Jonathon Grasse


Composer/ethnomusicologist Jonathon Grasse received his Ph.D. from UCLA in music composition with the cognate in ethnomusicology, where he taught in the music and ethnomusicology departments from 1999-2005. His 2012 composition “Triptych” for string trio won the 2012 American Composers Forum – LA Chapter competition. His 2017 album Six Compositions (CD Baby) is available on all major streaming services. Jonathon produces CSUDH’s Festival of New and Improvised Music, featuring festival residency of the LA New Music ensemble Brightwork. His compositions have been performed throughout California, and in New York, Europe, China, and Mexico. He has received grants from the American Composers Forum. In 2011, Centaur Records released his CD Chamber Music.

Jonathon’s ethnomusicological work on Minas Gerais, Brazil focuses on regional identity, Afro-mineiro traditions, and the Clube da Esquina popular music movement. His forthcoming book Hearing Brazil: Music in Minas Gerais will be published by University Press of Mississippi in 2020. Jonathon is also authoring the forthcoming book The Corner Club by Milton Nascimento and Lô Borges, part of Bloomsbury publishing’s series 33 1/3 Brazil. His recent journal articles on Brazilian music include: “Vissungo’s Chant of the Earth,” forthcoming in Columbia University’s Current Musicology (Winter, 2019); “Musical Spaces and Deep Regionalism in Minas Gerais, Brazil” Musicology Research/UK (Summer, 2018); “Calundu’s Winds of Divination: Music and Black Religiosity in Eighteenth and Nineteenth-Century Minas Gerais Brazil,” Yale Journal of Music and Religion (Fall, 2017). Further publications include articles and reviews on Brazilian music topics, and a book chapter on American composer Lou Harrison’s works for Indonesian-inspired gamelan. An electric guitarist specializing in solo and group improvisation, he has performed and recorded with, and composed for, several Los Angeles area ensembles, including his group the Native Plant Society.