Hailed by The Choral Journal for his “undeniable expertise as an experienced and successful choral conductor, pedagogue, and composer,” Blake Henson has been praised for his music that Gramophone Magazine says “moves from soothing sentiments to more exultant territory with exceptional harmonic vibrancy; it casts a spell that must be even more thrilling when heard in live performance,” and the New Jersey Star-Ledger called “powerful and thoughtful at the same time.”
A native Texan, Dr. Henson lives in Fort Worth where he teaches Music Composition at Texas Wesleyan University. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music theory and composition from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, as well as the degree Doctor of Musical Arts in composition from The Ohio State University. He has studied composition with Thomas Wells, Donald Harris, Joel Phillips, Jay Kawarsky, Ron Hemmel, Michael Cox, and John Parker and has collaborated with such noted composers as Mark Adamo, Stephen Paulus, Tarik O’Regan, and Gerald Custer.
Sought after for his choral, vocal, and orchestral work, Dr. Henson has received numerous commissions from colleges and high schools, churches, community choruses and orchestras, and professional ensembles, including Chanticleer, Westminster Choir, Kantorei, Williamson Voices, Anam Cara, Masterwork Chorus and Orchestra, The Thomas Circle Singers, and the New Jersey Chamber Singers. His music has been performed in some of the finest venues in the United States including Carnegie Hall, The National Cathedral, and Spivey Hall; as well as in concert halls in Canada, Mexico, England, South Africa, Taiwan, Australia, and Japan. His choral works have been performed at ACDA National Conventions as well as by numerous All-State choirs.
Dr. Henson’s work as a composer and teacher has awarded him multiple distinctions and recognitions including a Pulitzer Prize nomination for his choral-orchestral work The Good Fence (an unstaged drama written in response to the terrorist acts on September 11th, 2001), Ars Nova’s Artist of the Year award, and the Alumni Merit Award from his alma mater Westminster Choir College, as well as the Hoke Church Music Award, Dr. Carl F. Mueller Composition Award, York Composition Award, Lynn Memorial Composition Award, and first prize in the Chanticleer Composition Competition.
As a performer, Dr. Henson has appeared with the Westminster Choir, Westminster Kantorei, Fuma Sacra, the New York Philharmonic (Davis, Dutoit, Maazel, Gilbert, Alsop, Hickox), the Cleveland Orchestra (Boulez), the New Jersey Symphony (Labadie, Jarvi), Dresden Philharmonic (Fruhbeck de Burgos), Fort Worth Symphony (Giordano, Harth-Bedoya), and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (Litton) and has collaborated with such noted conductors as Joseph Flummerfelt, Charles Bruffy, Weston Noble, Bruce Chamberlain, Dennis Shrock, Andrew Megill, James Jordan, and Emmanuell Villaume.
A dedicated teacher and scholar, Henson’s passion for music, pedagogy, and digital learning have afforded him numerous opportunities for guest speaking and lecturing. Dr. Henson and Michigan Conductor/Composer Dr. Gerald Custer are co-authors of The Composer’s Craft: a practical guide for teachers and students, From Words to Music: a user’s guide to text for choral musicians, and The Beginner’s Guide to Arranging (all three available from GIA Publications). In 2015 he was named one of the “Most Influential Music Professors on Twitter” by The Degree 360. He is a member of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), Society for Music Theory (SMT), College Music Society (CMS), Society of Composers, Inc. (SCI), and the American Society for Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP); he also composes music and volunteers for the American Cancer Society.
Dr. Henson is published by GIA Music.