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Songbroker Welcomes Jonathan Besser

Songbroker is very pleased to welcome the music of composer Jonathan Besser to the catalogue.

Besser was born in New York City in 1949, and studied composition in New York at the Mannes College of Music with David Loeb.

A resident in New Zealand since 1974, he has created acoustic and electronic music in collaboration with leading writers, choreographers, musicians, artists and film makers, including Gaylene Preston, Mary Jane O’Reilly, Warwick Broadhead, Keri Hulme, Ross Harris, Michael Parmenter, Philip Mann and Allen Brunton, Don McGlashan, Billy Apple and Australian author Roger McDonald.

He has composed original music for many film, radio, stage and T.V. productions.

His commissions include the NZSO, the Royal New Zealand Ballet, APO, the Wellington Sinfonia, and the New Zealand String Quartet (touring schools with them in 1994). He is leader of his own New Music groups most notably the ‘Besser Ensemble’ (1987-1997) touring schools throughout N.Z. with major support from Creative NZ as well as making numerous recordings.

Besser began adding screen compositions to his CV in the 90s. He has composed extensively for documentary maker Shirley Horrocks, been award-nominated for 1995 documentary feature War Stories, and won a TV Guide Television Award for documentary A Cat Among the Pigeons. From 2015-2017 , Besser composed for 3 News' World War One short documentary series, Great War Stories.

In 2006, Jonathan Besser and Steve Garden released the album Turn (Rattle), seeking to create a sound that was very ‘open’ in its structural architecture and sonic textures. While the pieces on Turn were designed to sound composed, the group recorded each piece just moments after seeing the scores for the first time, encouraging a greater degree of spontaneity.

Besser’s album Campursari via Rattle Records in 2011, was inspired by the meditative beauty of Javanese gamelan. While Jonathan has worked frequently with gamelan, this is the first time he wrote specifically for them, rather than using them in improvisational settings.

To listen to Jonathan Besser head over to the Songbroker Search Engine.

Jonathan Besser, Rattle, Composer, Music Publishing, Campursari, Steve Garden, Turn, Music for film