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Jon Rose : Represented Artist

Jon Rose has created a body of radical music, and an alternative cultural context for the violin, its practice and its history.

Random Audio Sample: Die athletische violine : string quartet by Jon Rose, from the CD [Pulled muscles

Photo of Jon Rose

Photo: Franz Kricki

Artist website: http://www.jonroseweb.com

Born in 1951 in Rochester, UK, Jon Rose started playing the violin at seven years old, after winning a music scholarship to King's School Rochester. He studied violin with Anthony Saltmarsh (exponent of the Knud Vestergaard 'Bach' bow). He gave up formal music education at the age of 15 and from then on was primarily self-taught.

Throughout the 1970s, first in England and then in Australia, he played, composed and studied in a large variety of music genres - from sitar playing to country & western; from 'new music' composition to commercial studio session work; from bebop to Italian club bands; from big band serial composition to sound installations. In 1977-78 he studied jazz arranging and counterpoint with Bill Motzing at the NSW Conservatorium of Music. He became the central figure in the development of free improvisation in Australia, performing in almost every art gallery, jazz and rock club in the country - either solo, with fellow improvisers like Louis Burdett, Serge Ermoll, Edy Bronson, Jim Denley or with an international pool of improvising musicians called the Relative Band. The collaborative LP Tango (Hot Records) in 1983, with Martin Wesley-Smith, was a world first in violin and (Fairlight) sampling improvisation.

A polymath, he is as much at home creating large environmental multi-media works, performing improvised music, inventing musical instruments (such as the interactive MIDI bow), creating radiophonic works, writing cultural criticism, as he is playing the violin on a concert stage. Central to this practice has been 'The Relative Violin' project, a unique total artform and output, rich in content, realising almost everything on, with, and about the violin and string music in general. Most celebrated is the worldwide Fence Project; least known are the Relative Violins created specifically for and in Australia. In 2016, after decades of sporadic existence in Europe, his own violin museum 'The Rosenberg Museum' was finally exhibited in Sydney under the rubric 'The Museum Goes Live'.

Jon Rose performs his group projects and solo music in upwards of 50 concerts every year - in North America, Japan, Australia, South America, China, Scandinavia and just about every country in West & East Europe. Rose also curates his own on-going festival 'String 'em up' of radical string players and their instruments, taking place in Podewil, Berlin in 1998 and Dodorama and V2, Rotterdam in 1999, Tonic, New York in 2000 and Mains D'Oeuvres, Paris in 2002.

Jon Rose has worked with the Kronos String Quartet, John Zorn, Derek Bailey, Butch Morris, Barry Guy, Fred Frith, Veryan Weston, Joelle Leandre, Connie Bauer, Johannes Bauer, Chris Cutler, Otomo Yoshihide, KK Null, Alex Von Schlippenbach, Toshinori Kondo, Francis-Marie Uitti, Alvin Curran, Evan Parker, Paul Lovens, Phil Minton, Shelley Hirsh, Mark Dresser, Ben Patterson, Emmett Williams, John Cage, Joel Ryan, Peter Kowald, Borah Borgmann, Tristan Honsinger, Mari Kimura, the Soldier String Quartet, Borah Bergman, Sainko, Tristan Honsinger, Tony Oxley, Cor Fuhler, Steve Beresford, Eugene Chadbourne, Bob Ostertag, Malcolm Goldstein, Jim Denley, David Moss, Miya Masaoka, Barre Phillips, George Lewis, Gunter Christmann, Misha Mengelberg, Elliott Sharpe, Elena Kats Chernin, Christian Marclay, Richard Barret, Gerry Hemingway, Pierre Henry, Ilan Volkov, etc

In addition to appearing on over 90 albums, Rose is the originator of four books - The Pink Violin, Violin Music in the Age of Shopping, Rosenberg 3.0, and The Music of Place: Reclaiming A Practice (based on his Peggy Glanville-Hicks address of 2007).

After being based in Berlin, Amsterdam, and Paris from 1986, 2002 saw Jon Rose again based in Australia.

In 2012 he was awarded the Don Banks Prize for a lifetime achievement and contribution to Australian music.

His 20-year-old website at www.jonroseweb.com contains details of his innovative and encyclopedic projects.

Contact with Jon Rose can be made through the Australian Music Centre.

Jon Rose is the major philosopher and cosmologist in a violin-centric world. Through his work he has fashioned totally new ways for violinists to think of their bows and their instruments. He has given listeners freshly made dimensions to contemplate. When I think of Jon, I'm reminded of Leonardo. He has fearlessly and fancifully explored all the currently known parameters of the violin and discovered many previously hidden ones as well. Jon has led the way in using the violin as a tool to explore life. If all he had ever done was to give us the sounds and the image of the violinist bowing barbed wire fences throughout the world, it should be said that his work has placed the violin front and centre as a force for renewal and regeneration in a tired world. (David Harrington, Kronos Quartet, San Francisco, 8 March 2012)

Jon Rose — current to December 2016

Studied with

William Motzing (1977 - 1978)


Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Data data (audiovisual work) (2020) Commissioned as part of the '2 Minutes From Home' project by Decibel New Music
Music in a time of dysfunction. Part 1 (10+ players: keyboard, percussion, string) (2016) Commissioned for Liveworks Festival, Carriageworks
Music in a time of dysfunction part 2 (quintets: keyboard, percussion, string) (2016) Commissioned for Liveworks Festival, Carriageworks
Singing Up : Singing Up Tyalgum (2015) Commissioned by The Tyalgum Festival 2015
Ghan Tracks (multimedia work) (2014) Commissioned by Ensemble Offspring.
Picnic at Broken Hill (solo piano) (2014) Commissioned for Sound Stream, Adelaide