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        Jonathon Grasse is a composer, ethnomusicologist, and improvising guitarist based in Los Angeles.

                Scroll pages to view scrapbooks of images, score excerpts, documents, and to listen to music.


         My compositions have been performed by Brightwork new music ensemble, guitarist Peter Yates and his ensembleFRET, the             Harvey Mudd College Gamelan directed by Bill Alves, the UCLA Percussion Ensemble, the Los Angeles Flute Quartet, the                 Armadillo String Quartet, saxophonist Douglas Masek, oboist Richard Kravchak, guitarist Scott Morris, flutist Rik Noyce,                   percussionist Gustavo Aguilar, and others, including Finland's Pori Sinfonieta. Triptych for String Trio won the 2012                           American Composers Forum-LA competition.  All compositions accessed on this site are copyright


A separate guitar page details some of my compositions dedicated to that instrument, and photos/audio of collaborations. Listen to some of my multi-track recordings with electric guitar. 



See/hear my compositions & collaborations involving Indonesian-derived gamelan percussion music. Some of this work dates back to the San Francisco Bay Area of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Read further about my background in gamelan.

The Informal Sector, a concerto for two trombones and Just Intonation gamelan composed in 2011. 


You can listen to many tracks throughout this site: archival recordings of composed works, improvisations, guitar music, and gamelan. The audio page is dedicated to my 2018 album Six Compositions and other featured works. My recordings are available on Centaur Records, CD Baby, Acoustic Levitation, and streaming platforms.


As an improvising guitarist I have collaborated with a number of Los Angeles-based artists since 1995, created structured improvisations for ensembles, and recorded with them. My improvisation collectives, Medicine Show, and the Native Plant Society, play local clubs several times a year. Scroll to the bottom of this page to view material on my site-specific pieces. To promote various forms of improvisational art, I produce the Festival of New and Improvised Music at California State University, Dominguez Hills,where I am a professor of music and teach composition, music theory, and world music topics. 



My ethnomusicology research and publications focus on music culture and history of Minas Gerais, Brazil.  Articles have appeared in the Yale Journal of Music and Religion, Musicology Research Journal Online, Bloomsbury's 33 1/3 Brazil series,  UCLA's Pacific Review of Ethnomusicology, and Popular Music of Cambridge University among others. 

Hearing Brazil: Music and Histories in Minas Gerais is a forthcoming book from University Press of Mississippi (2021). Chapter topics include the Clube da Esquina (Corner Club) popular music collective based around Milton Nascimento, Afro-Brazilian Congado, vissungo, batuque, the viola (Brazilian ten-string guitar), 18th- and 19th-century liturgical music, and the musical profiles of the city of Belo Horizonte.

A note about the photographs appearing on this site: most are by me unless I appear in the image, in which case most are by Nanci de Carvalho.

All original materials (scores, graphics, audio, and text content) are copyrighted. All scores are registered through BMI (1998-2019)


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