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mOMENTA (in progress)

For Solo Flute

Coming Fall of 2017.


Audio not yet available.

Imprint

For Solo Violin

One of my favorite areas in Houston is Buffalo Bayou Park, a stunning urban green space that runs directly through the center of the otherwise industrial megalopolis. As I was jogging through the park one day during the spring of 2016, I noticed the perfect imprint of a leaf in the footpath that, I presume, had formed during the
trail's construction by a leaf falling into the still-wet concrete. This image inspired me to consider the coexistence of two things that we often think of as conflicting:
nature and machine. 

Imprint embodies these musings by building a relationship between materials from two very different sources. The piece begins with the violin working vigorously to realize the tone row from "Strings in the Earth and Air", the first movement of Luciano Berio's Chamber Music and the first example of the composer's use of the twelve-tone technique. In the next section, the performer is allowed greater expressive freedom as they present fragments of Debussy's "Feuilles mortes"
(Dead Leaves) from the second volume of Préludes. Finally, the materials coalesce
to form the dense counterpoint that shapes the third and culminating section.

Imprint was commissioned by Da Camera Chamber Music and Jazz and is the final work that I completed as a member of the Da Camera Young Artist Program. It was premiered by Jae-Won Bang on May 12, 2016 at the Menil Collection in Houston.

  • Composed Spring of 2016
  • Premiere May 12, 2016 | Menil Collection, Houston | Jae-Won Bang
  • Duration 3.5 minutes

ON PLANTS AND CONSCIOUSNESS

Four Experiments for Solo Violoncello

On Plants and Consciousness is both a concert work and a sound installation created for the Galveston Artist Residency's Spring 2015 show Plant People. It was inspired by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird's 1973 bestseller The Secret Life of Plants. The solo cello in this piece is used to create a musical description of plant-human interactions. The work imaginatively recounts several experiments conducted by humans in the effort to understand plant consciousness, including subjecting plants to light, physical touch, fire and even an investigation by the English naturalist Charles Darwin in which he played his bassoon for a sensitive mimosa plant. Both performer and listener enter into the "mind" of a plant as they experience its truly otherworldly reactions.

On Plants and Consciousness was featured on Houston Public Media's Music in the Making. Listen to Jonathan's interview with host Joshua Zinn.

  • Composed Winter of 2014/2015
  • Premiere April 18, 2015 | Galveston Artist Residency, Galveston | Courtenay
    Vandiver Pereira
  • Duration 8 minutes
  • Recorded Houston Public Media's Geary Performance Studio
  • Performer Courtenay Vandiver Pereira: cello

Thelonious sonatina

For Solo Piano

Being both a pianist and composer, Jonathan Booker approached this work by considering some of his favorite works for solo piano: Ravel's A la manière de...; Alban Berg's Piano Sonata, Op. 1; and Thelonious Monk's 1967 album Straight, No Chaser. In Thelonious Sonatina, these worlds come together to create a truly unique addition to the solo piano repertoire that is rewarding to both listener and performer. Thelonious Sonatina was commissioned by the Composers Symposium at the Oregon Bach Festival and was premiered at the Festival's 2014 summer program at the University of Oregon.

  • Composed Summer of 2014
  • Premiere July 2, 2014 | Aasen-Hull Hall, Eugene | Caleb Wenzel
  • Duration 2 minutes
  • Recorded Live at the Oregon Bach Festival
  • Performer Caleb Wenzel: piano

THREE PAINTINGS BY CLYFFORD STILL

For Solo Harp

Jonathan was inspired to compose this piece after visiting the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver during the summer of 2013. His goal was to essentially translate Still's work into a sonic language. To do this, he chose three contrasting works by Still – PH-118 (1947), PH-97 (1960) and PH-21 (1962) – and created a basic system that aligned intervallic structures with colors in the paintings. He then arranged this material into rising and falling figures as he thought best represented his own perception of movement on the canvasses. The result is a piece that invites listeners to aurally experience the genius of Clyfford Still and to further explore this great artist's life and work.

  • Composed Fall of 2013
  • Premiere November 24, 2013 | Moores School of Music, Houston | Abby Sliva
  • Duration 9 minutes
  • Recorded Live at the Moores School of Music
  • Performer Abby Sliva: harp