JONATHAN ROMEO, COMPOSER
The works of Virginia-based composer Jonathan Romeo spring from his passion to write music that resonates from his own experience, bridges between traditional and more contemporary classical genres, and stirs the hearts of his listeners.
In a style that is multifaceted, Jonathan Romeo's compositions journey through time and genre, intermingling influences of medieval to contemporary classical music with those of dance, popular, rock, and folk music. The soundscapes he creates are challenging yet accessible. At times the music takes the form of lyrical lines and traditional harmonies; at others, it evolves into more contemporary, complex rhythms, bright orchestral colors, and rich polyphony.
Romeo’s music has been performed by symphony orchestras, ballet companies, chamber groups, and soloists in the U.S. and abroad. Commissions, performances, and readings include those by Richmond (VA) Symphony, Richmond (VA) Ballet, Florence Dance Company (Italy), Orchestra Leopoldo della Ferrovia dello Stato (Italy), Shanghai Quartet, Knoxville (TN) Symphony Orchestra, Manassas (VA) Symphony, Plymouth Music Series Orchestra (Minneapolis, MN), Kingsport (TN) Symphony, Lyric Ensemble, Virginia Commonwealth University Symphony, and the VCU New Music Ensemble. Additionally, he served as orchestrator/arranger for the Miramax film The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill but Came Down a Mountain.
Romeo has received recognition and awards from American Composer’s Forum (Orchestral Reading Project), American Music Center (Margaret Fairbank Jory Copying Assistance Program), Virginia Commission for the Arts (VCA)[Touring Grants and Music Composition Artist Fellowship], and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (Statewide Artist Workshops). He served as an Artist-in-Residence in the Appalachian and Allegheny Mountain regions of Virginia through the VCA and the Virginia Community College System. Composer's fellowships include those from Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (Amherst, VA) and Ragdale Foundation (Lake Forest, IL).
During his tenure with The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail (2008-2020), he promoted the traditional music of the Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains, producing concerts, educational programs, workshops, festivals, and tours. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Tazewell County (VA) Fiddlers’ Convention in 2018.
Romeo studied composition with James Riley at James Madison University, where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree. He went on to earn a Master of Music degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, where he studied with Allen Blank and served as instructor and director of the VCU New Music Ensemble. He also studied with John Lambert at the Royal College of Music in London.
Romeo lives with his wife, Sarah and two children, Thomas and Cat in Tazewell County, Virginia.