Jonathan Morgan, viola
Jonathan Morgan is a Los Angeles-based violist immersed in adventurous contemporary music making. When not performing solo, Jonathan shares the stage with international pop stars, indie singer-songwriters, feminist heavy metal bands, professional orchestras, choirs, string ensembles, and mixed instrumental and vocal groups of all permutations. As a collaborator, Jonathan works closely with composers, performers, and producers of avant garde and experimental music to realize their creations through dynamic and engaging live performances and recording projects. He showcases these collaborations through CONGRUENCY - an intimate and ongoing concert series that's part live performance and part spoken conversation between the performer and composer - where audiences experience a casual revealing of the collaborative genesis of originally commissioned musical works for solo viola. Jonathan has performed CONGRUENCY installments at UCSB’s Summer Music Festival, the Santa Barbara Center for Art, Science, and Technology (SBCAST), Los Angeles City College Herb Alpert Concert Series, and the mainstage of Carlsbad Music Festival. Jonathan is currently engaged in efforts to produce the full length CONGRUENCY album of works as an artist with the Aerocade Music Label, on which he released a single and accompanying music video of Nick Norton’s Elegy II. He has also performed and recorded extensively with the Isaura String Quartet, and is a founding member of the Now Hear Ensemble - with whom he recorded the album Made in California and the music video to Florent Ghys’ 4 Bucolic Machines. For several years, Jonathan has performed with Grammy-nominated ensemble WildUp as a guest musician.
As a session musician in Los Angeles, Jonathan has recorded original music for film and television media, and music by mainstream pop, rock, rap, and alternative artists around the world such as Katherine Farnham, Victor Bellomo, Seung Hwan Lee, Nell, Jong Shin Yoon, Si-kyung Sung, Sae Byul Park, Joon-Il Jung, Lucid Fall. Recent film credits include performances in the scores for the documentary film Sound of Identity: Lucia Lucas as Don Giovanni - which chronicles the first transgender woman ever to perform as Don Giovanni in a professional opera, the film G.O.D. (Givers of Death) - a 2019 apocalyptic sci-fi tale of redemption, and the film Rampant - a South Korean period action zombie horror. He’s also performed in orchestras for the soundtracks to live screenings for the films Under The Skin (2013), Jackie (2016), and Dawson City: Frozen Time (2016).
As a church musician, Jonathan can be heard as the featured soloist with the Choir of St. Barbara Parish on their recent album My Hope Is Arisen recorded live at the Old Mission Santa Barbara, performing the Good Friday Anthems for solo viola and choir by Russell Schulz-Widmar. He has performed with numerous choirs and vocal soloists in mixed ensembles as part of religious services across denominations and religions, all while enjoying a six-year string quartet residency at El Montecito Presbyterian Church.
As a musician for weddings and private events, Jonathan finds joy in presenting solo and chamber music to audiences seeking special ambience and mood. He has performed at over 500 gala events, charity balls, weddings, funerals, devotional services, memorials, bar/bat mitzvahs, birthday parties, holiday parties, dinner parties, and award presentations. Prior to relocating to California, Jonathan was the violist of Adagio Strings aboard the Holland America cruise ship Zuiderdam which toured Caribbean destinations.
As a music educator, Jonathan served on the viola faculty at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for the 2017-18 academic year, and is a frequent guest clinician for the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony. He taught group violin classes and private lessons in public schools through the Santa Barbara Symphony education suite for 10 years. Jonathan was also faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Preparatory and Continuing Education Department and the Solon Center for the Arts where he taught violin, viola, and chamber music to pre-conservatory and adult students.
As a recitalist, Jonathan has given solo and chamber music performances of new and standard repertoire at festivals, conferences, retreats, and numerous concert series like Synchromy, Tuesdays at Monk Space, the Carlsbad Music Festival, Society for Electro-Acoustic Music In the United States (SEAMUS), NOW Festival, UCSB Summer Music Festival, Chatter, New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, Montecito Summer Music Festival, Yehudi Menuhin Chamber Music Seminar, Texas Music Festival, and the Brevard Music Festival. Jonathan spent two weeks at the Avaloch Farm Music Institute collaborating with composers and fellow performers in the idyllic New Hampshire countryside. Jonathan was one of only 11 musicians chosen by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to attend the Domaine Forget chamber music course on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. At the Banff Center, Jonathan was a festival artist and participated in masterclasses, chamber and orchestral performances, and impromptu recordings of original music by Osvaldo Golijov later used in the Beijing Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.
Jonathan holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of California Santa Barbara, a Master of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and a Bachelor of Music from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. 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 an Amati-pattern viola commissioned in 2006 from New York luthier Guy Rabut, with bows by Bernard Walke, CodaBow, and CarBow. When appropriate, he amplifies his sound using a DPA 4061 microphone.