[Interview] 5 Questions With Jonathan Bingham

Tomorrow, Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra premieres its 32nd Season with “Simply Serenades”. Composer in Residence Jonathan Bingham is poised to make the world premiere of his orchestral serenade “Tautology”, and BTSCelebs was given the golden opportunity to interview him.

Currently, the Howard University and New York University grad is a Donna Milanovich Composer in Residence at CPO. His resume includes completed residencies with Boulder Symphony, collaborations alongside artists from multiple genres and international premieres of his work.

Learn more about this gifted man of music now.

Who is Jonathan Bingham professionally?

I’m still trying to figure this out! I can say, though, that I’ve dedicated much of my time over the past decade trying to develop skills for different areas in music. Composition for the concert hall has a different approach than writing for media, popular culture, etc. It’s been my responsibility, as well as the responsibility of my fellow composers, to branch out and service different mediums.

What piqued your interest in performing arts?

Composing music was the first activity that fully transfixed me. It’s easy enough to be fun yet challenging enough to prevent boredom. To add, any individual getting to know the performing arts becomes connected to a rich, worldly history and lineage. I remain thankful for it.

Why did you choose to join “Simply Serenades”?

The best art pays homage to its history simultaneously as conveying novelty. Getting to write for a traditional ensemble while experimenting with different musical structures (that weren’t thought of during the days of the serenade) opens up so many opportunities for salience.

What bold message do you want the audience to take away from your orchestral serenade “Tautology” in “Simply Serenades”?

Every piece of art should be made with the intent of having salience. This is done by displaying convention but also novelty. Too much novelty without convention makes the piece unrelatable while too much convention makes the piece irrelevant. I hope the audience finds Tautology somewhere in between these points.

What productions and special surprises should fans expect from you in 2022?

I’ve taken on a fellowship in the Bay Area. This has lead to a new commission I look forward to starting towards the end of the year. Additionally, I have a recording project—Cool Story—which researches music of lesser known composers and produces their first recordings. Currently, we have a set of works from composers—many of them unpublished—that have been associated with Howard University throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. This project is made possible from generous donations through coolstoryrecords.com.

“Simply Serenades” will be held at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts (9501 Skokie Blvd, Skokie, IL).

Special Thanks to Jonathan Bingham, Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra and The Silverman Group for the exclusive interview and images.  

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