Date of Award


Degree Type

Thesis - ECU Access Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Music Honours


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)


Faculty of Education and Arts

First Advisor

Graham Wood


This thesis will analyse and discuss the compositional style of John Hollenbeck by outlining his compositional approach as well as aspects of his compositional techniques. Hollenbeck's composition has become increasingly removed from the traditional big band jazz idiom, yet he has gained the respect of jazz critics, audiences and peers worldwide. Renowned trombonist and composer Bob Brookmeyer says of him, "[John Hollenbeck's] world view, his imagination, his daring, and his skills, combined with a God-given gift, make him -to my ears - one of our most important composers." This thesis will focus mainly on his compositional approach that ensures originality through a strict set of rules applied to the composer. In order to discuss this approach and other techniques employed by Hollenbeck, analyses of four pieces written by Hollenbeck for large jazz ensemble will be included. The analyses will focus on an examination of starting points and devices but will also discuss evidence of 20th Century classical composition techniques in his 2001 International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE)/Gil Evans Commission composition, A Blessing. The research is divided into three chapters: the first consists of biographical information in order to contextualise Hollenbeck's music, while the second outlines his compositional style and approach through analysis. The final chapter is a discussion of my music and how it has been influenced by Hollenbeck's approach.