Ohio Wesleyan University professor Jennifer Jolley’s musical composition “Prisoner of Conscience,” currently a finalist for a national American Prize in Composition award, will be performed Feb. 21 at the Richard M. Ross Art Museum.
“I am thrilled that a piece I wrote will be performed at Ohio Wesleyan University,” said Jolley, D.M.A., an OWU assistant professor of music. “My works aren’t normally performed on campus, and after years of my colleagues and students asking if I have any upcoming performances nearby, I can finally tell them I have one.”
The composition was inspired by the Russian band Pussy Riot. The all-female group made headlines in 2012 when it performed inside a church, without permission, a song titled “Mother of God, Drive Putin Away.” Two band members later were imprisoned for two years, with Amnesty International calling the women “prisoners of conscience.”
“Prisoner of Conscience” was commissioned by Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, a Chicago-based quartet. The group will perform the piece from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Ross Art Museum, 60 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. The performance, which is free, includes explicit language and adult subject matter.
“I listened to a lot of The Clash, Pussy Riot, and Hildegard von Bingen,” Jolley has said about her inspirations for the choral composition. “I approached this as one of my mashup pieces, emulating some songs in a punk style and some in a chant or motet style.”
Jolley’s creation is a finalist in The American Prize in Composition – Choral competition, professional division. The contest that “recognizes and rewards the best composers in America of works for orchestra, chorus, concert band, chamber ensemble or theater music … that have been read or publicly performed.”
Jolley, who joined the Ohio Wesleyan faculty in 2012, created “Prisoner of Conscience” in collaboration with librettist (lyricist) Kendall A of Cincinnati.
The composition was first performed by Quince in 2015. The ensemble specializes in experimental repertoire and has been described by critics as “a new force of vocal excellence and innovation.” The quartet is comprised of vocalists Elizabeth Pearse (soprano), Kayleigh Butcher (mezzo soprano), Amanda DeBoer Bartlett (soprano), and Carrie Henneman Shaw (soprano). Learn more at www.quince-ensemble.com.
Jolley earned both her Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music degrees at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music and her Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music. At Ohio Wesleyan, she teaches music composition, theory, orchestration, and electronic music.
Learn more about Jolley at www.jenniferjolley.com, more about Ohio Wesleyan’s Department of Music at www.owu.edu/music, and more about the Ross Art Museum at www.owu.edu/ross.