Writing Music

Jonathan Cziner


Jonathan Cziner (b. 1991) is an American composer whose music combines colorful harmony and texture with nostalgic lyricism, creating a sound-world that ranges from dark and mysterious to vibrant. Drawing on a wide variety of inspirations, Jonathan’s writing engages the senses and the emotions, fully immersing listeners in the musical experience. 

A 2018 Charles Ives Scholarship recipient from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Jonathan's works have been performed in the United States and Europe by ensembles including the Minnesota Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Juilliard Orchestra, and New Juilliard Ensemble, and by acclaimed artists including cellist, Julian Schwarz; harpist Emily Levin; violinist, Stella Chen; and pianist, Steven Masi among others. His orchestral work Resonant Bells, premiered by David Robertson and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, was awarded the William Schuman Prize for most outstanding score at the BMI Student Composer Awards as well as the 2018 Palmer Dixon Prize, awarded to the most outstanding work composed at the Juilliard School. The piece was then selected by the Minnesota Orchestra for performance at the 2018-2019 Minnesota Orchestra Composer’s Institute with Maestro Osmo Vänskä. Cziner’s orchestral piece, flowers of fire, was written to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the World War I armistice and was premiered by the Juilliard Orchestra with soprano Kathleen O’Mara and Maestro Jeffery Milarsky in February 2019. 

Jonathan recently served as the associate artistic director of the Charles Ives Music Festival, which focuses its programming on the music of Ives, as well as other past and present American composers. He is now heading the festival’s composition program. He served for two years as co-artistic director of Dynamic Music Festival, an annual concert series dedicated to premiering works of student composers attending universities in the New York City area. Equally dedicated to film scoring, he has worked with writer/ director Nora Unkel on her 2015 film The Goblin Song, and has most recently scored her first feature film, A Nightmare Wakes in 2019. 

Recent and upcoming projects include Ruach (and Other Delights), co-commissioned by the New York Youth Symphony and the Interlochen Center for the Arts which will premiere in Carnegie Hall in 2021, and a work for Clarinet and String Quartet commissioned by Dallas Symphony Orchestra principal clarinetist, Gregory Raden. 

Cziner began formal composition training upon his acceptance to New York University, where he received a Bachelor of Music degree studying with Justin Dello Joio. He completed his Master of Music degree at The Juilliard School under the tutelage of Robert Beaser, and is in the midst of his studies in Juilliard’s prestigious C.V. Starr doctoral program. Jonathan lives in Dallas, Texas with his girlfriend Emily Levin, the Principal Harp of the Dallas Symphony. 

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Mr. Cziner offers both private lessons in music theory and composition as well as group classes for music theory and composition. 

To inquire about studying with Mr. Cziner, contact us at hello@texasmusicinstitute.com.