The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance educates the artists, scholars, educators and entrepreneurs of the future. Students are prepared with expert skills, instilled with passionate enthusiasm, and emboldened to challenge and inspire the world through the power of the performing arts.
Taking first place at the 2016 Briggs Chamber Music Competition was a saxophone quartet comprising graduate students Russell Kerns and Connor Mikula, senior Jonathan Hostottle, and specialist Jeffrey Leung. They received a $4,000 cash award.
SMTD has partnered with the Gershwin family to bring the music of George and Ira Gershwin to students, scholars, performers and audiences across campus and worldwide.
Assistant Professor of Percussion
Office: 1423 Moore
Jonathan Ovalle is a percussionist whose concerts and collaborations feature an array of musical aesthetics. As a performer, he is a both a committed interpreter of contemporary art music as well as an inspired jazz/world percussionist and drummer. Equally comfortable in the concert hall, on the jazz stage, or improvising in a public space, he continually seeks to explore and engage the percussive art in every manner and shape possible.
Ovalle has performed and presented masterclasses in North America and Asia, has been a featured artist at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, and has served as a judge for the Thailand Drumline Competition. Most recently, he has participated in concerts and workshops at Baylor University, University of Tennessee, University of Tennessee - Martin, Texas A&M University-Commerce, Middle Tennessee State University, Queens College, Queensboro Community College, William Patterson University, and has also been featured at the 2015 Ohio and Tennessee PAS Days of Percussion.
Along with percussionist, Neeraj Mehta, he is currently one half of the chamber duo, PERCUNOVA. The duo gave its international concert debut in July 2014 at the Thailand Brass and Percussion Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, followed by a concert/clinic tour of India. The duo gave its international concert debut in July 2014 at the Thailand Brass and Percussion Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, followed by a concert/clinic tour of India. The duo's current work is focused on concertizing and developing a body of new repertoire, which stands at the nexus of contemporary chamber percussion music and Afro-Cuban percussion traditions. Ovalle has performed with the Sarasota Opera, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Brass Band of Battle Creek, New Music Detroit, and the Detroit Chamber Winds. As a drumset and world percussion artist, he has shared the stage with artists such as Jon Hendricks, Vic Juris, Roland Vazquez, Ann Hampton Callaway, David Hazeltine, Phil Markowitz, Harold Danko, Stephanie Nakassian, Gunnar Mossblad, Tim Whalen, and currently leads his own Afro-Cuban trio/quartet featuring him as a drummer and composer.
As a composer/arranger, Ovalle's percussion arrangements for the production of Ballroom with a Twist, are currently receiving performances by symphony orchestras across the United States and Canada including: Kansas City Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Winnipeg Symphony, and the Calgary Philharmonic. His marching percussion experience includes previous success as both a front ensemble and battery arranger for Bands of America Grand National Championship and WGI finalist (scholastic & independent world class) ensembles. His concert percussion music is published by Tapspace Publications and Living Sound Triangles.
Ovalle is currently an assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theater & Dance where he serves as a director of the University's famed percussion ensemble, director of the Latin Jazz Ensemble, and director of the MPulse Summer Percussion Institute, a two-week intensive for intermediate to advanced high school percussionists in grades 9-12. His research interests include: kinesiology/motor coordination; utilizing the body's natural physics to create greater efficiency and more depth of tone; snare drum performance; and pedagogy as a vehicle to developing universal technique on all percussion instruments, as well as memory organization and learning processes and their role in effective practicing. A sought-after educator, he is inspired by the unique puzzle each student presents and finds motivation in helping them overcome both technical and mental roadblocks - unlocking each students' full potential.
Born in Mexico City, he grew up in Houston, TX and is a graduate of the U-M where his former teachers included: Michael Udow, Julie Spencer, Salvatore Rabbio, Gerald Cleaver, Michael Gould, as well as additional studies with vibraphonist Ted Piltzecker.
Ovalle has previously served as the director of Percussion Studies at the University of Toledo and as the director of Percussion at the Plymouth Canton Educational Park and is a proud artist/endorser with Pearl/Adams, Zildjian, Remo, and Innovative Percussion.
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