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Composing & Arranging / Master Coordinator / Master Research Coach / Fringe Orchestra / Wanted! Composition Lab

Jesse Passenier


Jesse Passenier is a Dutch composer, unifying principles of jazz and classical in his work, exploring the peripheries of genres and the depth and possibilities of harmony. He is the winner of the Dutch Rogier van Otterloo Award 2017, acknowledging his success in bringing together musical genres in cross-overs, leading his own orchestra and celebrating his skill in orchestral writing. Three of his major projects were funded by the New Makers Regulation of the Performing Art Fund NL (FPK), which opened with the founding of his Fluid Orchestra and concluded with the launch of Fluid Festival. Passenier is co-founder of Fluid Foundation and encircling his activities as a composer he musically developed in a broader sense as arranger, conductor, drummer, pianist and vibraphonist.

In season 2019/20 Passenier fulfilled a significant role at November Music Festival (NL), where he wrote the new composition Division for the opening concert of the festival. The piece for 23 wind players and 2 percussionists of the South Netherlands Philharmonic, choir and singer Ruben Hein, was dedicated to 75 Years of Freedom in Den Bosch and put the poetry of soldiers of the 51st Welsh Infantry Division – the liberators of Den Bosch – in the spotlight. Within the same theme and festival Passenier wrote the composition Alan for four choirs in square arrangement around the audience, with lyrics by the City Chronicler of Den Bosch Eric Alink. In addition to this highlight in the classical world, Jesse was present in the jazz scene sharing the stage with the famous WDR Big Band in collaboration with ESA (European Space Agency). As the composer of two commissioned works, arranger and bandleader he conducted the interactive performance in the Cologne Philharmonic Hall, which gave extra attention to the target group of 12 to 17 year-olds.

With his own Fluid Orchestra he published his debut album Lit Scenes in 2018, for which the orchestra was joined by the renowned Dutch string quartet Dudok Quartet Amsterdam. This album was released by the USA-based label Odradek Records. The fact that he is strongly on the lookout for special collaborations is confirmed by his work with international and Dutch artists such as Kurt Elling, Vince Mendoza, Jacob Collier, Jörg Achim Keller, Jules Buckley, Reinier Baas, Morris Kliphuis, Vincent van Amsterdam, Ruben Hein, Ellen ten Damme, Janne Schra, Hadewych Minis, Waylon, Roel van Velzen and Hans Dagelet. He also wrote for leading organizations such as the  Metropole Orchestra, The Heritage Orchestra, the Royal Band of the Dutch Navy, the Dutch Wind Ensemble, the South Netherlands Philharmonic, Holland Opera, and the WDR Big Band.

His compositions and arrangements have been performed on important stages such as the Royal Concertgebouw, Carré, Paradiso, De Doelen, the Bimhuis, TivoliVredenburg, the Cologne Philharmonic Hall, North Sea Jazz Festival, November Music Festival, Gaudeamus Music Week and JazzInternational Rotterdam.

Previous highlights were his participation in the prestigious Metropole Orchestra Arrangers Workshop 2012, the nomination as laureate of the Brussels Jazz Orchestra International Composition Contest (BJOICC) 2011 and as ‘Young Composer in Residence’ at the MECC Jazz Festival 2010 (NL).

Besides his active profile as a composer, he holds the position of main subject teacher Jazz Composing and Arranging and Jazz Master Coordinator at Conservatorium Maastricht.

Currently he is writing two concertos for orchestra and soloist, which will be premiered in 2021 by pianist Kari Ikonen, vibraphonist Pascal Schumacher and orchestra ADDA·SIMFÒNICA under the baton of its founding chief conductor Josep Vicent. This programme will be recorded by PARMA Recordings and will be published on their label Navona Records.

Fringe Orchestra is the annual collaboration between the Fluid Foundation and Conservatorium Maastricht. The projects are composed, arranged, and conducted by artistic director Jesse Passenier.