Singaporean violinist Jonathan Ong is a founding member of the acclaimed Verona Quartet. He has performed across the world in international venues such as Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Lincoln Center, Beijing and Shanghai Concert Halls, Melbourne Recital Hall, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Jonathan has been recognized with top prizes at international competitions across four continents, including the Concert Artists Guild International Competition, London's Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition; the M-Prize, Osaka, Melbourne and Chesapeake International Chamber Music Competitions; the Fischoff and Coleman National Chamber Music Competitions; the Singapore National Violin Competition and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Young Artists Competition. As a member of the Verona Quartet, he was featured as Musical America's "New Artist of the Month" in May 2016, and has appeared on National Public Radio, WQXR New York Classical Radio, WFMT Chicago Classical Radio and The Weekly Special on PBS.
Jonathan has served as concertmaster of orchestras at the Music Academy of the West, Aspen Music Festival and Indiana University, and was previously concertmaster of the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic and Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra for two seasons. He has collaborated with eminent artists such as Renee Fleming, Cho-Liang Lin, Orion Weiss, David Shifrin, Burt Hara, Jorja Fleezanis, Atar Arad, the Pacifica Quartet, as well as musicians of the MET Orchestra, New York Philharmonic and LA Philharmonic. A strong proponent of new music, he has premiered works by composers such as Richard Danielpour, Michael Gilbertson, Robert Aitken and most recently a new work by Sebastian Currier, co-commissioned by Boosey & Hawkes and the Chelsea Music Festival.
Jonathan is a graduate of The Juilliard School, Indiana University, the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Eastman School of Music. His principal mentors include Donald Weilerstein, Alexander Kerr, Paul Kantor, Fredell Lack, Lynn Blakeslee and Lynette Lim. He has served as a teaching assistant at The Juilliard School and Indiana University, and is on faculty at the Indiana University Summer String Academy. He has also taught and given masterclasses at Oberlin Conservatory, San Jose State University and NYU-Abu Dhabi, and has held educational residencies at the Lunenberg Academy of Music Performance (Nova Scotia, Canada), and the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn.
Jonathan is a recipient of scholarships and grants from numerous organizations such as the Dorothy R. Starling Foundation, Lee Foundation, Shaw Foundation, and the National Arts Council of Singapore. He grateful for the loan of a c. 1686 Joseph Guarnerius filius Andreae violin from the Rin Collection, and an American bow from an anonymous donor.
Jonathan’s debut live violin performance was during his primary school’s general assembly, where he performed the theme song to “The Phantom of the Opera” in front of all his schoolmates. Till this day he has not watched the musical.
Jonathan was drafted into the Singapore army for two years, where he was an infantryman in a signal battalion and attained the rank of Corporal. He was also awarded the “Platoon Best Trainee” medal upon completion of boot camp(!). He barely played the violin for two years, and seven days after being discharged from the army, he auditioned and was accepted to the Cleveland Institute of Music on a full scholarship.
Jonathan’s first-ever quartet training as a child was as a member of the Ong Quartet, made up of himself and his three siblings, Juliana, Joel and Joseph. They played mostly for dinner guests and grandparents.