed his energy towards adding a skillset and received a B.S in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts in 2015. This is not to say he has not been active in composition. Since receiving his doctorate he has: had performances (Paha Sapa) at the Imani Chamber Winds Music Festival where he had a couple lessons with Eric Ewazen, received a premier of Orpheus by Dr. Jefferson Campbell in Duluth, and is currently working on his third recording to be released in 2019 or 2020 on iTunes, Spotify, and other streaming services.

Awards and Honors

  • 1992 – Winner of the KMTNA Composition Contest with Piano Sonata No. 1, opus 3
  • 1993 – Winner of the KMTNA Composition Contest with String Quartet No. 1, opus 5
  • 1994 – Winner of the KMTNA Composition Contest with Phase II for Solo Clarinet, opus 4
  • 2004 – Finalist of the William Lincer Foundation Composition Competition for String Trio, opus 17
  • 2006 – Winner of the Philip Slates Composition Contest with the Quartet for Woodwinds, opus 7
  • 2013 – Attended the Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival as part of the Emerging Composers program.
Jeff Campbell performing Concertino

Notable Performances

  • 2006 – String Quartet No. 2, op 15 is performed by the Araya Quartet at the Southeastern Composer’s League Conference in Spartanburg, SC
  • 2006 – Lunar Reflections on the Sea, op 33 is performed by the composer and Dr. Charles Brooks at the University of Tennessee Composer’s Concert
  • 2006 – Sat Gamaya, op 32 is performed by the University of Tennessee New Music Ensemble
  • 2007 – Quartet for Winds, opus 7 is performed at the Southeastern Composer’s Forum in Greensboro, NC
  • 2008 – A Fleeting Moment of Contentment is performed by Amy Tarantino at the College Music Society National Conference in Atlanta, GA
  • 2009 – Trio No. 4, opus 55 for horn, piano, and percussion by Amy Tarantino, Richard King, and Feza Zweifel at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL
  • 2012 – Concertino for Bassoon and Electronics is performed by Jefferson Campbell at Symphony Space in New York, NY
  • 2012 – Memento for Solo Violin is performed by Christa Muller Hendricks at the Composer’s Voice Concert in New York, NY
  • 2013 – Orpheus for Bassoon, Percussion, Piano, and fixed media is premiered in Duluth Minnesota by Jefferson Campbell
  • 2013 – Pahá Sápa for Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone and Piano is premiered at the Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival in New York, NY.
  • 2013 – Whispers for Wind Quintet at the PARMA Music Festival in Portsmouth, NH by members of the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra.
  • 2013 – A Short Drive Through the Berkshires by the Firebrand Ensemble in Malden, MA