Jonathan Thompson

Oboist, Collaborator, Educator

Collaboration with composers is fundamental to Thompson's artistic initiative to expand the oboe repertoire. Composers and performers alike are welcome to contact Thompson with any interest in collaboration. 

between the ocean and the sky (2016) by Alex Turley (Australia)

for oboe and piano

between the ocean and the sky is the result of an unusual collaboration. After finding Turley on SoundCloud, Thompson fell in love with his chamber piece Serein. After establishing contact, Thompson approached Turley for a commission for a recital that would be funded by a Kickstarter. The Kickstarter ultimately was not funded, but Turley graciously continued with the commission. The piece is a gorgeous minimalist exploration for the oboe, wherein the oboe plays in and out of sync with the piano. While notated, the oboe phases in and out of tempo, focusing on melody and rhapsody. Underneath, the piano plays various rhythmic and harmonic gestures. The final section of the piece finds the two instruments in sync finally, building to an intense yet satisfying climax. 

World premiere on September 02, 2017 by Jonathan Thompson and Israel Barrios Barrera at the Facultad de Música UNAM in Mexico City. 

Aranea (2016) by Charly Daniels (Mexico)

  for solo oboe

Aranea is the first Mexican oboe work written for Jonathan Thompson. Aranea is the second of Daniels' solo woodwind series, following a piece for solo clarinet. The piece is structured in an A-B-C-B-A palindromic form. The A sections are characterized by experimentation with atonal rows. The B sections are active and rhythmic, playing with irregular rhythmic patterns. The middle C section is soft and atmospheric, making use of multiphonics and timbral techniques. The name of the piece was inspired by a large spider that lived in Daniels' front yard while he composed the piece. 

World premiere on September 02, 2017 at the Facultad de Música UNAM in Mexico City

Remembered/Reremembered/Unremembered (2017) by Derek Tywoniuk (USA)

for oboe, clarinet/bass clarinet, violin, viola, and bass

Remembered/Reremembered/Unremembered began with a request from oboist Jonathan Thompson for work inspired by Ray Bradbury's short novel Dandelion Wine. The book unfolds over a series of short vignettes that capture the fantasy and whimsy of a boy's childhood summer experience. I set out to compose a short collection of miniatures inspired by a selection of the stories therein. 

This work is, yes, those miniatures, but has also become a work about memory. In the process of reading Bradbury's novel, I was reflecting on my own childhood summers, and considering how those memories were (and still are) continually shaped, reshaped, or faded with time. -- Derek Tywoniuk

Workshop performance on May 20, 2017 by Zafa Collective: Jonathan Thompson, Andy Hudson, Hannah Christiansen, Danielle Taylor, and Casey Karr in Chicago, IL.

2 Strands (2016) by Christopher Poovey (USA)

for oboe, bass clarinet, and 8 channel live electronics

Thompson, Ryan Espinosa, and Poovey were matched together by UNT's new music ensemble, NOVA, to collaborate and record a new work. The piece calls for extended techniques, including multiphonics, timbral trills, growls, pitch bends, and slap tonguing. The electronics stem from the live performance of the oboe and bass clarinet as well as pre-recorded and manipulated tracks from the players. 

2 Strands recording by Jonathan Thompson and Ryan Espinosa in MEIT at the University of North Texas in Denton, TX on November 23, 2016.

Triptych: three uninterrupted episodes (2016) by Andrew Rodriguez (USA)

for oboe and marimba
World premiere by Jonathan Thompson and West Fox at the University of North Texas in Denton, TX on November 20, 2016

Triptych was conceived as a three-part characterization of Wood as an element in the Chinese philosophy of Wu Xing 五行. This theory of Five Elements associates Wood with Springtime, and thus the characteristics associated with the period. The three episodes of Triptych--Impulse, Expansion, and Growth--are all of equal importance and dependent on one another. Each episode carries with it a seed of an idea that is then blossomed into a major feature of the following episode. Along with this cylindrical structure, two important characteristics as described by the Wu Xing philosophy are integral to the musical realization of Wood: strength and flexibility. These two traits are apparent at every level of the piece, and were key to determining the structure and basic materials for composition. --Andrew Rodriguez

Triptych recording by Jonathan Thompson and West Fox in MEIT at the University of North Texas on December 13, 2016.

Unafraid of Toil (2013) by William Dodson (USA)

for English horn, violin, and piano
World premiere by Jonathan Thompson, Renee Henley, and Tiffany Hyun at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL on March 09, 2013

Unafraid of Toil is in four movements for English horn, violin, and piano. Dodson and Thompson, both Harry Potter fans, collaborated together for a HP-themed recital where each piece paired with a House of Hogwarts. Dodson's ten-minute trio represents House Hufflepuff. The piece is charming, characterized by quirky themes and quick style changes. As a film composer, Dodson imbues the music with striking and vivid images that truly personify magic.

Unafraid of Toil recording by Jonathan Thompson, Lucy Duke, and Talar Khosdeghian in Chicago, IL in October, 2015

Night Minds (2012) by C. J. Darnieder (USA)

for English horn and piano/celesta
World premiere by Jonathan Thompson and Daniel Pesca at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL on May 19, 2012

Night Minds is in three movements for English horn and piano, with the second movement for EH and celesta. Each movement describes a different state of sleep. The first movement depicts an anxious sleep. The second movement, with the ethereal sound of the celesta, describes a serene sleep. The third movement, with its sprightly tempo and borderline atonality, encapsulates one of those nights where the mind is racing and cannot fall asleep. Darnieder writes a piece that is both technically and musically challenging for both English horn and piano yet dripping with charm and personality.