Jon Rose started playing the violin at seven years old, after winning a music scholarship to King’s School Rochester. He studied violin with Anthony Saltmarsh (exponent of the Knud Vestergaard ‘Bach’ bow). He gave up formal music education at age fifteen and from then on was primarily self-taught. Throughout the 1970′s, first in England then in Australia (from 1976), he played, composed and studied in a large variety of 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 a central figure in the development of Free Improvisation and sound art in Australia, performing in almost every art gallery, jazz and rock club in the country, either solo, with fellow improvisers and experimental musicians like Rik Rue, Simone de Haan, and Jim Denley, or with an international pool of improvising performers called The Relative Band. The collaborative LP ‘Tango’ (Hot Records) in 1983 with Martin WesleySmith was a world first in violin and (Fairlight) sampling improvisation.
His primary life’s work is 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 20 deconstructed violin instruments including the legendary double piston triple neck wheeling violin, environmental performance (e.g. 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 violins themselves) and since 1987 inter-active electronics (3 bowing to MIDI systems), plus using the mediums of radio (over 30 major International productions for radio stations like ABC, BBC, WDR, SR, BR, Radio France, RAI, ORF, and SFB’), live-performance-film (In the 1980s, he integrated Super 8 into his world wide performances.), video and television (ZDF) to create a new, alternative, personal and revised history for THE VIOLIN.
Recently Jon Rose undertook residencies at National Sawdust and The Stone in New York; exhibited his Rosenberg Museum in Berlin; was commissioned by the Adelaide Festival for a work for violin and orchestra with Elena Kats-Chernin and Ilan Volkov; commissioned by The Kronos String Quartet to write and build “Music from 4 Fences” for the Sydney Opera House; realised his bicycle powered “Pursuit” project at Carriage Works (Sydney) and The Mona Foma Festival (Hobart) and Canberra 100; performed a completely new and improvised solo part for the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; created two major radiophonic works for the BBC on the first Aboriginal string orchestra and the history of the piano in 19th century Australia; toured in Europe with his current improvisation group ‘Colophony’, toured the UK for Sound and Music with ‘Tuned Out’; premiered his interactive Ball project at The Melbourne Festival and Sounds Outback (W.A.); performed his interactive multi-media composition “Internal Combustion” for violin and orchestra at The Philharmonic, Berlin; and been apprehended by the Israeli Defence Forces at the Separation Fence near Ramallah in the occupied territories.