Composer and conductor Jonathan Sheffer has had diverse career in music, spanning the worlds of classical, opera, dance, and film and television. Born in New York City, Mr. Sheffer graduated from Harvard University, where his teachers included Leonard Bernstein, and later attended The Julliard Extension School and the Aspen School of Music.

Mr. Sheffer’s range of works comprises television and feature film scores, works for orchestra, solo piano, concertos, musicals, and short operas. In addition to several scores for Hollywood films, including Encino Man, Pure Luck, A Shallow Grave and others, his most recent films include the documentaries Mann v. Ford (HBO) and the German/Israeli film, The Decent One, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. He has also served as conductor for many major films, including Alien 3, Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, Batman Returns, Interview With The Vampire, Across The Universe, and many more.

His most recent orchestral commission was a work for children, The Conference of the Birds, which had its premiere in 2014 at the Cabrillo Festival, conducted by Marin Alsop. His opera, Blood on the Dining Room Floor, produced off-Broadway in 2000 and revived several times since, received the Richard Rodgers Production Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was the focus of a Guggenheim Works & Process series event. He has had fellowships at both Yaddo and The MacDowell Colony, and in 2003 he was a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome.

Mr. Sheffer made his conducting debut with the San Diego Symphony in 1991. In 1995 in he founded the Eos Orchestra in New York, receiving an ASCAP Adventurous Programming Award as a laboratory of new programming ideas. Eos toured nationally, performed at the White House and was the focus of a PBS Special, and the recipient of a Grammy nomination. In 2001, he was invited by a group of musicians and arts donors from Cleveland to lead a new organization with a similar mission. The result was Red {an orchestra}, which performed similar programs for six seasons.

In addition to Eos and Red, he has conducted orchestras, opera, dance and at various festivals, including the New York City Opera, The Spoleto Festival (Italy), and the Ravinia Festival. Mr. Sheffer has conducted the American Ballet Theatre at the Metropolitan Opera, the Mark Morris Dance Company at BAM, and in 1996, he led the Scottish Chamber Orchestra with the Martha Graham Dance Company at the Edinburgh Festival.

As part of his activities in arts and culture philanthropy and political action, Mr. Sheffer has been an active political fundraiser and advocate for the arts in government. He has served on the board of Directors of VH1 Save The Music, the New York City Opera, and was the appointee of the New York City Council to the Board of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. He is currently a Councilmember of the New York State Council on the Arts.

Albums

Evolutionary Spirits

Release Date: June 28, 2019
Catalog Number: NV6218
21st Century
Vocal Music
Choir
EVOLUTIONARY SPIRITS brings together the artistry of Grammy Award-winning chamber choir The Crossing with innovative works of six contemporary composers. Ranging from songs of praise from the Biblical era to present day, and from contemporary poetry to the reimagining of a Shakespearean sonnet, EVOLUTIONARY SPIRITS explores humanity in all its facets.
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The Conference of the Birds

Release Date: April 8, 2016
Catalog Number: NV6037
21st Century
Orchestral
Orchestra
Depicting 12th-century Persian poet Farid ud-Din Attar’s dramatic narrative, New York-based composer and GRAMMY-nominated conductor Jonathan Sheffer presents his orchestral work The Conference of the Birds, commissioned for the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, on Navona Records. Attar’s poem of the same name is a journey of transformation and conviction, in which the birds of the world seek to find an illustrious leader, ultimately ending with new insight into their spiritual identities. The allegory portrays our own doubts, fears, and faults, how we confront these issues, and how we seek to understand identity and our relationships with other humans, the natural world, and what lies beyond.
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Concerto For Soprano Saxophone & Orchestra

Release Date: March 11, 2016
Catalog Number: NV6032
21st Century
Concertos
Orchestra
Saxophone
I met the Swedish saxophonist Anders Paulsson in the early 90s through my friend and mentor John Corigliano. Anders, always a very entrepreneurial sort of musician, was to be the focus of a 1996 concert on Swedish Public Television. Fortunately for me, the program included funding for a commission of a new concerto, and Anders kindly asked me to compose something for soprano sax and large orchestra.
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