That rare composer whose music manages to be instantly listenable and emotionally resonant without any compromise to its sophistication. —Textura
Jennifer Bellor is a versatile composer whose music draws on a variety of influences, from progressive rock bands to jazz artists, singer-songwriters, and Bellor’s own studies of the violin, piano, French horn, and voice. Images, texts, and emotional experiences inspire her works, which are often melodic with jazz and pop-influenced harmonies, whether the composition was written for a solo or mixed chamber instrumental ensemble, voice, big band, percussion quartet, orchestra, dance, or theater.
Bellor has received recognition for her compositions and recordings. Her debut album Stay (2016), a melting pot of different music styles largely based on poetry, was featured on NewMusicBox’s 2016 Staff Picks, which praised the record for its ability to “maintain a highly individual identity without needing to take refuge in pre-post-genre musical silos.” The magazine lauded the first track, “Chase the Stars,” not only for its “dazzling eclecticism” combining opera, hip hop, and jazz, but also for Bellor’s singing. The composition was awarded The American Prize (2016) in the orchestral category. Her second album, Reflections at Dusk (Innova Recordings, 2019), showcases instrumental music inspired by the Nevada sunsets; Jazz Weekly described it has having “evocative musical images” and KFJC 89.7FM AArbor stated, “she really must like twilight, sunset, dusk because she understands the magic of that time of day.”
Bellor holds a special passion for melodic percussion writing, which she fostered as the resident Clock Shop Composer for the percussion quartet Clocks in Motion from 2018–2022. Cleveland Classical called her first of three quartets for this ensemble “arresting,” praising the “simple, yet detailed beauty of the sounds, some motoric, others melodic. Bellor writes ravishingly and imaginatively for percussion.” Her most recent album, Oneira, (Aerocade Music, 2022) features this music, which Textura has described as “rousing and infectious. Her writing is more identified by an expressive personal signature than allegiance to a particular genre or tradition.” Music from Oneira served as the soundtrack to an animation created by Christine Banna. The music video was featured on I Care if You Listen, and it received public airings at the Brooklyn SciFi Film Festival, the SFC Film Festival in Australia, the Munich Music Video Festival (where it was a finalist for Best Music Film), and the Mad Monster Film Fest (where it won the Best Fantasy award).
Bellor’s music has been presented widely throughout the U.S. and abroad by musicians and ensembles such as the Washington National Opera, Las Vegas Philharmonic, Clocks in Motion Percussion, American Composers Orchestra for their Jazz Composer Orchestra Institute Readings, Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra featuring Grace Kelly, Carnegie Hall DCINY Series, Transient Canvas, Eastman New Jazz Ensemble, UNLV Wind Orchestra, Eastman Saxophone Project, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Saxophone Ensemble, A/Tonal, Sonic Cluster Duo, and Elevate Ensemble, among many others. Other prizes and recognition have included the Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra Composition prize for Noir, IAWM prizes for Bordello Nights and Skylark Lullaby, Elevate Ensemble’s Call-for-Score winner for Moments Shared, Moments Lost, Music Now Contest winner for Crystalline at the 2018 ISU Contemporary music festival, Downbeat Award (2013) for Midnight Swim, and selections at many other festivals and conferences including FSU Biennial Festival of New Music, Hildegard Festival, Missouri State University Composition Festival, Aspen Music Festival, and Finland’s Kaarina Week.
Born and raised in northern NY, Bellor earned a PhD in music composition at Eastman School of Music, a Master of Music degree in composition at Syracuse University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in music at Cornell University. Her primary composition teachers included David Liptak, Robert Morris, Andrew Waggoner, Sally Lamb-McCune, and Steven Stucky. She is Assistant Professor of Music Composition at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she is Artistic Director of the new music series, Nextet. For more information, visit www.jenniferbellor.com.
Described by Textura as “that rare composer whose music manages to be instantly listenable and emotionally resonant without any compromise to its sophistication,” Jennifer Bellor is a versatile composer whose music draws on a variety of influences, from progressive rock bands to jazz artists, singer-songwriters, and Bellor’s own studies of the violin, piano, French horn, and voice. Images, texts, and emotional experiences inspire her works, which are often characterized as melodic with jazz- and pop-influenced harmonies. Bellor’s music has been presented widely throughout the U.S. and abroad by musicians and ensembles such as the Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra, Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center, Clocks in Motion, American Composers Orchestra, Las Vegas Philharmonic, and on concert series and festivals including Finland’s Kaarina Music Week, Wuhan Chamber series, Ritsos Project art song concert in Greece, Carnegie Hall DCINY series, the International Horn Society Symposium in Montreal, among many others. Bellor has issued three albums: Stay (2016), Reflections at Dusk (Innova Recordings, 2019), and Oneira (Aerocade Music, 2022). Her music video, Oneira, in collaboration with animator Christina A. Banna was featured on I Care if You Listen, in screenings at multiple festivals, as a finalist for Best Music Film at the Munich Music Video Festival, and as prizewinner of Best Fantasy at the 2023 Mad Monster Film Fest.
Some current projects include Noir for tenor sax, electric guitar, and orchestra to be premiered September 26 at Georgia Tech featuring jazz tenor sax Daniel Juárez and electric guitarist Nat Condit-Schultz, and a new album of two new song cycles: Cuatro Canciones de Las Ultimas Horas for bass (Norman Espinoza) and piano (Bellor), and A Smile and a Sigh (soprano Olivia Yokers and electric guitarist Tasos Peltekis).
Bellor holds degrees from Eastman School of Music (PhD), Syracuse University (MM), and Cornell University (BA) and serves as Assistant Professor of Music Composition at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.