Red Dog Ensemble

Jonathan Cziner


Headshot of 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. His music has been praised for its "brilliant timbrel effects and contrasting moments of resonance and delicate filagree" (Theater Jones) and “daring harmonic explorations” (Dallas Morning News). Drawing on a wide variety of inspirations, Jonathan’s writing engages the senses and the emotions, fully immersing listeners in the musical experience.

Jonathan's works have been performed throughout the United States by ensembles including the Minnesota Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, New York Youth Symphony, Juilliard Orchestra, and New Juilliard Ensemble, and by acclaimed artists including conductors Osmo Vänskä and David Robertson, cellist Julian Schwarz; harpist Emily Levin; violinist Stella Chen; and pianist Steven Masi among others.

In addition to a 2018 Charles Ives Scholarship recipient from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Cziner has received numerous awards including the William Schuman Prize for most outstanding score at the BMI Student Composer Awards as well as two consecutive Palmer Dixon Prizes (2017 and 2018), awarded to the most outstanding work composed at the Juilliard School. His work has been selected by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Cone Institute, Minnesota Orchestra Composers Institute, Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra's Classical Evolve Competition, Juilliard Orchestra competition, among others.

Jonathan heads the composition program of the Charles Ives Music Festival, which focuses its programming on the music of Ives, as well as other past and present American composers. Equally dedicated to film scoring, he has worked with writer/director Nora Unkel on numerous films including her first feature film, A Nightmare Wakes, now streaming on Shudder.

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 was premiered in Carnegie Hall with the New York Youth Symphony under the direction of Michael Repper, and will have repeat performances in Dallas and Interlochen in the coming seasons, and three new works for the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, where Cziner was named Composer-in-Residence for their 2022-2023 season.

Cziner received a Bachelor of Music degree at New York University studying composition with Justin Dello Joio, and completed both his Master of Music and Doctor of Music degrees at The Juilliard School under the tutelage of Robert Beaser. Jonathan lives in Dallas, Texas with his wife Emily Levin, the Principal Harpist of the Dallas Symphony.