Unifying principles of jazz and classical in his work, the Dutch composer Jesse Passenier explores 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. Passenier is co-founder and artistic director of Fluid Foundation and encircling his activities as a composer he musically developed in a broader sense as an arranger, conductor, drummer, pianist, and vibraphonist.
Highlights of season 21/22 include Passenier’s third solo concerto, titled Concerto for Bass Trombone and Orchestra “Life Cycles”, which premiered in spring 2022, and among other venues was performed in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. In 2020, Passenier took further steps in his efforts to unify the jazz and classical tradition, by writing his first two concertos Piano Concerto No. 1 “Levensdrift”, and Vibraphone & Marimba Concerto No. 1 “Becoming the Colour”. Both works were written for jazz soloist and symphony orchestra and were recorded with ADDA Simfònica, led by its chief conductor, maestro Josep Vicent, featuring Kari Ikonen and Vincent Houdijk.
After building a solid bond with November Music Festival (NL), the 2019 edition featured Passenier in a significant role. Special mentioning deserves Division for orchestra, solo baritone, and choir. The piece was dedicated to 75 Years of Freedom in Den Bosch and was presented as the opening concert of the festival. 2019 was equally relevant for his development in the realm of jazz music, where he was 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. As the leader of his own Fluid Orchestra, the publication of his debut album Lit Scenes in 2018 was the turning point in finding his own musical language.
Constantly on the lookout for special collaborations, Passenier has worked with international and Dutch artists and ensembles such as Kurt Elling, Vince Mendoza, Quincy Jones, Jacob Collier, Jörg Achim Keller, Jules Buckley, Reinier Baas, Eric Vloeimans, Morris Kliphuis, Ruben Hein, Janne Schra, Dudok Quartet Amsterdam, and Van Amsterdam Duo. 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 are some of the art institutions that regularly have commissioned works by his hand.
He holds the position of Main Subject Teacher Jazz Composing and Arranging, Jazz Master Coordinator, and Artistic Director of Fringe Orchestra at Conservatorium Maastricht. Since 2021, all of Jesse Passenier’s new compositions have been published by Donemus Publishing.