Jonathan Morgan is a violist and violinist specializing in the music of living composers, and a founding member and Executive Director of the Now Hear Ensemble, the Resident Ensemble at the UC Santa Barbara Department of Music from 2014-2017. Jonathan has been recently appointed to the viola faculty at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He is on the artist roster of the San Francisco-based record label Aerocade Music on which he released a recording of Nick Norton's Elegy II and is donating all proceeds from the recording to the ACLU. This season, Jonathan is giving world premiere performances of newly-commissioned music for solo viola at the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS), Los Angeles City College, and has performed recitals - often as part of his CONGRUENCY series - at the Santa Barbara Center for Art, Science, and Technology (SBCAST), Synchromy, the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, the Eureka Musical Minds of California Conference, the Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater (REDCAT), the UCSB Summer Music Festival, and the Carlsbad Music Festival.
Jonathan is a member of the Opera Santa Barbara orchestra, and has served as principal violist of the Santa Barbara Choral Society, and the Santa Ynez Valley Master Chorale since 2015. In the recording studio, Jonathan has worked with RAYMOND, a boutique studio based in Buenos Aires and Santa Barbara, performing violin and viola tracks to TV commercials for the Argentine fashion house, VER. Jonathan is the featured soloist with the Choir of St. Barbara Parish, at the Old Mission Santa Barbara on their recent album My Hope is Arisen, released in 2015. Other works in Jonathan's discography include Made in California - the debut album of the Now Hear Ensemble - released in 2013, the Lament Cycle by Joel Feigin - performed by Helen Callus and the UC Santa Barbara Viola Studio - released on MSR Classics, 2012.
Jonathan performs regularly with wildUp, as well as various orchestras throughout southern California. Prior to settling in Santa Barbara in 2010, Jonathan served on the violin, viola, and chamber music faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Music Preparatory and Continuing Education Department. Jonathan has participated in several music festivals, notably the Banff Centre where he was part of impromptu recordings later used in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. Jonathan holds a Bachelor of Music from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, a Master of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of California Santa Barbara. His principal teachers and mentors include Helen Callus, Jeffrey Irvine, Lynne Ramsey, Victoria Chiang, Richard Field, WIlliam Preucil, Peter Salaff, and the Cavani Quartet.
Jonathan performs on two instruments: a viola commissioned in 2006 from New York luthier Guy Rabut and a violin of anonymous origin, with bows by Bernard Walke, CodaBow, and CarBow. When appropriate, his instruments are generally amplified using a DPA 4061 microphone.
Photos by Star Foreman Photography
Jonathan Morgan - Viola
Nick Norton - Composer and Recording Engineer
Anthony Paul Garcia - Recording Engineer
Gaby Goldberg/Raymond Studio - Video
Nick Tipp - Audio Mastering
Recorded in October, 2016 at Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, UC Santa Barbara. Released in January 2017 on Aerocade Music.
Now Hear Ensemble
Amanda Kritzberg - Clarinet
Joel Hunt - Saxophones
Anthony Paul Garcia - Percussion
Jonathan Morgan - Viola
Federico Llach - Double Bass
Recorded August, 2013 in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, UC Santa Barbara. Released in November, 2013.
Good Friday Anthems by Russell Shulz-Widmar. Text from The Book of Common Prayer
Choir of St. Barbara Parish
Roy Spicer - Director
Jonathan Morgan - Viola (soloist on track 5)
Recorded live in the Old Mission Santa Barbara.
Duet with Two Obligato Eyeglasses by Ludwig van Beethoven
Helen Callus and Jonathan Morgan - Violas
Recorded live in the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara.