Jonathan Morgan is a concert violist and violinist specializing in music by living composers. As a founding member of the Now Hear Ensemble, Jonathan has concertized extensively in California at venues like REDCAT, Stanford’s CCRMA, UC Berkeley’s CNMAT, Art Share LA, San Francisco’s Center for New Music, Classical Revolution LA, the Piano Kitchen, USC’s Fisher Museum, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, UCSD’s Conrad Prebys Music Center, and Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall. The Now Hear Ensemble is the Resident Ensemble at the UC Santa Barbara Department of Music, with whom Jonathan has premiered numerous commissioned works. In 2016 Jonathan gave the world premier performance of At Any Point for solo viola, chamber ensemble, and smartphone app by Anthony Paul Garcia. Jonathan has collaborated with many eminent composers, including Joel Feigin, Clarence Barlow, Oswaldo Golijov, Joshua Carro, Luke Taylor, David Werfelmann, Dan Miller, Nick Norton, Eoin Callery, Constantin Basica, Anders Lind, Marc Evans, Dan Vanhassel, Mica Levi, Anthony Paul Garcia, and Federico Llach. Jonathan has regularly performed with wildUp in a mix of venues including the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Hammer Museum, Santa Ana Sites, Colburn School’s Zipper Hall, and LA’s Regent Theater – all under the direction of Christopher Rountree.
As an active studio recording artist with RAYMOND, Jonathan has performed violin and viola for TV commercial soundtracks for the Argentine fashion house, VER. Jonathan was recently the featured soloist with the Choir of St. Barbara Parish at the Old Mission Santa Barbara under the direction of Roy Spicer, and can be heard on the album My Hope is Arisen, released in 2015. With the Now Hear Ensemble, Jonathan recorded the album Made in California, released in 2013. Other works in Jonathan’s discography include the Lament Cycle by Joel Feigin, performed by Helen Callus, viola, released on MSR Classics, 2012.
Jonathan frequently performs as principal violist with the Santa Barbara Choral Society and the Santa Ynez Valley Master Chorale. Prior to settling in Santa Barbara in 2010, Jonathan served on the violin, viola, and chamber music faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Preparatory and Continuing Education Department. Jonathan has participated in several music festivals including the Carlsbad Music Festival, Le Domaine Forget, Brevard, the Yehudi Menuhin Chamber Music Seminar, and notably the Banff Centre where he was part of impromptu recordings later used in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. Jonathan holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of California Santa Barbara, a Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and a Bachelor of Music degree from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. Jonathan’s teachers and mentors include Helen Callus, Robert Koenig, Derek Katz, Jeffrey Irvine, Lynne Ramsey, Peter Salaff, William Preucil, Steven Dann, Victoria Chiang, and the Cavani String Quartet.
Jonathan performs on three instruments: a viola commissioned in 2006 from New York luthier Guy Rabut, a violin of anonymous origin, and a carbon fiber viola by Mezzo Forte Strings, with bows by Bernard Walke, CodaBow, and CarBow. Jonathan amplifies his instruments with a DPA 4061 condenser microphone.