Jonathan Eato
Senior Lecturer

Profile

Biography

Jonathan Eato is a composer and saxophone player with interests in a wide range of contemporary musics, jazz, improvisation, South African popular music, interdisciplinary performance, music and postcoloniality, and music for dance.

In 2003 Jonathan formed the duo ev2 with Craig Vear to explore various ways of combining contemporary composition, interdisciplinary performance, and improvisation. ev2 has performed in the UK, Germany, Canada, and the Falkland Islands and their music has featured on BBC1 television's Countryfile (2006), the film shorts 5 Antarctic Solitudes by Craig Vear (2004), and with the interdisciplinary performance piece Stretch (2004-2007). ev2 recorded the album mucky blonde in 2003 and have recently finished work the forthcoming bingoise album.

Some of Jonathan's other performance credits include the world premiere recording of Michael Gordon's Trance (1996) with the contemporary music ensemble Icebreaker, horn section work with Cousteau for their album Sirena (2002), the BBC Cage Weekend at the Barbican (2004), and soloist in construction 3 by Tony Myatt and Peter Fluck – a multiple media concerto for digitally-enabled saxophone and high performance computers premiered in Berlin (2001).

As a composer Jonathan was a finalist in the 2004 Luxembourg International Prize with the orchestral piece Bling Bling Balaam (recorded by Luxembourg Sinfonietta Editions LGNM 404) and in 2006 a revised version for Århus Sinfonietta was broadcast on Danish Radio as part of the SPOR Festival. In 2006 he was commissioned by choreographer Jacky Lansley to compose a dance score based on the music of Jelly Roll Morton and the resultant piece, Anamule Dance (2007), was premiered at The Hall for Cornwall before transferring to the Clore Studio at the Royal Opera House in London. Jonathan was composer and music researcher for the Arts Council England funded performance research project Guests (dir. Jacky Lansley and Tim Brinkman, 2010). The Guests project was further developed in collaboration with Jacky Lansley, together with cellist Audrey Riley, into the full length contemporary dance piece Guest Suites (2012) which opened at the Clore Studio (Royal Opera House) before travelling to York Minster and the Barbican Theatre Plymouth.

Jonathan's interest in interdisciplinary performance environments has also continued through work as composer and sound designer for Hannah Bruce and Company with various projects including the site-responsive promenade performance piece The Look of the Thing (2012-13) and site-specific works such as The Claim (2014) for West Yorkshire Playhouse's Transform 14 festival and Cosi-Cosi (2014) for Cape Town's Infecting the City festival. This work has been supported by Arts Council England, specifically for the creation of the TlotT smartphone / iPod App that he designed and which was developed by Peter Worth and converted to Android by Theo Burt. Jonathan is currently working on A Collection of Small Choices with Hannah Bruce and Company for the reopening of Hoxton Hall in 2015. Small Choices utilises Bluetooth Low Energy technology to provide a unique approach to heritage interpretation.

From 2007-2008 Jonathan was a visiting research fellow at the Univeresity of Stellenbosch, South Africa, working on questions of performance practice in South African jazz. In 2010 he produced Black Heroes, a new solo piano recording by South African jazz legend Tete Mbambisa. Launch events were held in Johannesburg and Cape Town in April 2012 (see JISA Records homepage and facebook page for more information). He recently contributed an essay on a newly available South African jazz archive for the book Keeping Time: 1964-1974 the photographs and Cape Town jazz recordings of Ian Bruce Huntley (ed. Chris Albertyn) and a chapter for the forthcoming volume Jazz and Totalitarianism edited by Bruce Johnson for the Routledge Transnational Jazz Series. Jonathan is co-applicant with Professor Stephanus Muller for South African Jazz Cultures and the Archive (2015-17), a two year British Academy Newton Advanced Fellowship designed to facilitate a critical engagement with archival initiatives in South African jazz.

Departmental roles

Research

Overview

  • Composition
  • Jazz
  • Interdisciplinary Performance Practice
  • South African Popular Music
  • Improvisation
  • Music and Postcoloniality

Projects

South African Jazz Cultures and the Archive is a two year British Academy Newton Advanced Fellowship project designed with Professor Stephanus Muller of Stellenbosch University. The project runs from 2015-17 and aims to facilitate a critical engagement with current archival initiatives across a range of stakeholders for South African jazz by organizing and documenting a series of interdisciplinary discussion days (in both South Africa and the UK). It will also address a significant lacuna in the archive by documenting a series of interviews with musicians that focuses on musical thinking and priorities, rather than socio-historical information.

A Collection of Small Choices As composer and sound designer for Hannah Bruce and Company I am working on an audio heritage interpretation project for Hoxton Hall with Hannah, writer Matthew Morrison, app developers Peter Worth and Theo Burt, and audio engineer Dave Malham. The project will open in 2015 following extensive renovation works to Hoxton Hall, and will provide an innovative heritage interpretation experience that combines an artistic response to Hoxton Hall's archives with cutting edge Bluetooth Low Energy technology.

Jazz In South Africa Research Pages (JISA) The overriding aim of this project is to develop a critical understanding of jazz in South Africa that is informed by the thinking of the musicians who make the music. These pages are being developed as a freely accessible online resource that feature statements by musicians, and research related to the music. http://ev2.co.uk/jisa/

Critical Editions of eleven Chris McGregor scores This project began life as preparatory work for a University of York Jazz Orchestra concert. Original performance materials for eleven of Chris McGregor's compositions, where they existed, were combined with material transcribed from a variety of recordings - commerically available as well as broadcast and private recordings - in order to create a complete set of performance materials. This process highlighted the fascinating relationship between McGregor's performance practice and his notation solutions, as well as giving insights into how the compositions developed in McGregor's rehearsal room. Documentation of the University of York Jazz Orchestra concert can be found on the Jazz Orchestra site and I'm working on a critical evaluation of the process for publication.

The Look of the Thing is a site-responsive performance for unusual spaces. It was conceived and is directed by Hannah Bruce and uses iPods and smartphones to immerse audiences in an intense, individual world, sensitising them to their surroundings. Each individual, alone but within a group, is invited on a personal adventure that merges exploration and voyeurism. The creative team assembled by Hannah includes writer Matthew Morrison, actors Helen Longworth and Dan Starkey, app developer Peter Worth, and movement artists Sophie Arstall, Luke Ganz and Sam Lawrence. My role is composer and sound designer. This piece has been adapted in response to a number of different venues (e.g. the basement of Shoreditch Town Hall, Wilton's Music Hall, Surface to Air's new building for Langworth Primary School, and the backstage area of Northern Stage, Newcastle) and the performance is controlled by the TlotT App which was specifically designed and developed for this project. The Look of the Thing was shortlisted for the 2013 Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award, featured in a mini-festival co-produced by The Barbican, CREATE and Shoreditch Town Hall and was runner-up for Title Pending (the Northern Stage Award for New Theatre 2012). It is supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

Grants

  • British Academy Newton Advanced Fellowship, with Stephanus Muller, for South African Jazz Cultures and the Archive. (2015-17)

 

  • Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) Research Mobility Programme for Jazz In South Africa project work in South Africa. (2012)

 

  • Documentation Centre for Music (DOMUS) archival oral history and recording project grant, South Africa. (2010)

 

  • Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, University of Stellenbosch, investigating various aspects of jazz and jazz based musics in South Africa (2007-08)

 

  • University of Exeter Business Link Fund Grant, with Craig Vear (2005)

 

  • Shackleton Scholarship Trust, Argos Challenge Award, and John Cheek Trust, with Craig Vear, for The Falklands Project. (2005)

Collaborators

Available PhD research projects

I welcome proposals for PhD research in the areas of Composition, Jazz, Improvisation, Interdisciplinary Performance, Music and Postcolonialty, and South African Popular Music.

Publications

Selected publications

  • A Climbing Vine Through Concrete: jazz in 1960s apartheid South Africa (in press)

Chapter for Jazz and Totalitarianism, edited by Bruce Johnson for Routledge's Transnational Studies in Jazz (series editors Tony Whyton and Nicholas Gebhart).

  • A Collection of Small Choices (2015)

(variable duration, approx. 1hr) for computer technologies, viola, organ, bass guitar, harmonica, and narration. Sound design and composition for Hannah Bruce and Company's heritage interpretation commission for the re-opening of Hoxton Hall. Powered by the SmallChoices mobile app and officially launched on 18 November 2015 at Hoxton Hall, London.

A Collection of Small Choices (Hannah Bruce's website)

Small Choices App: available for iOS devices via iTunes

Small Choices App: available for Android devices via Google Play

Preview on: lovelondonloveculture blog (12 November 2015)

  • The Claim (2014)

(38 mins) for computer technologies, viola, harpsichord, piano, percussion, soprano saxophone, bass guitar and narration. Score and sound design for Hannah Bruce and Company's site specific interdisciplinary promenade performance piece The Claim. Commissioned by West Yorkshire Playhouse for Transform 14. 17 performances: West Yorkshire Playhouse (Leeds) 28-30 March 2014.

The Claim (Hannah Bruce's website)

Flyer and download instructions (pdf)

Hannah Giles' review for: whatsonstage.com (1 April 2014)

Zoe Parker's review for: culturevulture.co.uk (31 March 2014)

Natasha Tripney's preview for: The Guardian (27 March 2014)

  • Cosi-Cosi (2014)

(39 mins) sound design and score (with Sazi Dlamini) for Vuyo Mgijima's and Hannah Bruce's audio journey. Created for Infecting the City (Cape Town, 2014) and featuring Chris Antonio (San rapper), Sazi Dlamini (uhadi, umakhweyana, isiginci sethini, umqantala, dikwe, imifece, uqalo reed horn), Simon Goulding (bass), Emile Jansen (rhymes), Nunke Kadhimo (poetry), Vuyo Mgijima (djembe), and Melanie Scholtz (narration). Launched at Infecting the City 11-16 March 2014, available for download.

Cosi-Cosi (Hannah Bruce's website)

Flyer and download instructions (pdf)

  • The Ian Bruce Huntley Archive in Albertyn, Chris (ed.) 2013 Keeping Time: 1964-1974 the photographs and Cape Town Jazz Recordings of Ian Bruce Huntley (Chris Albertyn and Associates CC, Durban).

Full text available at: Electric Jive: The Huntley Archive

Gwen Ansell's review for Business Day (25 February 2014)

Ben Robertson's review for africanjazz.info (January 2014)

Francis Gooding's review for The Wire (Issue 359, January 2014)

  • You Ain’t Gonna Hear Me ‘Cause You Think You Hear Me: South African jazz’s struggle against European cliché. Paper presented at Rhythm Changes II: Rethinking Jazz Cultures Conference, Salford (UK), April 2013.

Conference review by Ian Patterson at: allaboutjazz.com

  • Tete Mbambisa - Quiet Hero of South African Jazz. Jazz-E Magazine, 1 September 2012.

Full text available at: jazze.co.za

  • Township Comets: the impact of South African jazz on the UK scene. Paper presented at the 16th Biennial IASPM (International Association for the Study of Popular Music) conference Situating Popular Musics, Grahamstown (SA), 27 June - 1 July 2011.

Full text available at: iaspm.net

Full publications list

  • The Ian Bruce Huntley Archive in Albertyn, Chris (ed.) 2013 Keeping Time: 1964-1974 the photographs and Cape Town Jazz Recordings of Ian Bruce Huntley (Chris Albertyn and Associates CC, Durban).

Full text available at: Electric Jive: The Huntley Archive

Gwen Ansell's review for Business Day (25 February 2014)

Ben Robertson's review for africanjazz.info (January 2014)

Francis Gooding's review for The Wire (Issue 359, January 2014)

  • (with Lindelwa Dalamba) Umhlaba Wethu: landscape in the Eastern Cape jazz imaginary. Paper at Hearing Landscape Critically: Music, Place, and the Spaces of Sound, Stellenbosch University (South Africa) 9-11 September 2013.
  • Serve with Curry and Rice: the Ghoemaisation of Jazz at the Cape. Paper presented at the 17th Biennial IASPM (International Association for the Study of Popular Music) conference Gijón (Spain), June 2013.
  • Unheard Music, Unseen Images: recordings and photographs from the Ian Bruce Huntley archive. Paper presented at the South African Jazz Cultures: indaba / discussion day, University of York, Saturday 20 April 2013.
  • You Ain’t Gonna Hear Me ‘Cause You Think You Hear Me: South African jazz’s struggle against European cliché. Paper presented at Rhythm Changes II: Rethinking Jazz Cultures Conference, Salford (UK), April 2013.

Conference review by Ian Patterson at: allaboutjazz.com

  • Tete Mbambisa - Quiet Hero of South African Jazz. Jazz-E Magazine, 1 September 2012.

Full text available at: jazze.co.za

  • Tradition, Modernity, and Cultural Identity in Contemporary South Africa: the music of Tete Mbambisa, Louis Moholo-Moholo and Zim Ngqawana. Paper presented at the 19th International Musicological Society (IMS) conference Musics, Cultures, Identities, Rome (Italy), July 2012.
  • Has Anyone Heard Yakhal’ Inkomo? Listening to the voices of South Africa’s Jazz Community. Paper presented at the Rhythm Changes: Jazz and National Identities Conference, Amsterdam (Netherlands), September 2011.
  • Township Comets: the impact of South African jazz on the UK scene. Paper presented at the 16th Biennial IASPM (International Association for the Study of Popular Music) conference Situating Popular Musics, Grahamstown (SA), 27 June - 1 July 2011.

Full text available at: iaspm.net

  • Know Where You Are: Kenny Wheeler, the performers' composer. Paper presented at the 17th Leeds International Jazz Conference, Time Captured - Jazz Composition, Composing and Composers, Leeds (UK), April 2011.
  • Modernity with Roots and Fragrance: Chris McGregor’s late Brotherhood of Breath compositions. Paper presented at the IMS-SASRIM conference Echoes of Empires: Musical Encounters after Hegemony, Stellenbosch (SA), July 2010.
  • Jazz In South Africa Research Pages (JISA): An online education and research resource. Paper presented at the 10th SAJE (South African Association for Jazz Education) conference Jazz Education in South Africa: Past, Present and Future, Cape Town (SA), March 2010.
  • The Jazz Voice in South Africa: A Developmental Physiology. Paper presented at the 2nd SAMUS (South African Society for Research in Music) conference African Voices, Port Elizabeth (SA), August 2008.
  • Thoughts Towards a Rhythmic Understanding of Jazz in South Africa. Paper presented at the 9th SAJE (South African Association for Jazz Education) conference AIM for JAME: Jazz in Africa and the Middle East, Cape Town (SA), March 2008.

Compositions

  • A Collection of Small Choices (2015)

(variable duration, approx. 1hr) for computer technologies, viola, organ, bass guitar, harmonica, and narration. Sound design and composition for Hannah Bruce and Company's heritage interpretation commission for the re-opening of Hoxton Hall. Powered by the SmallChoices mobile app and officially launched on 18 November 2015 at Hoxton Hall, London.

A Collection of Small Choices (Hannah Bruce's website)

Small Choices App: available for iOS devices via iTunes

Small Choices App: available for Android devices via Google Play

  • The Claim (2014)

(38 mins) for computer technologies, five violas, harpsichord, piano, percussion, soprano saxophone, bass and narration. Score and sound design for Hannah Bruce's site specific interdisciplinary promenade performance piece The Claim. Commissioned by West Yorkshire Playhouse for Transform 14. 17 performances: West Yorkshire Playhouse (Leeds) 28-30 March 2014.

The Claim (Hannah Bruce's website)

Flyer and download instructions (pdf)

Hannah Giles' review for: whatsonstage.com (1 April 2014)

Zoe Parker's review for: culturevulture.co.uk (31 March 2014)

Natasha Tripney's preview for: The Guardian (27 March 2014)

  • Cosi-Cosi (2014)

(39 mins) sound design and score (with Sazi Dlamini) for Vuyo Mgijima's and Hannah Bruce's audio journey created for Infecting the City (Cape Town, 2014). Featuring Chris Antonio (San rapper), Sazi Dlamini (uhadi, umakhweyana, isiginci sethini, umqantala, dikwe, imifece, uqalo reed horn), Simon Goulding (bass), Emile Jansen (rhymes), Nunke Kadhimo (poetry), Vuyo Mgijima (djembe), and Melanie Scholtz (narration). Launched at Infecting the City 11-16 March 2014, available for download.

Cosi-Cosi (Hannah Bruce's website)

Flyer and download instructions (pdf)

  • Some Reflections (2013)

(24 mins) for computer technologies, viola, harmonium, and narration. Score and sound design for Sam Lawrence's and Hannah Bruce's site responsive interdisciplinary promenade performance piece Some Reflections. 3 performances: Max Gate National Trust property (Dorchester).

Some Reflections (Hannah Bruce's website)

  • The Look of the Thing (2012-13)

(variable duration: 30-40 mins) for computer technologies, saxophone, viola, electric guitar, bass guitar and narration. Score and sound design for Hannah Bruce's site responsive interdisciplinary promenade performance piece The Look of the Thing. Multiple performances: Space @ Clarence Mews (Hackney), Shoreditch Town Hall (London), Wilton's Music Hall (London), Northern Stage (Newcastle).

The Look of the Thing (Hannah Bruce's website)

  • Suite Inserts (2012)

(approx. 15 mins) for solo cello and laptop. Part of score for Jacky Lansley's Guest Suites. 4 performances: Clore Studio Upstairs (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden), Chapter House (York Minster), Barbican Theatre (Plymouth).Guests (2010)(approx. 50 mins) for soprano saxophone, piano and computer technologies. Music and sound installation for a multi-disciplinary performance piece. Dance Research Studio (dir. Jacky Lansley and Tim Brinkman) Hall for Cornwall, Truro (UK).

Guest Suites (Jacky Lansley's website)

Martin Dreyer's review for: The Press (6 March 2012)

Judith Mackrell's review for: The Guardian (19 February 2012)

Erin Johnson's review for: bachtrack.com (19 February 2012)

  • Here, at Home (2008)

(approx. 15 mins) for computer technologies. Music and sound installation for a multi-disciplinary performance piece. 6 performances, US Gallery buildings, Stellenbosch (South Africa).

Here, at home (Hannah Bruce's website)

  • Anamule Dance (2007)

(16 mins) for piano and computer technologies. Jacky Lansley Dance Theatre. 5 performances: Hall for Cornwall, Truro, and Clore Studio, Royal Opera House, London.

Anamule Dance (Jacky Lansley's website)

View from the Shore / Anamule Dance programme (pdf)

Judith Mackrell's review for: The Guardian (30 January 2007)

Francesca Morrison's review for: The Stage (19 January 2007)

Charlotte Cripps' preview for: The Independent (11 January 2007)

  • Bling Bling Balaam [revised version] (2006)

(14 mins) for large mixed ensemble. Århus Sinfonietta, SPOR Festival, Århus, Denmark.

  • Falklands Project_Exeter (2005) with Craig Vear

(19 mins) for mixed ensemble and computer technologies. Premiere ev2 and the loud [AND] soft band. Veuve, Exeter.

  • Falklands Suite (2005) with Craig Vear

(20 mins) for mixed ensemble and computer technologies. Premiere ev2 and FICS, Stanley Cathedral, Falkland Islands. Live radio broadcast Falkland Islands Broadcasting Service. Excerpt used for 'Countryfile', BBC One Television.

  • Bright Blades and Heart Grey (2005)

(25 mins) for tenor voice and harp. Premiere James Gilchrist and Alison Nicholls, World Harp Congress, Dublin. Second performance Gilchrist / Nicholls, Spring Music Festival of New Music, York May 2008

  • Bling Bling Balaam (2004)

(14 mins) for large mixed ensemble. Premiere Luxembourg Sinfonietta, Ettelbruck, Luxembourg.

  • mucky blonde (2003) with Craig Vear

(39 mins) nine pieces for soprano saxophone and percussion. Several performances in London (UK), Stanley (Falkland Islands), Karlsruhe (Germany), Exeter (UK), York (UK)

  • Sketches for the Divine Grotesque (2002)

(6 mins) solo bass clarinet. Premiere by Ian Mitchell, Mary Harris Memorial Chapel, Exeter (UK).

  • Music for Film (2000)

(5 mins) solo harp. Premiere by Alison Nicholls, Cambridge (UK).

  • Dance of the Seven Veils (1999)

(5 mins) soprano saxophone and percussion. Composed for Giralda Theatre's, Edinburgh Fringe production of Oscar Wilde's Salome (dir. Roma Backhouse).

  • Laulu (1998)

(7 mins) flute, oboe, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, piano. Capricorn, York (UK).

  • Old Flimsy’s Forecast (1997)

(11 mins) flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, cello. The Ensemble, Djangoly Recital Rooms, Nottingham (UK).

  • A Quick One With You Steven (1996)

(6 mins) saxophone quartet. Marcel’s Mules, London (UK).

  • Plane Measures (1996)

(8 mins) tape piece for contemporary dance (chor. Nichole Richter). Cochrane Theatre, London (UK).

  • Narrow Squeak (1995)

(3 mins) soprano saxophone, double bass, drum kit. Live performances New Works Festival, Leicester (UK), Battenburg Festival of Contemporary Art, London (UK). Recorded for film installation by Elena Näsänen and Alice Corps, Helsinki (Finland) and a short film by Erkka Nissinen, London (UK).

  • Two Jazz Cameos - A Train, Ain't Misbehavin' (1995) with Craig Vear

(2 mins) saxophone, double bass, drum kit. Soho Jazz Festival, London (UK).

  • Solo Measures (1995)

(4 mins) solo soprano saxophone to accompany contemporary dance (chor. Nicole Richter). Chisenhale Dance, London (UK).

  • Approximate Measures (1995)

(12 mins) clarinet, tenor saxophone/typewriter, tuba to accompany contemporary dance (chor. Nicole Richter). Bonnie Bird Theatre, London (UK).

Recordings

As composer:
  • Luxembourg Sinfonietta International Composition Prize 2004 (Editions LGNM, 2004)

[see also Jonathan Eato's media page]

 

As performer:

  • Cousteau Sirena (Palm Pictures 2083-2, 2002)
  • ev2 Mucky Blonde (ev2 2003)
  • Icebreaker Trance (Cantaloupe CA21018, 2004)

As producer:

  • Tete Mbambisa Black Heroes (JISA CD01, 2012)

Ben Robertson's review for: intuition-online.co.uk (October 2012)

Review article in: Classic Feel Magazine (July 2012)

Gwen Ansell's review article for: Mail and Guardian (8 June 2012)

Don Albert's review for: artslink.co.za (26 April 2012)

Teaching

Undergraduate

  • Composition
  • Jazz Studies
  • Hijacking Popular Melodies: from Bing Crosby to KRS-ONE
  • Mzansi Fo Sho: South African Popular Music, Culture and Politics
  • Music for Dance
  • The Jazz Diaspora
  • The Contemporary Big Band

Contact details

Dr Jonathan Eato
Department of Music
University of York
Heslington
York
YO10 5DD

Tel: +44 (0)1904 32 4792