Samuel Jones was a guest of famed Interlochen Arts Camp this summer (August 1, 2004) when their top ensemble, the World Youth Orchestra, performed his A Symphonic Requiem (Variations on a Theme of Howard Hanson) under the direction of Gerard Schwarz. Based on Hanson’s celebrated Interlochen Theme (the main theme of his “Romantic” Symphony), this work received an incandescent performance from Schwarz and his gifted young colleagues and a standing ovation from the large audience.

Mr. Jones is currently in his ninth season as the Composer in Residence of the Seattle Symphony. He was recently elected to serve a three-year term on the Board of Directors of the orchestra.

At present he is writing a new work for the Seattle Symphony, a concerto for principal tuba Christopher Olka. As a measure of the respect with which he is held by the musicians, he has been asked by four others of the Symphony’s principal players to compose concerti for them.

A celebratory week-end of performances of the music of Samuel Jones is scheduled for February 10-13, 2005 at the Shepherd School of Music of Rice University, the school that Jones founded and established in 1975 and which he served as a faculty member for almost a quarter century. Planned to commemorate the season of Jones’ 70th birthday (June 2, 1935), the event will include performances of two of his orchestral works (Janus and Machines), conducted by Larry Rachleff, and an evening of his chamber music performed by Shepherd School faculty and student groups.

In addition to serving as the Seattle Symphony’s Composer in Residence, Samuel Jones was recently named a Music Alive Composer in Residence for the 2003-04 season by Meet The Composer and the American Symphony Orchestra League. Mr. Jones’ residency took place with the Meridian Symphony and comprised three weeks throughout the season. The orchestra performed several major works by Jones, including his symphonic suite Roundings, his oratorio The Temptation of Jesus, and his new overture Chorale-Overture for Organ and Orchestra, all under the direction of Music Director Claire Fox Hillard.

Samuel Jones was honored at the 2004 Annual Conference of the Conductors Guild held at Seattle on January 8-11 by the presentation of a special session devoted to his orchestral music. Chaired by David Daniels (author of Orchestral Music and Conductor of The Warren Symphony), the session also included presentations by John Guthmiller (Chair of the Music Department of Virginia Commonwealth University and Conductor of the Commonwealth Singers), Steven Lowe (Public Information Specialist with the Seattle Symphony), and Anthony Spain (Conductor of the Northwest Symphony and the Bainbridge Chorale). All of Jones’ orchestral music was covered, with special emphasis on Symphony No. 3 (Palo Duro Canyon), Janus, A Symphonic Requiem (Variations on a Theme of Howard Hanson), The Seas of God, The Temptation of Jesus, and Canticles of Time (Symphony No. 2).

Mr. Jones received the 2002 Artistic Recognition Award recently from the Seattle Symphony. Previous winners of this award have been David Diamond, Stephen Albert, and Bright Sheng. He is also the recipient of the 2003 Music Award from the Mississippi Institute for Arts and Letters for the creation of Eudora's Fable: The Shoe Bird — the third time Mr. Jones has received this award.

Newly-commissioned to celebrate the Seattle Symphony’s 100th Anniversary, Mr. Jones’ Chorale-Overture for Organ and Orchestra officially opened the orchestra’s 2003-2004 celebratory season under Music Director Gerard Schwarz’s baton. The 6 1/2 minute work is a tour de force realization of the combined resources of the symphony orchestra and the pipe organ.

The premiere of a new version of A Symphonic Requiem (Variations on a Theme of Howard Hanson) was given in a set of highly successful performances by Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony on Oct. 3-6, 2002. Originally commissioned by the Sioux City Symphony for its 1982-83 season, the new version has been substantially reorchestrated and recomposed. Based on the celebrated theme from Hanson’s Romantic Symphony (No. 2), A Symphonic Requiem was written as a tribute to Howard Hanson shortly after his death. Jones, a student of Hanson in the late 1950’s, subsequently found the older musician an inspiring friend and mentor a decade later during the years Jones conducted the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. “Admirably crafted, noble in design and a proper tribute to [Hanson]”, (Seattle Post-Intelligencer), “this is a remarkably successful set of 12 variations in the form of a requiem, displaying Jones’ skills as a master orchestrator.” (Seattle Times) Perusal scores are now available from Carl Fischer’s Serious Music Department.

Other major performances of works in past and coming months include: Paul Vermel conducting the Northwest Symphony (IL) in Hymn to the Earth, two performances by the New Jersey Symphony of Eudora's Fable: The Shoe Bird, Anthony Spain conducting the Northwest Symphony (WA) in Elegy; David Daniels conducting the Warren Symphony (MI) in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men; Kirk Trevor conducting the Knoxville Symphony in Symphony No. 3 (Palo Duro Canyon); James Setapen conducting L’Offerta Musicale di Venezia in Elegy; Anthony Spain conducting the Northwest Symphony in Overture for a City, and a chamber version of Elegy performed by the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston.

Eudora’s Fable: The Shoe Bird was premiered in March, 2002 in a statewide tour of five performances in Mississippi by the Mississippi Boychoir, Margaret Thomas, conductor (which commissioned the work) and the University of Southern Mississippi Symphony, conducted by Jay Dean. Immediately afterward it was given a set of four performances by the Seattle Symphony and the Northwest Boychoir and the Columbia Children’s Choir in Seattle, conducted by Alastair Willis. Written for narrator, children’s choir, and symphony orchestra, this work is based on a delightful children’s tale by the great Mississippi writer, Eudora Welty. Eudora’s Fable not only charms audiences with its irresistible story and winsome music but also introduces children to the auxiliary woodwind instruments of the orchestra. With a duration of 48 minutes, it serves as a complete children’s concert, but it has also appeared with great success on evening programs for adults as well.

Elegy for Strings, one of Mr. Jones’ most enduringly successful and powerful works, was written in response to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. “Jones’ work is sorrow-shot music with a nobility within it that makes it one of the most telling musical works produced in the wake of the horrible event, if not the most telling.” (Arthur Cohn, Recorded Classical Music, p. 950) This moving work has been performed countless times on four continents and has recently been reissued by Carl Fischer in its Classic String Orchestra Edition series. Among the hundreds of performances it has received was a notable presentation for the 30th anniversary of Kennedy’s death by the Boston Philharmonic, conducted by Benjamin Zander, with Sen. Ted Kennedy in attendance.