Quirky and vibrant, Jonathan Hannau is a Chicago-based composer and pianist submerged in the surreal, abstract, minimal, and colorful possibilities of music.
He actively embraces eclecticism and explores the concepts of narrative, drama, and stark expression while pushing them down the rabbit hole of timbre. Starting his musical career as a classically-trained pianist, his exposure to experimental and avant-garde music as an undergraduate sparked an interest in composition.
His compositions have been performed by the Ensemble Dal Niente, Nois~, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Ursa Ensemble, Origin Brass Quintet, Disquiet Music Ensemble, 20+ New Music Ensemble at DePaul University, Lakeshore Rush, Lake Effect Quartet, numerous soloists, and the CCMP players of Boston Conservatory.
An avid pianist and performer of new music, he currently plays in two Chicago-based groups: Ursa Ensemble, which performs contemporary and classical music during its concert season, and Plucky Plunkers: an improvisatory toy piano duo with composer Kelley Sheehan. His 3 year long solo project titled the Rocking Chair Series involved commissions of solo piano works presented alongside an interview with the composer; this creates an inviting atmosphere for the audience as they listen to a wide variety of musical styles and exposes them to specific insights of the compositional process. He recently became a member of Trade Winds, a group dedicated to teaching community building and leadership skills to at risk youth.
He is currently working on the release of his first solo piano album that will consist of a set of piano pieces inspired by the meditation series that he currently curates called: Music, Stillness, Solidarity. Where musicians improvise in a quiet meditative spirit for people to center themselves to.
Jonathan completed his graduate studies at Roosevelt University and undergraduate studies at DePaul University where he studied composition with Stacy Garrop, Kyong Mee Choi, Kurt Westerberg, Christopher Jones, Seung-Won Oh and piano with Jelena Dirks. He currently maintains the position of music director for the Ravenswood Fellowship United Methodist Church and Associate Accompanist for the St. Vincent DePaul Catholic Church. He also serves on faculty at the Chicago Academy of the Arts, Access Contemporary Music, Musical Chairs, Depaul University, and Old Town School of Folk Music.