Mississippi Writers and Musicians

Samuel Jones Sam Jones, Mississippi musician

Samuel Jones is a Mississippi-born composer, conductor, and music educator. He was born in Indianola, Mississippi, and grew up there and in Jackson.  He graduated from Millsaps College, in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1957, and received his M.A. and Ph.D. in composition from Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester. He became conductor of several small American orchestras and then  became the conductor of the Rochester Philharmonic. Jones  founded a  new music school and served for six years as its first dean (Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music).  He has continued to compose and now has a vital and active catalogue of works. After becoming Professor Emeritus of Composition and Conducting at Rice University in 1997, he is now living in the Seattle area and has been appointed Composer in Residence of the Seattle Symphony. 

Jones is the composer of The Shoe Bird, a work  based on the fable by the famous author Eudora Welty is a work for children's choir, orchestra, and narrator.  This work was commissioned by the Mississippi Boys Choir and premiered at the University of Southern Mississippi, on March 21, 2002.

Samuel Jones is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes for his compositions, including a Ford Foundation Recording/Publication Award, a Martha Baird Rockefeller Grant, NEA grants, repeated ASCAP awards and the 1986 and 1991 Music Awards from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters. Such orchestras as the Philadelphia, Detroit, Houston, Cincinnati, the Rochester Philharmonic and scores of others, have performed his works. His music has been commissioned by, among others, the Houston Symphony, the American Symphony Orchestra League and the Amarillo Symphony.

His compositions include three symphonies and many other orchestra works, as well as works for chorus and orchestra, opera and chamber groups. His music is published by Carl Fischer, Inc., and Campanile Music Press. In 1992 his Symphony No.3, “Palo Duro Canyon” was premiered by the Amarillo Symphony in the Pioneer Amphitheatre in Palo Duro Canyon State Park. The work was commissioned by the Amarillo Symphony and since its premiere has been performed again in their 70th anniversary season in 1995. The KACV-TV documentary of this project has aired in over 150 cities across America.

The Amarillo Symphony’s 1999-2000 season featured another commission, a work called  “Roundings: Musings and Meditations on Texas New Deal Murals.” Each movement of the suite received its world premiere on one of the Symphony’s monthly subscription concerts, with the work being heard in its entirety at the final concert of the year. KACV-TV has produced another documentary, which first aired in August 2000. Naxos has released a CD of Roundings and Jones' Sonata for Cello and Piano (Naxos 8.559079).

Samuel Jones remains an important American composer and former conductor.





Last updated in 2003
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