Composer, improviser, and sound artist, Jonathan Chen, creates work through either conceptual foci or through experimentation with materials. His work for electronics often consist of thick layers of fluctuating sounds produced through multiple feedback systems, and at other times a more simple approach such as his installation Amplified (2010), which only involves the light amplification of a person’s voice. As both an electronicist and violinist/violist his improvisational work emphasizes timbre rather than pitch, either drawing from a wide palette or honing in on a single sound.
Chen’s work has been performed or installed at The Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), The Soap Factory (Minneapolis), Sonic Circuits International Festival of Electronic Music and Art (Boston & NYC), 2 Kolegas & D22 (Beijing), Goldsmiths College (London), Chicago Cultural Center, Labor Sonar (Berlin), Eyedrum (Atlanta), The Flea (NYC), and many others.
As an improviser he has recently appeared on Sky Landing: The Music of Yoko Ono by The Miyumi Project, an album produced by Yoko Ono, Robert W. Karr Jr. & Project 120 Chicago and released as a limited edition on the Asian Improv record label, and Light, a film by Lenora Lee and Tatsu Aoki which won “Best Experimental Film” at the Canada International Film Festival.
Past performance credits also include Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), Renaissance Society (Chicago), Resonance FM (London), Malta Festival (Poznan, Poland), The Stone (NYC), Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park (Chicago), The Smithsonian Institute, Sounds Like Now (NYC), Chicago Jazz Festival, The Metro (Chicago), Roulette (NYC), and many others.
Chen has a PhD in Electronic Arts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York; a Master of Arts in Music Composition from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT; and a Master of Music in Violin Performance from Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. His work has been published by Leonardo Music Journal (MIT Press), the Deep Listening Institute, Asian Improv Records, Interval, and Striking Mechanism, among others. He lives in New York City where he is Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Communications Technology at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York.