University of Michigan - United States
OverviewPercussionist Jonathan Ovalle is Assistant Professor of Music and co-coordinator of the percussion program at the University of Michigan. In addition to his applied teaching duties, he is the co-director of the University’s famed percussion ensemble, as well as the director of the newly created Latin jazz ensemble. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, and his primary teachers include Michael Udow, Julie Spencer, Michael Gould, Gerald Cleaver, and Salvatore Rabbio as well as additional studies with Ted Piltzecker.
Known for his remarkable versatility and percussive diversity, he has made a career combining the worlds of symphonic, jazz, chamber, solo, marching, pop, and world music playing into an aggressive mix with few musical boundaries.
Born in 1976 in Mexico City, Mexico, Ovalle grew up in Houston, TX.
As a concert percussionist and chamber musician, his symphonic experience includes time as a member of the Sarasota Opera Orchestra, performances with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and as a frequent performer with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.In October 2011, he participated in the filming of KHU, part 2 of artist Matthew Barney's 7-part film/opera Ancient Evenings as one of five featured percussionists in a number of on-screen scenes. Active as an improviser and solo player, he recently presented a recital of improvised solo works for percussion in the Great Gallery at the Toledo Museum of Art in Toledo, OH as well as a solo recital at the Juilliard School in July 2011.
As a drum set/ jazz artist, he has been privileged to share the stage with artists such as Jon Hendricks, Vic Juris, Ann Hampton Callaway, David Hazeltine, Phil Markowitz, Harold Danko, Stephanie Nakassian, Tim Whalen, and Gunnar Mossblad. He has performed at the Detroit International Jazz Festival, Lansing Jazz Festival, Birmingham Jazz Festival, Jazzloop and the Art Tatum Jazz and Heritage Festival. He has also been honored as a two-time regional finalist in the Guitar Center Drum-Off. As a jazz vibist and congureo, he has collaborated with drummer/composer Roland Vazquez on his Music for 3 Jazz Players and Percussion Quartet, which was featured at PASIC 2003. He can also be heard as a drummer with his own Afro-Cuban quintet, Nuevo Rumbón.
An active composer and arranger, 2010 marked the world premiere of his Epic Proportions for percussion ensemble, commissioned by the Texas A&M University-Commerce Percussion Ensemble, at PASIC 2010 in Indianapolis, IN. Other recent composition and arranging projects include an original score/soundscape for the play, The Labyrinth by Fernando Arrabal, directed by Ed Lingan, presented at the University of Toledo Center for Performing Arts, as well percussion arrangements for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic’s production of Ballroom with a Twist, created by Dancing with the Stars pro, Louis Van Amstel. Over 15 years’ experience as a marching percussion arranger/designer and pedagogue has also led to successful collaborations/commissions with top ensembles in BOA and WGI circuits, including Redline Percussion and the Plymouth Canton Educational Park. His experience includes extensive work as both a front ensemble and battery arranger and teacher. As a marching adjudicator, in August 2011, he served as an international judge for the Thailand Drumline Competition in Bangkok, Thailand.
A passionate pedagogue, he finds motivation in unlocking students' potential by helping them overcome technical and mental roadblocks to assist them in becoming creative, technically sound, musically sensitive, self-sufficient musicians. His central philosophy works to create an interconnected web of technical and musical concepts that can be applied in any area of percussion playing and any genre of music. He also works to encourage the spirit of entrepreneurialism and self-advocacy in his students when it comes to building and maintaining a successful career in music and the percussive arts.
His current research interests include developing a progressive sight reading method book as well as a book dedicated to the understanding of memory and learning strategies when applied to practicing.
He has previously served as the Director of Percussion Studies at the University of Toledo and is the former percussion coordinator/arranger/ for the Plymouth Canton Educational Park in Canton, MI.
Ovalle is a member of the Percussive Arts Society and is an Artist/Endorser with Pearl Drums, Remo Inc., and Innovative Percussion.
LinksUniversity of Michigan Percussion Studio