Chris Jonas is a composer, intermedia/video artist, conductor and instrumentalist working on the intersection of the visual and acoustic, creating pieces that engage and challenge context. Along with partner Molly Sturges, Jonas founded Littleglobe in 2005.
Together they have received many commissions for projects in the US and Europe. Works from early in the history of Littleglobe and their collaboration include the installation soundtrack and video for La Reina Roja and Odenwald 1152 (2005 and 2007 with painter Ricardo Mazal, commissioned by the Museo Nacional de Antropología de México in Mexico City), night (2004, an experimental video/intermedia performance project created at the Obras Artist-in-Residence Center in Alentejo, Portugal), moment (an intermedia community ensemble performance project for EU Capital of Culture Festival 2005 in Cork, Ireland), In Situ and Malangan (2007 and 2009, site-specific musical compositions commissioned for SITE Santa Fe’s sixth and seventh international Biennial exhibitions), and Memorylines (2007, an intermedia community-dialogue new opera bridging cultural, economic and generational boundaries in Santa Fe, commissioned by the Santa Fe Opera and the Lensic Performing Arts Center). Jonas received the 2007 New Visions/New Mexico award for the video component of Memorylines.
Prior to his move to Santa Fe in 2001, Jonas gained international recognition while living in New York City as a composer and saxophone player recording 25 albums, touring internationally, and leading the critically acclaimed ensemble the Sun Spits Cherries. It was during this time that he developed the musical "conduction" and compositional techniques that would characterize many of the logistical and aesthetic systems that he would apply for musical and intermedia projects. His New York City years also included long term membership in experimental/jazz bands led by Cecil Taylor, Anthony Braxton, William Parker, the Brooklyn Sax Quartet and in Butch Morris‘ conduction ensembles. During this period he traveled worldwide guest conducting and composing for orchestras and creative ensembles and receiving commissions for orchestral works, circus noir, soundtracks, installations and new music ensembles.
Among Jonas’ recent commissions are multiple large-scale pieces for the Santa Fe Opera, live soundtracks for silent films and soundtracks for feature documentaries including Split Estate (which won a 2010 Emmy) and Sembene! (now in production, a Sundance Institute fund recipient). He has written pieces for the Library of Congress Film Program and the New Mexico Film Office. Jonas is now at work on a number of new projects including a multiple year intermedia and music piece GARDEN with ensembles the San Francisco-based Del Sol String Quartet (Garden I "Night") and most recently NYC's TILT Brass (Garden II "House").
As a core artist of Littleglobe, Jonas has recently created the Turn the Lens community filmmaking program along with Erin Hudson. "Centennial Class," the pilot of the Turn the Lens program, is a two-year filmmaking collaboration, working with five rural New Mexico public high schools and tells the story of five New Mexican teenagers and their final two years of high school. This project, created via a contract with GEAR UP New Mexico/NM Department of Higher Education, culminates in the "Centennial Class" feature documentary, released June 2011.
Jonas has taught music and media at Wesleyan University, the College of Santa Fe and most recently in the new media arts program at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. He is Vice President of Anthony Braxton's Tri-Centric Foundation and appears on numerous recent Braxton albums.
Jonas received his BA (1988) from Oberlin College in Art History/Art Studio, an MA (1999) from Wesleyan University in World Music / Composition (specializing in intermedia performance) and a Certificate (2001) in Multimedia Digital Design from New York University.
Along with partner Molly Sturges, Jonas received the 2008 United States Artists Award in music and media as Simon Fellow.