Strings Program Director
Jonathan (or Jon by the people that are closest to him), is a native of Woodbridge, Virginia. He has been studying classical violin since he was 7 years old under the Suzuki method. In high school, he was involved with the Youth Orchestra of Prince William County (YOPW) where they were invited to play at Carnegie Hall in 2006.
He graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2011, with a B.A in music and a minor in general business where he studied under great musicians who have performed with several symphonies including the Richmond Symphony.
He now resides in Richmond’s Byrd Park area where he teaches private violin and freelances for weddings and other musical projects. He is entering his third season as a community member of University of Richmond Symphony Orchestra. He currently is involved with the worship team at Harvest Renewal Church.
When he is not playing violin or teaching you can find him running, biking, or pretty much doing anything outdoors.
Tell us a little bit about your musical background; when you first started, the first experience that made you want to become a musician.
I know this may seem like a cliché answer; however, it’s the only way to accurately describe this life-changing event. I feel that the violin picked me. I was watching a program on PBS when I was seven years old, and a famous violinist is using his crutches to walk to a chair center stage. I don’t remember the piece, but I remember seeing him transform from a man with a physical disability to a performer commanding and captivating the attention of his audience members—particularly me. From then on, I was hooked. The violinist was playing with such fervor and emotion along with a huge orchestra behind him; I was done for. I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life without even realizing it yet. All I could do at that moment was point at the TV with a confident finger and say at the top of my lungs, “That’s what I want to do!” Well, you know the rest; as they always say, “The rest was history”. Oh, and that famous violinist who walked out with the crutches was none other than Itzhak Perlman.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Stephane Grappelli, Punch Brothers, Miles Davis, Luther Vandross, Sade, Quincy Jones, Temper Trap, George Benson, Tchaikovsky, Drake, Piazzolla, Debussy; Earth, Wind and Fire, Sinatra, Hall and Oates, Taylor Swift (Tay-Tay just gets me); the list could just go on and on.
Who are some of your biggest inspirations, musical, and non-musical?
Quincy Jones (Have you read his autobiography?)
Steve Martin (He’s hilarious. Also read, Born Standing Up)
Julia Cameron (Read, The Artist’s Way, series; it completely changed and modeled me into the creative force I am now.)
If you could follow in any musician’s footsteps, who would it be?
Quincy Jones —definitely; again read his autobiography, It’s incredible. But Jones has to be my guy because of his sheer determination and ambition that helped him succeed and work on numerous, well recognized projects.
He taught himself trumpet by sitting outside of jazz clubs. He created a band to tour around Europe, only to make enough money, at a time, to get to the next gig and barely enough to get back home; Miles Davis felt threaten by him, he produced countless hits and albums (look at Michael Jackson), and most importantly he was executive producer for the greatest television show ever created, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air—Need I say more?
If you had the ability to pick anybody to collaborate with musically, who would it be?
Stephane Grappelli. His improv at gypsy jazz is something I aspire to.
What are your plans for the future of your music?
To continue improving and working on my craft as a violinist and teacher, to eventually start or run my own music school, to release an album of my own music, compose, tour, play at an outdoor music festival, and have my own PBS special.