Photograph of Jon Rose and Miya Masaoka in 1996, around the time of the recording of Sliding.
Australian, born England, 1951, violin, long strings, myriad invented and adapted string instruments, samples.
Jon Rose started playing the violin at 7 years old, after winning a music scholarship to King's School Rochester. He gave up formal music education at the age of 15 and from then on, was mostly self-taught.
Throughout the 1970's, first in England 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. 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 or with an international pool of improvising musicians called The Relative Band.
In 1986, he moved to Berlin in order to more fully realise his on-going project (of some 20 years) The Relative Violin. This is the development of a Total Artform based around the one instrument. Necessary to this concept has been innovation in the fields of new instrument design (over 25 deconstructed violin instruments including the legendary double piston, triple neck wheeling violin and giant bowed instruments reaching up to 15 meters in length), environmental performance (eg. playing fences in the Australian outback using the violin as a bow), new instrumental techniques (tested sometimes in uninterrupted marathon concerts of up to 12 hours long), both analogue (built into the violins themselves) and the more recently inter-active electronics (2 bowing to Midi systems) . . . plus using the mediums of radio (over 20 major International productions for radio stations like ABC, BBC, WDR, SR, BR, Radio France, RAI, ORF, SFB, etc including Eine Violine fŸr Valentin, The Long Sufferings of Anna Magdalena Bach,and Breadfruit), live-performance-film and television to create a new, alternative and personal revised history for THE VIOLIN.
He has worked with many of the innovators in contemporary music (including Derek Bailey, Butch Morris, Fred Frith, Shelley Hirsh, Connie Bauer, Toshinori Kondo, Alvin Curran). In 1989, in co-operation with New Music Festival 'Inventionen' (Berlin), he directed the first "Relative Violin Festival" with over 50 violinists from around the world. In 1991, he directed "Das Rosenberg Museum", a surrealist satire commissioned by ZDF, (Germany's second TV channel). Other films/videos include Café Central and Shopping (both made for ORF, Austria). Jon Rose is currently performing The Chaotic Violin, one of a number of highly acclaimed works for violin and inter-active software. His current group projects are Violin Music in the Age of Shopping (with the likes of Chris Cutler, Lauren Newton, Otomo Yoshihide, etc); the Berlin Noise-Impro-Rock Band Slawterhaus (with Johannes Bauer, Dietmar Diesner & Peter Hollinger); The interactive 'Badminton' game PERKS, based on the musical innovations and perversions of Australian freak composer Percy Grainger; working in duo with Miya Masaoka; and the new impro/interactive project Exiles (with Tony Buck & Joe Williamson).
Moving into 2001, Jon Rose will be heavily involved in the Australia Ad Lib Project.
By Jon Rose
Rose, Jon (1997), A radio affair: reflections on a lifetime of radio. Resonance, vol. 5, no. 2, p. 28-30.
Rose, Jon, The Pink Violin. Melbourne: NMA.
Rose, Jon, Violin music in the age of shopping. Melbourne: NMA.
See also Jon Rose's own web site.
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