Jenny Johnson

Jenny Olivia Johnson
(781) 283-2078
B.A., Barnard College; M.M., Manhattan School of Music; Ph.D., New York University
JAC 220

Jenny Olivia Johnson

Associate Professor of Music

Composer, sound artist, and music scholar.

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Music, where I teach courses in music composition, digital audio, and critical theories of sound. My research interests include sound synaesthesia, memory, traumatic experiences, and the intersection of art and scholarship. I also build sound installations, and am about to release a debut solo album of electroacoustic songs titled DONT LOOK BACK (Innova Recordings, September 2015).

My music has been described as “gorgeous, ominous, and hypnotic” by the Boston Globe, “stunning in its simplicity and power” by the Boston Musical Intelligencer, “delicate” and “bold” by Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times, “deeply moving and beautiful” by Brian Rosen of, and “iridescent, shimmering, and evocative” by Steve Smith of Time Out New York. My first installation work, GLASS HEART (BELLS FOR SYLVIA PLATH) (2013), was commissioned by the Davis Museum at Wellesley College, and will next appear at the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution, as part of the One Life series profile of Sylvia Plath (June 2017-May 2018).

My academic work, which focuses on musical synaesthesia, acoustic memory, and childhood trauma, has been published in The Transcultural Music Review and the academic journal Women & Music. I also have a collaborative article (with Michael Maizels) upcoming in PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art (MIT).

My honors and awards include a New Music USA Project Grant (2015), the NYU Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship (2008-09), an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award (2006), a Metlife Creative Connections Award from New Music USA (2011), two CAP grants from the American Music Center (2006, 2007), the Prix de Composition from the Conservatoire Americain de Fontainebleau (2004), and an Honorable Mention for the 2007 Lise Waxer Prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology. I have held artist residencies at the Atlantic Center for the Arts (2005, 2008) and the Banff Centre for the Arts (2008), and was also a finalist for the 2008 Gaudeamus Prize.

My work has been performed by such ensembles as The Industry, Wild Up, Wild Rumpus, Avant New Media, BMOP (Boston Modern Orchestra Project), Rhymes With Opera, ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble), Alarm Will Sound, the Asko|Schoenberg Ensemble, Ensemble Robot, Bang on a Can, the Arditti Quartet, orkest de ereprijs, Voices of Change, the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, and New York City Opera.

I am also a drummer, most recently active with Winter Company (a laptop/percussion duo with composer Paula Matthusen), and indie rock band Renminbi. I am also in the process of starting a dark electro-pop feminist band, tentatively called Teenage Shark.

Link to Personal Page

Don't Look Back (Innova Recordings)

Don't Look Back (NewMusic USA Projects)

And (Parlour Tapes)

Glass Heart (Bells for Sylvia Plath)