Composer For HireFreelance ComposerMike Henebry - ComposerContemporary ComposerMike HenebryMike Henebry, bandleader

Composer For Hire

I am a composer, arranger and transcriber of music. I own well over 325 text books on music composition (theory, counterpoint, harmony, form, orchestration, style, arranging, classical, jazz, film, etc.) and I have read all of them (and many of them several times). I study books and scores (classical and contemporary) almost every day. I am 79 and still study several hours a day (I’m hooked on it). I have been an active musician (Clarinet and Saxophone) for well over 60 years and a voracious listener/lover of music since I was old enough to pay attention to it. These things probably all contribute to my passion for writing music.

I was a bandleader in California before moving to Texas about 8 years ago. I formed my first band when I was 13. Eventually, I formed and led two excellent professional bands… the “Mike Henebry Orchestra, a Swing Era Big Band,” and the “Crazy Rhythm Hot Society Orchestra, a 1920s big band.” I had both of these bands for about 25 years. Both bands were very successful and worked regularly in Southern California. We recorded several CDs, did some TV and played many great venues all over the United States. Both bands did dozens of jazz festivals as well as two international cruises. I also had a Dixieland band (the “Goodtime Dixieland Seven”), a small combo, and an all-star concert band (the “All-Southern California Concert Band”).

All of my life I wanted to be a film composer. But, with the exception of one symphony and a handful of smaller compositions, I didn’t compose much music until about 14 years ago. Before then, I used most of my music-writing time for arranging and transcribing music from recordings, mostly for my own bands. After a few decades of doing that, I realized that I could sell the transcriptions and arrangements that I had amassed (around 500 of them). So, I built a web site bigbandtranscriptions.com/ (or see “Links” above) to sell those transcriptions and arrangements and have been doing that since the late 1990s. Mostly because of that web site, I have been very lucky over the past few decades to have been hired to write transcriptions and arrangements for many orchestras, bands and singers all over the world (adding those charts to the site in the process).

When I sold my small business (my day job) and retired in 2010, I started composing in earnest. Since then, I have written five more symphonies and hundreds of other smaller pieces of all kinds (classical, film, jazz, world, zydeco, Latin, flamenco, western, and even some rock). Out of necessity, I’ve also gotten fairly competent with music notation software, digital audio, mixing and mastering. I have probably spent an average of about 5-10 hours a day studying and/or writing music since I was a kid. Obviously, I’m a little obsessed with music!

But, I’m not completely one-dimensional. I’ve managed to mix it up a little over the years too. Among other things, I was in Pararescue in the Air Force (Special Forces… parachuting, scuba diving, mountain-climbing, survival and medicine). As part of Pararescue, I went to Medical School, went to 26 countries, made 72 parachute jumps, scuba dived all over the Pacific, worked on the space programs Mercury, Gemini and Apollo, and was a Vietnam veteran (receiving an Air Medal). I later played semi-pro football, was an ultrarunner (distances longer than marathon) including finishing “Badwater (the world’s toughest endurance event),” a 135-mile run in Death Valley. I was an aerobatic pilot, an 18-wheeler truck driver owner/operator (logging about a million miles all over the US), and a competitive body-surfer. I played tournament chess (ranked “Expert” at my peak), organized one of the country’s largest chess clubs (which is still going strong after 49 years), and wrote and published a chess book (“Chess Words of Wisdom”). I have about 150 units of college, and I created and eventually sold a unique and successful business after 27 very profitable years. I am a widower (married for 49 years) and I have 2 great sons.

Since moving to Texas, I have worked occasionally with a few Dallas-area bands and I also played in two different local amateur bands. I will not form another band here in Texas partially because, without that distraction, it leaves me ample time to continue to compose music (which is my real passion). Besides, I donated my library (of about 2100 charts) to a local high school.

My transcriptions and arrangements are played all over the world, but as a composer, I am virtually unknown. When I’m composing, I know full well that, more than likely, almost nobody will ever hear what I am writing. But I still write anyway because it is something that I thoroughly enjoy doing. But, of course, it would add a lot to my satisfaction if other people enjoyed the music too! That’s the reason I created this web site: Hopefully, some of you will like at least some of my music!.. Then, we’ll both be a little happier!