The Ohio Artist Registry (OAR) is an exciting opportunity for artists to share their work, connect with the creative community, and establish an online presence—all on a free, virtual platform! The OAR encourages artists working in all art forms, throughout Ohio and beyond, to create a profile, which allows them to better promote themselves and their work. Being listed in the OAR provides artists with new opportunities to share their work with clients, galleries, patrons, and audiences. For more information, contact Kathy Signorino, artist programs director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 614-728-6140.
Jonathan is originally from the UK. He studied theatre at drama college there and worked extensively as an actor, producer, director, writer and arts administrator, as well as performing widely as the lead singer/guitarist in several bands. He has played piano since childhood. His work in the theatre includes lead roles onstage in London, Edinburgh and Los Angeles, CA. As an actor in Los Angeles, Jonathan appeared in a number of films and on television in NCIS, Lucifer and The Young and the Restless.
His directing work in London focussed mainly on new works, and on providing access to underserved people – particularly those with disabilities. Whilst in Los Angeles, Jonathan produced and directed as large-scale community production which re-imagined The Mission Play (originally staged in 1913, and at one time California’s most significant cultural attraction) in a version contextualized for modern audiences with a cast of 150. Following this, he partnered with the Gabrieleno-Tongva San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians to create the stage play “Toypurina” based on real-life events tracking the life of one of their ancestors who led a rebellion against the San Gabriel Mission in 1785. Jonathan co-wrote the play with members of the tribe. He produced and directed the show which sold out for its entire run. As a result of this work, Jonathan was initiated into the tribe, which he considers a great honor. In LA, he also directed two productions for the San Gabriel Mission School – an all female version of Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest”, and another all female show “Shakespeare’s Women”. in 2003, directed a traveling site-specific bi-lingual production of Howard Brenton’s “Bloody Poetry” which toured to outdoor locations on Tuscany, Italy.
Jonathan has many years experience as an arts programmer in and outside of London in the UK and in Los Angeles, and he has served as Artistic Director of three different performing arts centers in London, several multi-arts festivals in the UK, and as Arts Program Manager to a 1400-seat performing arts center in Los Angeles. His programming and curatorial experience has consistently championed new work, emerging artists and to providing access to underserved communities. In the UK, he successfully gained both private and public funding for this work, including significant grant-aid from Arts Council England and Arts Council London. In the USA, Jonathan developed a program of work embracing film, theatre, music, dance and visual art reflecting the Latinx experience in Los Angeles for which he successfully obtained an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Jonathan has made music all his life, and has benefited tremendously from growing up close to London where encountered a huge range of arts experiences from a very early age. As a child, he attended concerts by some of the greatest musicians, dancers, and theatre practitioners from all over the world as well as regularly visiting some of the Northern Hemisphere’s most significant art galleries and museums. He has expressed his passion for music throughout his life through his programming work and his practice. In his youth, Jonathan performed as singer-songwriter, then later as lead singer and guitarist with several rock/pop bands and played live at many of London’s most famous venues, as well as gaining airplay on BBC radio.
In 2015, Jonathan began to explore his relationship with music in an entirely different way and to build a deeper dialog with the piano. As part of this exploration, he traveled back to England to record a completely improvised full-length album released 2016. Following, this he performed improvised concerts in Los Angeles.
Jonathan has continued his exploration of music in recent years with a significant output that includes rock, pop, electronic, orchestral and new music, through writing, producing and performing. Since 2020, he has released several singles, two EP’s and two LP’s. Since moving to Cincinnati in 2023, after completing the LP’s, he has teamed up with two Cincinnati musicians (Om Srivastava and Ayaaz Yasin) to create Omayjo.
As a solo performer, and as part of the trio Omayjo, I am fascinated by the idea of spontaneous composition, the idea that if we trust ourselves and the moment, what is already in the air may become available to us. Out of the silence and because of the silence, if we tune in to “the source” we can simultaneously listen, translate and interpret, and this can afford us moments of rare beauty and surprise as we – artist and audience together – witness creation before our eyes (or rather, ears). If we keep the channels open, we have the possibility to offer and receive, discover unique shared moments.
The music – at this point anyway – needs to explore, and also be comfortable with being imperfect or perfect, scattered or coherent, harmonious or dissonant, to reflect the experience as it happens with the energy that is in both musician and audience. My interest in the piano is it’s “completeness”. It is both a percussive instrument and a melodic one. It can, in some ways, be a complete band, ensemble or orchestra. So playing solo can be rich and rewarding. But I’m also really interested in collective improvisation.
For several years, I’ve thought about exploring creating piano music with the tabla. This small Indian drum has such a specific and evocative sound and has fascinated me since I first heard it as a child in London. It’s relationship to Indian classical music is integral and the Indian musical tradition of improvising seems to relate directly to my current investigation. While talking with Ayaaz (the tabla player in Omayjo), I expressed my interest in discovering what it would be like to introduce a flute into the mix. He said he didn’t know any flautists, but he did know a sax player. That brought Om Srivastava into the mix. An incredibly skilled player, Om brings his deep knowledge of both Western and Indian traditions and brings new opportunities for tension and harmony into the music. The sound of the saxophone brings so much with it too, with it’s integral place in jazz, and it’s relationship to rock, soul, classical music.
Omayjo is three adventurous musicians exploring a dialog with the audience and each other, making discoveries in real-time which perhaps, at some level cast a light on all of our human relationships, to ourselves and to the wider world.