Emil Jonason (b.1983), a long time connoisseur of the stranger side of music, has been described in the press as ‘lifting the bar for what to expect from the clarinet’, ‘having the aura of a Rock Star’ and being ‘a magician who uses his instrument as a silver bullet exceeding classical norms’.
With a father who is an amateur clarinetist and a traditional jazz enthusiastic, Emil grew up listening to Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Kenny Davern and especially the notorious Spike Jones and his City Slickers.
At the age of ten he started playing the clarinet – his mother called the local music school and asked for the instrument with the shortest waiting list – and was soon playing everything from wind bands to jazz, klezmer and more. He truly discovered the classical world at the age of 16 (at a time when he was touring with several Klezmer bands to Krakow, Prague and festivals in Sweden) and he was accepted to the Royal College Of Music when he was 17.
Then his musical world exploded. He won the Solofoni Prize, played the Nielsen Concerto with Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra at the age of 21, and performed John Corigliano’s tremendous clarinet concerto with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra at his Diploma Concert in 2007.
He was nominated Rising Star by the European Concert Hall Organization in 2009, and was invited to Vienna Musikverein, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Hamburg Laieszhalle, Barcelona L’Auditori, Cité de la Musique in Paris and several other prestigious scenes through-out Europe.
In 2012 he became known to the world when he performed again as a soloist at the Nobel Prize Ceremony with the RSPO, and in 2013 he made his US debut when invited by Marin Alsop to play at the legendary Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. Later the same year he premiered Christian Lindberg’s clarinet concerto ‘The Erratic Dreams of Mr Grönstedt’ with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, and a new era of clarinet music was born.
He currently enjoys a diverse career as a touring soloist, teaching at The Royal College of Music and The College of Music in Västerås, and enjoying life with his children and wife, composer / violinist / nurse Emmy, at his home outside Stockholm.