Jon Rose


He started playing the violin at 7 years old, after winning a music scholarship to King's School Rochester.
He gave up formal music education at the age of 15 and from then on, was mostly self-taught.

Throughout the 1970's, first in England then in Australia, he played, composed and studied in a large variety of music genres - from sitar playing to country & western; from 'new music' composition to commercial studio session work; from Bebop to Italian club bands; from Big band serial composition to Sound Installations.
He became the central figure in the development of Free Improvisation in Australia, performing in almost every Art Gallery, Jazz and Rock club in the country - either solo or with an international pool of improvising musicians called The Relative Band.

In 1986, he moved to Berlin in order to more fully realise his on-going project (of some 20 years) The Relative Violin. This is the development of a Total Artform based around the one instrument.
Necessary to this concept has been innovation in the fields of new instrument design (over 25 deconstructed violin instruments including the legendary double piston, triple neck wheeling violin and giant bowed instruments reaching up to 15 meters in length), environmental performance (eg. playing fences in the Australian outback using the violin as a bow), new instrumental techniques (tested sometimes in uninterrupted marathon concerts of up to 12 hours long), both analogue (built into the violinsthemselves) and the more recently inter-active electronics (2 bowing to Midi systems) using the mediums of radio (20 major International productions including Eine Violine für Valentin), live-performance-film and television to create a new, alternative and personal revised history for THE VIOLIN.

Jon Rose performs his group projects and solo music in upwards of 50 concerts every year - in North America, Japan, Australia, South America, China, Scandinavia and just about every country in West & East Europe. He is featured regularly in the main festivals of New Music, Jazz and Sound Art eg. Strasbourg New Music Fest.; New Music America; Moers New Jazz Fest.; European Media Fest.; The Vienna Festival.; Ars Electronica; The Northsea Jazz Fest.; Dokumenta; Roma-Europa Festival; Festival D'Automne; Festival Musique Actuelle; The Berlin Jazz Fest. etc. Recently he has also been invited to curate Contemporary Music Festivals in Germany (eg.Berlin Urbane Aboriginale) and Austria (eg.Wels 'Unlimited').

In 1998 Jon Rose curated "STRING 'EM UP" in Berlin, a Festival of radical string players and their instruments. Jon Rose has appeared on over 50 records and CD's; He has worked with many of the innovators in contemporary music (from Derek Bailey to Butch Morris to Fred Frith to Shelley Hirsh to Connie Bauer to Toshinori Kondo to Alvin Curran, etc).

In 1989, in co-operation with New Music Festival 'Inventionen' (Berlin), he directed the first "Relative Violin Festival" with over 50 violinists from around the world.

In 1991, he directed "Das Rosenberg Museum", a surrealist satire commissioned by ZDF, (Germany's second TV channel).
Other films/videos include Café Central and Shopping (both made for ORF, Austria).
Jon Rose is also the originator of 2 books - The Pink Violin and Violin Music in the Age of Shopping (both published by NMA, Melbourne).

Jon Rose is currently performing The Chaotic Violin, one of a number of highly acclaimed works for violin and inter-active software.

His current group projects are -

Violin Music in the Age of Shopping (with the likes of Chris Cutler, Lauren Newton, Otomo Yoshihide, etc);
The infamous Berlin Noise-Impro-Rock Band Slawterhaus (with Johannes Bauer, Dietmar Diesner & Peter Hollinger);
The interactive 'Badminton' game PERKS, based on the musical innovations and perversions of Australian freak composer Percy Grainger;
and the new impro/interactive project
Exiles (with Tony Buck & Joe Williamson).

1998 sees 2 new duos from Jon Rose; 'The Crow' project with Bob Ostertag and 'The All String Duo' with Miya Masaoka (Koto)


1980 Young Composers Festival Fellowship (Australia Council)
1984 Innovative Music (stipendium by the Australia Council)
1987 Künstlerhaus Bethanien Stipendium (Berlin)
1989 D.A.A.D. Stipendium (Berlin)
1990 Rosenberg - A Reconstruction (work in progress)
2012 The Australia Council Don Banks Music Award

Compositions for Violin

1974 Figures of 8 (solo)
1976-78 From The Relative Violin Notebook (various Ensemble scores, violin and mixed group ensembles)
1978 Little Bits (for violin and 19 piece Jazz Big Band)

Major Film/Music performance works - (available as super 8 and Video)

Relative Violin 1 (double film projection)
Flying Lessons
Relative Violin 2
Relative Violin 3


1989 "The Relative Violin Festival" (Berlin, with over 50 violinists)

Sendungen im ORF-Kunstradio