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Jonathan Bernard Profile

Jonathan Bernard

Jonathan combines his background in western percussion with a fascination for Asian traditions to create a unique sound palette, incorporating a myriad of instruments, techniques and styles. Jonathan’s interests span numerous genres from orchestral music to New Music, and World Music. Having premiered over seventy chamber works, Jonathan regularly performs with the Orchid Ensemble, Fringe Percussion, Vancouver New Music, Four Gallon Drum, Ensemble Symposium, and numerous orchestras including Vancouver, Victoria, National Ballet and CBC Radio Orchestras. He is currently the principal percussionist with the Vancouver Island Symphony.

Jonathan’s interest in World Music has led him to perform Chinese, Javanese, Balinese and Korean music. Jonathan performs with Tandava, a world music ensemble fusing Indian, Chinese and western styles. He is also a member of the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra. He was a member of Vancouver Community Balinese Gamelan and Gamelan Madu Sari. Jonathan studied traditional and contemporary Chinese percussion in Beijing, China (including Beijing Opera instruments – bangu, gongs, and cymbals; Xinjiang/northwest China frame drum – def). He studied Arabic traditional rhythms and techniques of the dumbek and riq in Cairo, Egypt. In 2008 he traveled to India to study Carnatic rhythms. In 2011, he studied cajon and flamenco rhythms in Spain. These trips were supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and/or the BC Arts Council. Jonathan has toured throughout North America, Europe and Japan.

Educational Background

June-July 2011 – Studied cajon and flamenco rhythms in Spain, sponsored by the BC Arts Council

Dec 2008-Jan 2008 – Studied Carnatic rhythms in Madras, India, sponsored by the BC Arts Council.

Dec 2005-Jan 2006 – Studied traditional Arabic percussionmusic in Cairo, Egypt, sponsored by the Canada Council.

Aug-Sept 2002 – Studied traditional Beijing Opera percussion and Xinjiang style frame drum with Zhang Yang Shen, sponsored by the Canada Council and BC Arts Council.

1999-2002 – Studies in Middle Eastern/Persian percussion styleson dumbek, tar, riq with Adel Awad

1997 – World Percussion Intensive at SFU – studied with Sal Ferreras, Glen Velez & Trichy Sankaran

1995-97 – UBC School of Music – studied with John Ruoolph & Sal Ferreras

1993-95 – Conservatoire de Musique du Quebec en Hull – studied with Alan Lamothe

1989-92 – University of Ottawa – studied with Ken Simpson & Jon Wade

1989 – Eastman School of Music, Summer Session, studied with Ruth Cahn

1983-89 – Private Percussion Lessons, studied with Niels Lund


Life Death Tears Dream (2012) – with Orchid Ensemble, winner of the 12th Annual Independent Music Awards

Imaged Worlds (2010) – with Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra

Fringe Percussion (2009) – with Fringe Percussion, released in September 2009

Dances & Dreams (2008) – special gift for all BC babies from 2007, CBC Radio Production

Tandava (2005) – nominee of US & Canadian Independent Music Awards, Canadian Folk Music Awards

Road to Kashgar (2004) – nominee of JUNO Award -World Album of the Year & Western Canadian Music Award – Outstanding Instrumental Music

Heartland (2000) – nominee of West Coast Music Award – Best World Music & Best Instrumental Music

New Nectar (2004) – with Gamelan Madu Sari, released by Songlines Recordings


Freelance percussionist with orchestras:

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Opera Orchestra, CBC Radio Orchestra, Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra,Victoria Symphony Orchestra, National Ballet of Canada Orchestra, Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, North Vancouver Sinfionetta, Prince George Symphony, Kamloops Symphony, Okanagan Symphony, National Youth Orchestra of Canada-Japanese Tour.

Principal percussionist – Vancouver Island Symphony, since 1996

Chamber Music /Solo:

Orchid Ensemble – contemporary and traditional music rooted in China, since 1998

Fringe Percussion – percussion quartet,

Four Gallon Drum – percussion quartet, since 2001

Vertical Orchestra – New Music in New Places (CMC) – Vancouver Public Library, since 2004

Ensemble Symposium – New Music chamber ensemble (Saxophones, Cello, Piano, Percussion), since 1996

Vancouver New Music – premieres and 20th century repertoire, Freelance since 1999

Vancouver Pro Musica Society – Further East Further West – with various ensembles since 1997, festival of New Music crossing different musical traditions.

Vancouver Pro Musica Society – Sonic Boom-Annual festival of BC composers-Over 20 premieres – with various ensembles and as a soloist, since 1996

Helikon Ensemble – New Music chamber ensemble – 2000-2002

Jordan Nobles’ “Sphere” (Premiere) – Vancouver Art Gallery – May 1998

Robert Riley’s “Black&White”(Premiere)-Espace Musique’s Young Composers Concert, National Gallery-1995

Emc2, Laurent Phillipe, Conductor – CBC Recording of Wendy Prezament’s “3 pieces after Joan Miro” – 1991

World Music:

Orchid Ensemble – Cross-cultural ensemble rooted in Chinese tradition – since 1998

Tandava – Cross cultural ensemble mixing Indian, Middle Eastern and North African traditions – since 2002

Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra – Canadian contemporary orchestral music – since 2001

Grace Lee Ensemble – Traditional and contemporary Korean music – 1997-2005

Accompanist for Amir Koushkani, master of the Persian Tar – 2000

Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble – Traditional and contemporary Chinese styles – 2000

Vancouver Community Balinese Gamelan – Balinese Gamelan – 1996-1998

Gamelan Madu Sari – Central Javanese Gamelan – 1996-1999

UBC Chinese Ensemble – Traditional Chinese music – 1996



Orchid Ensemble’s “Gold Mountain Dream” with Kenneth Newby and Aleksandra Dulic – 2011

Orchid Ensemble’s “Mountain High River Flow…without end” with Kenneth Newby and Aleksandra Dulic – 2011

Orchid Ensemble’s “Ghost Project” with Kenneth Newby, Aleksandra Dulic and Sutrisno Hartana – 2008

Interdisciplinary seminar “Art and Ritual” – R. Murray Schafer, Director University of Ottawa – 1994


Orchid Ensemble’s “Triaspora” with Moving Dragon, Chan Centre for the Performing Arts – 2007

BC Scene, National Arts Centre – 2009

“Café de Chinitas” with Mozaico Flamenco Dance Theatre & Orchid Ensemble – 2007, 2009, 2013.

Linda Nessel’s Original score “Falling Out” – SFU Faculty Dance Show, Lisa Naugle, Choreographer – 1996

“Canadian Folk Dancers” European Tour – George Houselander, Conductor – July 89

Music Theatre:

“Anything Goes” – CPD Productions – April 89

“One More Time” – CPD Productions – April 88


“The Forbidden Phoenix” – a new musical – 2011

“Life of Paper” one-week run with Pageant Arts Society – May 2008

“Yerma,” Original Score by Linda Nessel – SFU Theatre Production, StephanIe Kirkland, Director – 1997


“Turandot,” Original Score by Alexandra Diebel – Johnny Cannuck Productions – 1997