Jonathan Besser is a musician, composer and musical director, and is currently the Musical Director of the Auckland Ballet Company.
His commissions include the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, the Wellington Sinfonia, and the New Zealand String Quartet (touring schools with them in 1994). He is leader of his own New Music groups most notably the ‘Besser Ensemble’ (1987-1997) touring schools throughout N.Z. with major support from Creative New Zealand, as well as making numerous recordings.
Jonathan is also the founding member of Free Radicals (electronic music) and Triphonics, touring China with Triphonics in March 1996. In 1997 he performed at the WOMAD festival (Auckland), and he had his orchestral piece “No Riff” premiered by the Wellington Symphonia. In June 1997 he collaborated with Warwick Broadhead on a huge movement music theatre spectacle at Downstage theatre, ‘The life and Times of Constance Flux’. In 1998, Besser has traveled to New Caledonia to produce original film music for the new Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Center in Noumea and in the 1998 Wellington International Arts Festival he performed solo (piano) nightly at the Dans Paleis.
In March of that year Besser premiered his show ‘A quick look at Sound Light and Time’ in the Fringe Festival. He is currently living in Auckland where he was 1998 Composer in Residence with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, director of the New Romantics, as well as current Musical Director of the Auckland Ballet. His latest new performance group, ‘Bravura’ are currently performing around Australia and New Zealand. Jonathan was a finalist in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Music 2000 Prize, and the composer for Mary Jane O’Reilly’s ‘Te Rangi Marie’ Millennium dawn event, collaborating with the Waihirere Kapa Haka group.
Image above header: Jonathan Besser at home at his piano. Photograph reproduced here with permission from Jonathan Besser. Photography by Daniel Davis. © JoM 2013