Jonathan Booker is a composer currently based in Kansas City whose music is performed in the United States and Europe.
His work explores the physical and psychological parameters of musical performance, as well as highlights the relationship between physical gesture and sound. It often presents dichotomies between density and sparsity, activity and stasis, and unity and individuality. Mr. Booker has fulfilled commissions for a variety of organizations, including the Lyra Society, the AURA Contemporary Ensemble, Da Camera Chamber Music and Jazz, Houston Grand Opera's HGOco, and the Flute Studio at the Lamont School of Music. His work has also been recognized through awards from the American Prize, the Lyra Society, the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music, the Robert Avalon International Competition for Composers, and the Other Competition at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music.
Mr. Booker has attended a number of international festivals and conferences, including the New Music for Strings Festival in Denmark, where he worked with Mari Kimura and Eivind Buene, and the Composers Conference at Wellesley College, where worked with Eric Wubbels, Yu-Hui Chang and Mario Davidovsky, and composed Divergent Trajectories for performance by the Conference Ensemble (James Baker, director). He also attended the Thailand International Composition Festival directed by Narong Prangcharoen, and the Bowling Green University Graduate Conference in Music, having previously attended the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium. He is a doctoral candidate at the University of Missouri-Kansas City where he primarily studies with Chen Yi, Zhou Long, and Paul Rudy. He earned a master's degree in composition under the guidance of Rob Smith at the University of Houston's Moores School of Music, having previously received his bachelor's degree at Seattle Pacific University.
In addition to composing, Mr. Booker is active in education and the community. He is the Composition Graduate Teaching Assistant at UMKC, where he instructs undergraduate student composers. He has previously served as a Teaching Artist for UMKC’s Conservatory in the Schools program, as well as a Teaching Assistant at the Moores School of Music, where he instructed undergraduate theory and aural skills classes. Mr. Booker was a fellow for two seasons in Da Camera's prestigious Young Artist Program, which enabled him to partner with Literacy Advance of Houston to design and implement Literacy Through Music, an initiative that used music to teach literacy to adult ESL students.
Two principles that guide my creativity are progress and transformation. As I construct works of music, I constantly think about where it is going and how the music, the listener, and myself are changed by this journey. I also value craftsmanship and endeavor to make every musical event purposeful and functional, often on several levels at once. Above all, I aspire for my art to be honest; to express ideas, emotions and experiences, whether they be sublime or abhorrent, that are true to human existence.
Among the most important practices for any musician are the analysis of music and the study of the historical and philosophical contexts in which it exists. As an inventor and performer of music, I believe that creative efforts should work in conjunction with scholarly efforts in order to enhance the technical dexterity and enrich the aesthetic consciousness of the creator. As such, I am steadfastly committed to musical scholarship and will continue to be so throughout my musical career.
I have been fortunate to benefit from the instruction of several very skilled and dedicated educators and I too desire to contribute to the field of music in this way. Education is one of the most empowering resources in life and I believe that it should be administered with expertise, passion and humility, and should focus on leveraging strengths rather than minimizing weaknesses. Musical instruction is most effective when it inspires students in addition to preparing them for academic and professional success.