Jenny Jackson

I am a composer (yikes)

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Cloudscape published by Tetractys

I’m pleased to share the news that Cloudscape (2017) for flute choir has been published by Tetractys. Available for 12 C flutes or alto flutes.

Originally commissioned by Sheffield Flute Choir and performed by them at the Classical Sheffield festival 2017.

You can order score and parts here: Cloudscape

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Passepartout Duo: collaboration

Coming soon: I’m so excited to hear my new piece Mimesis for piano and percussion which has been composed for the Passepartout Duo following a fruitful period of collaboration. Before I met them, I watched some videos on their website which I found to be entertaining, innovative and visually intriguing. I have tried to compose something that will be equally theatrical and musically engaging.

Platform 4 and Passepartout Duo

Tickets available on the door: £10 / £8 concessions / £5 students


  • Jenny Jackson: Mimesis *
  • Tom James: The Time-Traveller’s Hymn *
  • Chris Noble: In To Stellar Cast: Rework *
  • Tom Owen: New work *
  • Kaj Duncan David: 4c0st1ctr1g3r
  • Bryan Jacobs: Piano+electronics
  • Hannah Lash: C
  • Mayke Nas: DiGiT#2

* Platform 4 commissions: 1st performance

Passepartout Duo:

Ever since they began collaborating in 2015, the musicians of Passepartout Duo have been known for their tireless advocacy of new music, ideas that cross aesthetic boundaries, and the compelling films they create. Driven by their shared values of music, people, and travel, Nicoletta Favari & Christopher Salvito’s simple and elegant approach has already earned them a reputation as a thoughtful and promising emerging group within the contemporary music field.

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Do you enjoy listening to new music? Fancy having a go composing?

I’m running this one-day composing workshop in October with flautist Rachel Shirley. Interested?
The workshop is ideal for adult musicians (18+) with little or no composing experience who want to ‘have a go’ in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. They do not have to be proficient on any instrument as Rachel will perform the music. 

Compose Yourself! WORKSHOP: Composing for Flute

Saturday 21st October 2017

10am – 4pm

Shirley House

31 Psalter Lane

Sheffield S11 8YE

Cost: £55

The day will consist of group activities and individual writing time (with one-to-one support from both of us) with plenty of opportunities to hear outcomes and make revisions as your piece progresses (the best way to learn, and a real luxury!). You will be guided through the process of composing your own short piece for solo flute, culminating with an informal concert given by Rachel, which will be recorded so that you can have a copy. 
The course will be structured to mimic my own writing practice, starting with a simple line-drawing activity to generate shapes and gestures before developing your piece step-by-step. This will be done by considering the overall character of the piece and how it can be affected by pitch choice, tempo, articulation, dynamics and timbral colour. More traditional starting points such as key, time signature and meter will be put to one side as you are are encouraged to imagine, explore and discover.

We’re excited to be able to offer workshop participants the opportunity to have their new pieces performed by Rachel at the Sheffield Flute Choir concert on Sunday 22nd October, as part of the Classical Sheffield mini festival!! Sheffield Winter Gardens 2.15pm… 

For more details and booking information: Compose Yourself

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My new string quartet – Focus Pull –  was premiered last week at the Music in the Round: Russia in the Round festival. It was performed by Ensemble 360 at the Crucible Studio, Sheffield. I’m really pleased with both performance and recording! Have a listen!

Score and parts are available on request.

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Classical Weekend: a success!

We are the other side (just!) of a very successful Classical Weekend in Sheffield, which saw the premiere of my new mini-opera Madam Adam performed by Opera on Location, the second performance of my revised Hooting, not Drinking performed by Rachel Shirley (flute) & Platform 4 with members of Sheffield Flute Choir (blown bottles & flutes ensemble), and the premiere of Kraal for massed voices.

You can see a video of both Madam Adam (and the other three Platform 4 mini-operas), and Kraal on the Platform 4 YouTube channel:

Here are a couple of ‘action’ photos of Kraal…!


Next up: Focus Pull for string quartet on May 8th 12.45 Crucible Theatre Studio, Sheffield (Ensemble 360), commissioned by Music in the Round for the 2017 May Festival: Russia in the Round.

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MitR Update… (P.S. I did rip it up…)

Sometimes, the only way forwards is to go backwards. In the case of my string quartet, ‘Focus Pull’ (commissioned for Music in the Round’s upcoming May festival), I knew that I wasn’t happy with it as it was (and it was way too long), so something drastic had to happen.

Ripping it up doesn’t feel as disastrous/stupid/final as it used to when I wrote everything by hand (I must have at least twenty-five ‘versions’ of it on my computer to fall back on, for example) but it still feels like starting all over again because essentially you have admitted that, although it looks like a finished product, it really isn’t.

This is the problem: scores look so good on the computer (even when the music is completely unplayable!)… And, although it’s exceptionally easy to cut chunks out via the use of a ‘delete’ button, it’s not so easy to allow yourself to break up what looks like a solid piece of finished work. So I printed it out! I often find this helps because I can lay out the pages in a continuous landscape roll and see the entire piece at once, rather than seeing individual pages as discreet sections, and I feel much more free working on the floor/table with physical scissors, sellotape and a pencil. Especially in the middle of the night, when sleep is not a thing…

This activity definitely helped me to feel more positive about my piece (like I was taking back control!) but it wasn’t until I was forced away from my computer completely (for a long weekend of pre-wedding events (not mine!)) that I made myself think about the flavour of the piece that I wanted to create. And that’s when I realised that I had become too drawn in by the process of using the selected ‘tone row’ of pitches that I had found in the Haydn quartet (my companion piece) so that I was no longer writing my own piece…

I often do line drawings in the early stages of writing a piece to get ideas going: it allows me to work gesturally and expressively as I can quickly capture the essence of what my intentions are without worrying about the finer details. I like imagining the progression of sounds and often hear the instruments in my head as I draw, so that the results are instinctive rather than considered. In this instance, I produced shorthand representations of the types of textures I intended and, before I knew it, I had drawn out the whole quartet and created a distilled version of all the work I had done up to this point.


This provided me with the structural framework that I had been needing and a notational solution where I could more easily play around with my initial concept of pulling the focus in and out. So now I could apply the Haydn to my own work, instead of the other way round. As my PhD supervisor Dr George Nicholson once said to me; “remember you are dealing with sound”. Wise words! (i.e. ‘get away from the computer’)…