Jonathan Ovalle (b.1976 Mexico City) is a Mexican-American percussionist, drummer, pianist, composer, improviser, collaborator, and creative thinker. Musically versatile and artistically curious, he is motivated through the performance and study of contemporary solo/chamber music, jazz, pop, global music, as well as deeply inspired by design, architecture, and visual art. He engages in seeking creative intersections and the collaborative potential between elements in his work as a performer, creator, and teacher.
Whether boldly performing on the concert stage, in the rock or jazz club, or freely improvising in a gallery space, he has performed internationally in Asia, Europe, Canada, as well as throughout the United States including: the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC), Thailand Brass and Percussion Conference, The Midwest Clinic, North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA), Green Box Arts Festival, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, Texas Bandmasters Convention (TBA), Detroit International Jazz Festival, Jazz Educators Network Convention (JEN), Lansing Jazz Festival, Art Tatum Jazz and Heritage Festival, Jazzloop, and New Music Detroit's annual Strange Beautiful Music marathon including a recent performance of Steve Reich's iconic Music for 18 Musicians. His experience also includes performances with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Brass Band of Battle Creek, Sarasota Opera (FL), concerts and collaborations with jazz artists Tim Whalen, Bobby Streng, Gunnar Mossblad, Jon Hendricks, Vic Juris, Ellen Rowe, Andrew Bishop, Roland Vazquez, and Pepe Espinosa, as well as a tour of concerts and workshops for students in Pune and Mumbai, India with Neeraj Mehta as the percussion duo, Percunova.
A dedicated teacher and mentor, he is inspired by the unique puzzle each student presents, working to help remove barriers to success on their chosen paths. With developing freedom, creative thinking, listening, analysis, organization, exploration, adaptation, communication, and process as his teaching foundation, he desires to help each student unlock their full potential by challenging them to critically examine their work, their process, and themselves. Individually and with collaborative projects, he has presented workshops and clinics at Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Baylor University, University of Wisconsin, Queens College, University of Oregon, Colorado State University, University of Denver, Bowling Green State University, Ohio University, Capital University, George Mason University, University of Tennessee, Queensboro Community College, William Patterson University, University of North Carolina-Greensboro, North Carolina School For The Arts, among others. Former students have pursued studies at the Eastman School of Music, New England Conservatory, Juilliard School, University of Michigan, Boston University, Northwestern University, Peabody Conservatory, Mannes College of Music, University of Iowa, University of Arizona, Bowling Green State University, University of Southern California, University of Kentucky, and hold a variety of professional positions in symphony orchestras, military bands, as university percussion teachers, freelancers, chamber musicians, entrepreneurs, and public-school educators.
He currently serves as a resident faculty member of the International Percussion Institute, a percussion performance and research seminar held annually in Aberdeen, Scotland. In addition to faculty performances and hands-on sessions with percussionists, recent projects of the Institute include hosting a new program for young composers collaborating with institute percussionists on new chamber works for percussion in conjunction with British composer Joe Duddell and the Sound Festival. He has served on the faculty of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival in Sewanee, Tennessee, the Idyllwild Arts Summer Chamber Festival Intensive in Idyllwild, California, and has been featured as a guest artist at the Juilliard Summer Percussion Symposium, University of Central Florida Summer Percussion Symposium, as well as the Ohio, Tennessee, Ontario, Michigan, Idaho, Quebec, and Emory University Days of Percussion.
Since 2018, he has served on the International Artistic Advisory Board of Musikal Husky Publications in Graz, Austria and served as an editor for their first publication, Rhythm Keeper. He is currently collaborating as a co-author for the follow-up publication, Rhythm Keeper II along with drummer/percussionist Steve Aho and pianist/pedagogue, Samantha Steitz.
Ovalle is an artist/endorser with Pearl/Adams, Zildjian, Remo, Tapspace, and Innovative Percussion.