top of page

Jonathan Bell is a composer, orchestrator, pianist and songwriter who enjoys everything from the diabolic complexities of the likes of Xenakis to the transcendent simplicities of folk music.

His most recent credits include string and wind arrangements for two documentary films: the acclaimed Full Battle Rattle and the soon to be released (and as of yet untitled) documentary on Maternal Mortality directed by Christy Turlington. Jonathan also composed the original music for the Broadway play In The Next Room which was recently nominated for a Tony award.

Jonathan teaches composition and music theory at the Diller-Quaile School of Music.

Tertium Comparationis

Tertium Comparationis was premiered by 2VC in its entirety June 30, 2010 at Mannes College The New School for Music.

One of the most compelling and challenging aspects to this project has been what could be considered its obvious constraint: writing for two voices (double/triple stops notwithstanding). The gratification in this constraint has been in the way it enforces a certain meditation and consideration on dialogue, proximity, sameness/difference, and the nature of the duo, or the number two in itself, within an instrumental context where the inherent coloristic qualities of two contrasting instruments could not be drawn upon. Composing two voices for the same instrument is a seemingly simple proposition, but in practice far from it!

I. Symptom

The incipient ruminations of Symptom can be described as an obsession with certain melodic contours that float, as troubled apparitions in isolation, but find their integration and relationship with the whole over time.

II. Diagnosis

This is about cold information that usually quite mercilessly tells a version of who we are; the degree of truthfulness of this information is reflected in the amount of internal chatter we create to block it. Resistance and acceptance; in spite of the stress of continued denial, a plea is clearly expressed: let go of the sadness that was never yours.

III. Prognosis and Aria

These are the various possible outcomes; the likely scenarios for your future as your life unfolds. With as much tenderness as we may hold past wounds, the nostalgia for dysfunction must end. There are some songs that must be sung for the last time with all the transcendent grief our cells can muster.

bottom of page