jon magnussen / composer



Recent News


"Roadtrip" plays at UH Hilo's ‘IMILOA Astronomy Center

Jon's "Roadtrip" heads for UH Hilo's ‘IMILOA in an August 31, 2013 program presented by Ebb & Flow Arts as part of the ongoing “Music of the Spheres” program – avant garde electronic music with in-house effects and full dome films.


Chamber Music Hawai‘i receives Kosasa Foundation grant to record "Paka‘a Lanakila"

Thanks to a grant from the Kosasa Foundation, "Paka‘a Lanakila" will be recorded and edited in English as well as in Hawaiian.  More on that in the coming months...


New arrangement of Lili‘uokalani's "Imi au ia ‘oe e ke aloha"

Jon leads the performance of his SAB arrangement for the newly-formed UH West O‘ahu University Chorus at the Kapolei Choral Festival.

"Roadtrip" premieres at Paliku Arts Festival

On a commission from Ebb and Flow Arts, Jon composes "Roadtrip" and collaborates with Joseph Ciotti (computer-generated visuals) for the premiere at the Paliku Arts Festival on the campus of Windward Community College.  The work is presented by  Ebb & Flow Arts as part of the ongoing “Music of the Spheres” program: avant garde electronic music with in-house effects and full dome films.





Kala Koa Entertainment reprises Jon's string arrangements in SoCal HAPA concert

Jon's string arrangements for well-known HAPA tunes "Olinda Road", "Ka Uluwehi O Ke Kai", "Manoa in the Rain", and more are reprised at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center for the November 10, 2012 performance.


Jon scores the featured trailer at 32nd Hawai‘i International Film Festival

Jon collaborates with film maker Luke Aguinaldo and composes, performs and produces the music for the HIFF 2012 trailer, which appears before each of the 219 festival films during the 32nd Hawaii International Film Festival, and in TV ads.


Paka`a Lanakila! travels to Ko‘ele Lodge on Lana‘i

Flutist Zoe Goode joins the Spring Wind Quintet and Jon for the neighbor island performance.  Mahalo to sponsors University of Hawaii at Manoa Outreach College, Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts, the Hawaii Friends of the Library and Four Seasons Resorts and Hotels (Ko‘ele Lodge).





Kala Koa Entertainment taps Jon for string arrangements in SoCal HAPA concert

Jon creates string arrangements for well-known HAPA tunes "Olinda Road", "Ka Uluwehi O Ke Kai", "Manoa in the Rain", and more.  Musician and concert promoter Mitch Chang leads the strings at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center for the November 13, 2011 show.


Paka`a Lanakila! premieres at Doris Duke and Paliku Theaters on O`ahu, celebrates Chamber Music Hawaii's 30th season

Funded generously by the Honolulu Mayor's Office on Culture and the Arts, Jon again collaborates as narrator with Chamber Music Hawaii's Spring Wind Quintet on his newly completed wind-themed work for narrator, flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon (with an appearance of Hawaiian ka`eke`eke and pu instruments). 

Jon composed Paka`a Lanakila! for audiences young and young-at-heart, based on the Kaua`i story of Paka`a (retold by Frederick B. Wichman in his "Polihale and other Kaua`i Legends" [Bamboo Ridge Press]).  The piece tells the story of a young boy who faces adversity and ultimately triumphs, and it resonates with themes of love, respect, courage, rejection, acceptance, family, and community. 


Jon conducts Limón Performances in Culiacán and Mazatlán, Mexico

Once again collaborating with the amazing Limón Dance Company, Jon travels to Sinaloa (Mexico) to conduct the Orquesta Sinfónica Sinaloa de las Artes in Culiacán and Mazatlán, performing the music of Heitor Villa-Lobos and Norman Dello Joio.  Wonderful music, old friends, new friends... it doesn't get better!


UH Manoa Dance Program dances to Fantasy for Violin and Synthesizers

Choreographer Amy Schiffner creates a terrific new piece entitled "Greyscale" based on Jon's "Fantasy for Violin and Synthesizers" from long ago (college days). Cool lighting with CFL lightbulbs, wonderful dancing, and smart choreography.  Five performances over 2 weekends. 

Contemporary Music Ensemble Korea (CMEK) premieres below the sky

On February 11 at Orvis Auditorium (UH Manoa campus), Chi-wan Park, piri and Woong-sik Kim, janggu perform Jon's new duo below the sky for these Korean traditional instruments. 




Oahu Choral Society premieres BUMP! with choreography by Amy Schiffner

On October 24 at Paliku Theatre, Esther Yoo (director, Honolulu Symphony Chorus and Honolulu Chamber Choir) and pianists Thomas Yee and Grant Mack premiere BUMP!, a 17-min. Halloween-themed work for chorus and piano four-hands.  (Yes, that's right -- from "things that go BUMP in the night.")   Kudos to choreographer Amy Schiffner (UH Mänoa faculty), lighting designer Lloyd Rifod, and the terrific dancers from the UH Manoa dance department for creating a very mysterious and hallowed eve atmosphere.  Thanks to the Honolulu Mayor's Office on Culture and the Arts for generously supporting the commission and performance.

Chamber Music Hawaii premieres part one of Päka`a Lanakila!

Commissioned with generous funding from the Honolulu Mayor's Office on Culture and the Arts, the terrific Spring Wind ensemble from Chamber Music Hawaii (Marsha Schweitzer, basson; Jonathan Parrish, horn; James Moffitt, clarinet; with guests Claire Butin, flute;  Brad Shimizu, oboe; and yours truly as narrator) premieres part one of Päka`a: Lanakila! at Paliku Theatre on Oct. 4  and at the Honolulu Academy of Arts on Oct. 10.  The work, for wind quintet and narrator, tells the story of young Päka`a, who lives in the cliffs of Ke-ahi-ahi on the island of Kaua`i, and who outwits the local fishermen in a canoe race against all odds.  (Watch for the conclusion during next season's 30th anniversary of Chamber Music Hawaii!)


ETHEL brings Outta This World (unplugged) to the Moab Music Festival (UT) and the Museum of Communications in St. Petersburg (Russia)

Thanks to a generous American Composers Forum ENCORE program award, "America's favorite string band" performs Outta This World at the Red Cliffs Adventure Lodge (also supported in part by a grant from WESTAF).  Then, a few weeks later, they land in St. Petersburg for a Russian concert tour supported by CEC ArtsLink, which includes performances in St. Petersburg, Petrozavodsk, Kaliningrad and Moscow.  Here's a fun blog of their Russian debut.


ETHEL rocks in new 'unplugged' version of Outta This World

ETHEL (Cornelius Dufallo and Mary Rowell, violins; Ralph Farris, viola; Dorothy Lawson, 'cello) premiered the unplugged version of Outta This World on May 13 at the Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert in LaGuardia Performing Arts Center...  what seriously awesome performers!  Jon led the pre-performance audience interaction/improvisation with a great assist from those intrepid ETHEL specialists.  Fun, fun, fun...


Hawaii Youth Symphony premieres KE AO

Commissioned by the HYS in celebration of the HYS' 45th and Maestro Henry Miyamura's 25th anniversary with the HYS, KE AO was premiered at Blaisdell Concert Hall on April 11 by the HYS, Honolulu Symphony Chorus (Esther Yoo, dir.) and ho`opa`a chanters from Halau Hula Ka No`eau (Michael Pili Pang, kumu hula) -- a terrific first performance.  Bravi, tutti!!!  See the following HYS Facebook photo links:   Pic 1  Pic 2


Meet The Composer's MetLife Creative Connections program award

Thanks to a generous Meet The Composer award, Jon will participate in ETHEL Foundation for the Arts' presentation of Outta This World on May 13 at the Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert in LaGuardia Performing Arts Center. 




American Composers Forum ENCORE program award

Thanks to a generous award from ACF's ENCORE program, ETHEL will perform Jon's first string quartet (it's been 11 years since Outta This World's premiere!).  ETHEL will be performing the "unplugged" version in May.

Honolulu Symphony Chorus performs Psalm 23

The Honolulu Symphony Chorus, directed by Esther Yoo, presented Psalm 23 for SATB chorus and organ, at St. Andrew's Cathedral in Honolulu, with John Renke at the organ.  

Hawai`i Youth Opera Chorus performs "Christmas Bells"

The Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus, directed by Nola Nahulu, presented the Hawai`i premiere of Christmas Bells for 3-part treble chorus and piano, atKawaiaha'o Church in Honolulu.


Honolulu Symphony Chorus premieres Psalm 23

The Symphony Chorus joined with the Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus to present "A Festival of Psalms", which featured the Honolulu Chamber Choir's premiere of Psalm 23 for SATB chorus and organ at Kawaiaha'o Church on November 25, with Buddy Naluai at the organ and conducted by HSC artistic director Esther Yoo.


PBS Hawai`i premieres State of Aloha documentary

Jon contributed some original music for this TV version of State of Aloha which premiered on PBS Hawai`i on August 27.  Directed by Anne Misawa of the Academy for Creative Media (University of Hawai`i at Manoa), the feature-length version will show at the Hawai`i International Film Fest (October).

"TWO NEW versions of Psalm 23 available -- SATB and SSAA

Originally composed for solo voice and piano, these new arrangements are scored for SSAA and SATB with piano/organ (approximately 4 minutes in duration).

(3 August 2013)

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