by Mike Telin
For many years, Jesse Jones has led a double musical life. In one, he serves on the composition faculty at the Oberlin Conservatory and has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Rome Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship. His works have been performed by ensembles including the American Composers Orchestra, the Spokane Symphony, the Juilliard String Quartet, the Argento Chamber Ensemble, and Sō Percussion.
In the other life, he is a mandolinist/composer who has appeared on A Prairie Home Companion and performed at the Oregon Bach Festival, Wintergrass, and the Sister’s Folk Festival, and toured with the genre-bending ensemble String Helix. In March of this year, he and his duo partner, bassist Craig Butterfield, released their third album, Eclipse, on Summit Records.
In spite of his success in both lives, Jones has always been reluctant to combine the two. That changed when he was presented with the opportunity to write a new viola concerto.