Photo credit:  David Popple ©2019

Jenny Jackson is a composer based in Sheffield.

Jenny Jackson successfully completed a PhD in composition in 2009 having studied with Professor George Nicholson at the University of Sheffield. Subsequently, she formed Platform 4 - a composer collective - with Tom Owen, Chris Noble and Tom James (also alumni) and has forged a career as a composer, strongly influenced by a long-term interest in the visual and dramatic arts and the theatricality of musical performance. She has collaborated to produce multidisciplinary projects with visual artists, sculptors, writers and choreographers, often with Platform 4, including a major collaboration with dancer Hannah Wadsworth and soprano Andrea Tweedale to produce Embodiments – four pieces of staged dance and music-theatre in 2017. Recent commissions include Mimesis for the Berlin-based Passepartout Duo, Purge (part of Melodrama - a Platform 4 collaborative suite for winds) commissioned by Music in the Round, and Expel - a one-breath piece for flautist Kathryn Williams. Her work has been performed by Ensemble 360, Ligeti Quartet, Nieuw Ensemble, Philip Thomas and Opera on Location.

Jenny teaches piano, composition and theory at her home in Sheffield and is an ABRSM Theory examiner. She plays viola in Sheffield Symphony Orchestra and runs the Sheffield Viola Ensemble. She is also a volunteer with Lost Chord; a charity which provides music sessions for adults suffering with dementia.


Longer biography

Jenny studied music at Bath College of Higher Education (Newton Park campus) before completing a P.G.C.E in secondary school music teaching at Bretton Hall in 1993. Following this, she divided her time between composing and teaching. In 1996 Jenny won the 'Songs from the Underground' composition competition with Light, which was performed by Roderick Williams and David Wickham at the Wigmore Hall. She taught secondary classroom music at various schools in Sheffield as well as providing music and art workshops for G.C.S.E and A’level students in Sheffield and Doncaster with ‘Fusion’ (a partnership with artist Brian Jackson funded by an Arts for Everyone Express Arts Council award). During this time, Jenny was also a tutor at the Division of Continuing Adult Education, University of Sheffield from 1995 - 1998 where she devised and delivered two courses: ‘From Prokofiev to Pulp’ and ‘Sounding out the Twentieth Century’. From 1998 - 2003 Jenny established a successful music workshop for the WEA (Worker’s Education Association) in Chesterfield.

In 2001 Jenny won a fee scholarship at the University of Sheffield and successfully completed a PhD in composition with Professor George Nicholson in 2009, following an exploration into the relationship between notational possibilities and resulting performance outcomes. In 2003 Frisk was shortlisted by the spnm (Society for the Promotion of New Music, now Sound and Music) which enabled her to participate in two spnm professional development schemes: C4K (Composing for Kids) 2003 - 2005, and Sound Inventors 2005. In 2004 Melodrama was shortlisted by CoMA (Contemporary Music for All) and, as a result, she received tuition with Diana Burrell. In 2006 Hot Flush was selected for workshop & performance by the Elysian Quartet, for the York University string quartet composition competition.

In 2009 Jenny was selected to participate on the HCMF (Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival) & Nieuw Ensemble Yorkshire Composers’ professional development scheme. Her piece Self Portrait was performed by the Nieuw Ensemble at HCMF and was selected for a further performance at the Musiekgebouw aan’t IJ in Amsterdam, and was also broadcast live on Dutch national radio. In 2007 she was selected to participate on the Jerwood Opera Writing Programme, based at the Britten Pears School, Aldeburgh where she collaborated with Marcy Kahan to produce a comic opera Mimi on ze Bridge. Whilst there she received tuition from Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Giorgio Battistelli.

Upcoming performances:

Premiere: Limb

for Solo Viola & Orchestra (2019)

Hallam Sinfonia

Soloist: Maria Do Vale Antunes 

An opener for the Classical Sheffield festival 2019 finale concert.

Sunday 10th March 2019 20:00

Sheffield Cathedral

Supported by Classical Sheffield  and the British Viola Society

Recent performances:

New solo piece for flute: Purge

Ensemble 360

Part of a short suite of pieces composed by Platform 4  for wind instruments - Melodrama - commissioned by Music in the Round for the Sheffield Chamber Music Festival.

Sun 13th May 2018 15:00

St Matthew's Church, Sheffield

First performance: Torque

Ligeti Quartet

Composed in 2010, this is the first performance of the string quartet.

Thursday 26th April 2018 19:30

University of Sheffield, Firth Hall, Sheffield


New work for piano and percussion: Mimesis

Passepartout Duo & Platform 4

Commissioned and performed by the Berlin-based Passepartout Duo:  the result of an exciting collaboration with the Berlin-based duo and Platform 4.

Friday 20th April 2018 19:30

Upper Chapel, Norfolk Street, Sheffield S1 2JD


Cloudscape for flute choir (2017) published by Tetractys Publishing. Originally composed for Sheffield Flute Choir, this is now also available for low flute choir.

We asked Jenny to write this piece for our performance in Sheffield Winter Gardens as part of the Classical Sheffield Weekend, and it worked wonderfully in this space. Many of our members were quite unfamiliar with contemporary music, and this was a gentle introduction for them to playing a piece without a time signature - working with durations and cues instead. It's a great piece for working on communication as an ensemble, using three groups of players who need to coordinate both within their own groups and with the other groups. It really encourages players to focus on the detail of the dynamics, to create the effect of sound 'drifting' from one group to another - depicting the passing clouds! 

Rachel Shirley - Director of Sheffield Flute Choir

Order here: Cloudscape 

"Following a performance of Haydn’s ‘String Quartet Op.33 No.1’ rendered with a beauty enhanced by perfect clarity, Ensemble 360 gave a vibrant rendition of Jenny Jackson’s ‘Pull Focus [sic]’. Very loosely based on a tone row from the Haydn ‘Russian’ quartet we’d just heard, this was an energetically ace new commission and a reminder of Ensemble 360’s abilities and enthusiasm in performing new music."

Samantha Holland, Now Then magazine