Jonathan Hepfer (b. 1983) is a percussionist, conductor, and concert curator specializing in avant-garde and experimental music. He began playing classical music at age 17 after discovering the work of John Cage while studying at SUNY Buffalo. Subsequently, Jonathan attended Oberlin Conservatory, UC – San Diego and the Musikhochschule Freiburg (with the support of a two-year DAAD fellowship), where he studied with Michael Rosen (craft), Steven Schick (interpretation) and Bernhard Wulff (metaphysics), respectively. Other major influences have included Jan Williams (aesthetics), Lewis Nielson (ethics), Brian Alegant (analysis), and William O’Brien (philosophy).
Jonathan is the Artistic Director of Monday Evening Concerts in Los Angeles, on which he performs regularly. He has taken part in the US premieres of major works by Salvatore Sciarrino, Gérard Grisey, György Kurtág, Rolf Riehm, Jo Kondo, Aldo Clementi, Klaus Lang, Ramon Lazkano, Francisco Guerrero, Thomas Meadowcroft and Simon Steen-Andersen. His collaborators have included such luminaries as Alexei Lubimov, Séverine Ballon, Natalia Pschenitschnikova, Mario Caroli and Nicholas Isherwood.
Jonathan is the director of Echoi, a flexible chamber ensemble which he co-founded in 2006 with Alice Teyssier. He is also a member of the percussion ensemble red fish blue fish, and has collaborated as a soloist, chamber musician and conductor with ensembles such as Talea, Ensemble Mosaik, Ensemble SurPlus, asamisimasa, hand werk, the Formalist Quartet, ICE and Signal. From 2011-13, he was a member of the Freiburg Percussion Ensemble, which regularly toured central Europe, as well as Vietnam, Indonesia, Mongolia and Ukraine.
As a soloist, Jonathan has focused extensively on the works of the composers Pierluigi Billone, Walter Zimmermann, Iannis Xenakis, Brian Ferneyhough, Helmut Lachenmann, Giacinto Scelsi, Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf, Georges Aperghis and Vinko Globokar. He has given solo performances at the Stone in New York, Harvard University, the Tonhalle Düsseldorf (Germany), the Odessa Philharmonic Theater (Ukraine), and the National History Museum in Ulan Bator (Mongolia).
Notable projects have included co-directing Steve Reich’s Drumming for Jacaranda Music in Santa Monica, performing Pierre Boulez’ Le Marteau sans Maître in Switzerland, Germany, Japan, Israel and New York (under the direction of the composer), music-directing a live performance of Samuel Beckett’s radio play Words and Music in Los Angeles, performing Morton Feldman’s Crippled Symmetry and For Philip Guston in Buffalo, San Diego, Freiburg, LA and Marfa (Texas), and performing in a production of Shakespeare’s Othello at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego, directed by Barry Edelstein.
Jonathan has participated in artistic residencies at Harvard, Oberlin, SUNY Buffalo, and the universities of Minnesota, Huddersfield and Leeds. He has contributed articles to Percussive Notes and Die Musik von Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf, and has written liner notes on Pierluigi Billone’s music for Kairos. Jonathan has also had the privilege of documenting the oral histories of the first generation of eminent European percussion soloists (namely, Christoph Caskel, Sylvio Gualda, Jean-Pierre Drouet, Gaston Sylvestre, Maurizio Ben-Omar), and will be releasing a book about this generation in the near future.
In 2015, he joined the faculty of Cal Arts.
This season, Jonathan looks forward to joining the Talea Ensemble in concerts in New York and Los Angeles, performing Xenakis’ Psappha on the Jacaranda concert series, and conducting Sciarrino’s Aspern Suite on Monday Evening Concerts.
Of particular interest to Jonathan is the alchemical relationship of language and music…