Jon Forshee is a composer of vibrant, innovative music for a diversity of acoustic and electro-acoustic ensembles, with many works focused on collaborations and emerging media. His compositions have been premiered throughout the United States, Europe, and in China, and are also frequently broadcast on radio and on the web. Forshee’s current research areas deeply inform his creative practice, and center around early Western contrapuntal techniques, Classical Chinese melodic ornamentation, and transcriptions of Yoruban chant from West Africa and beyond.
Recent works include APOKATASTASIS, for ensemble with computer-generated sound, funded by the CU President’s Fund for the Humanities, and TRANSFIGURED VERSE, for harp and computer-generated sound, written expressly for harpist Tasha Smith Godinez, and issued by Centaur Records in 2022 on the album Metamorphoses. In 2019, Forshee’s first portrait CD, Verses from the Aethersphere, was released by Open Space Publications, and features a selection of acoustic works inspired by ancient “musica speculativa” philosophies, found in musical cultures throughout the world. This disc was followed by Apokatastasis and Benjamin Boretz’ Downtime, issued by Open Space in 2021
Forshee’s articles and texts on a variety of musical subjects, ranging from early speculative studies in music to contemporary musical aesthetics and analysis, appear in The Computer Music Journal, Just: Listen, Perspectives of New Music, Open Space Magazine, and in other places online and in print. While many articles are formatted for scholarly research, many texts use unique typography and page layouts, and are overtly expressive of artistic and musical concerns. Jon is also a co-editor and contributor to the inimitable OPEN SPACE MAGAZINE (Benjamin Boretz, editor) and, with poet Dorota Czerner and composer Dean Rosenthal, of the OPEN SPACE WEBMAG.
Dr. Forshee studied composition with Anthony Davis at UCSD (University of California, San Diego), where he completed the Ph.D. in Composition with the dissertation “How Music Travels: the Opera Blood, Hunger, Child” under Davis’ direction. Forshee earned his M.A. in Composition at the Eastman School of Music, and completed the Bachelor of Music (B.M.) in Composition at Bowling Green State University. Jon has also lived in Paris, where he attended the courses at the Centre de Creation Musicale Iannis Xenakis, and before that lived in Xi’an, China, where he spent a year studying traditional Chinese music.
Currently, Jon teaches Music Composition, Computer Music and Music Theory at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. He also directs the UCCS student brass ensemble/quintet, and also directs the newly-founded UCCS Theremin Quartet and the UCCS Mindbender Research Orchestra.
Here is a formal biography, ~200 words:
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Jon Forshee was born in the American Midwestern town of Enid, Oklahoma. He began composing at 11 years, when he wrote and premiered his first piece for solo tuba. After graduating from the Interlochen Arts Academy with a focus in composition, Jon continued his studies at Bowling Green State University (B.M., composition), and then the Eastman School of Music (M.A., composition), where he studied computer music with Allan Schindler. After obtaining his degree, Jon attended the Centre Creation Musicale Iannis Xenakis in Paris, where remained for four years studying computer music. In 2011, Jon moved to San Diego, where he began doctoral studies with Anthony Davis while completing his first opera, “Blood, Hunger, Child”, at the University of California, San Diego. Graduating in 2017, Jon currently works as Visiting Assistant Professor of Composition at UCCS, where he lives with his wife Erika and their cat, Rocket.
Forshee’s music is characterized by a weaving together of dynamic, driving rhythms and sophisticated harmonies. He writes for acoustic and electronic instruments, while all of his music is informed by his studies of ancient Chinese music as well as the traditional music of West Africa.