Hi! I'm Dr. Jonathan Saraga; professional musician and educator living in New York City. I have been working as a trumpeter, composer, arranger, and studio musician for almost 2 decades and have been teaching full-time for the past 7, which includes nearly 3 at the University level. I have nearly 10 years of conservatory training, a Bachelor, Master and Doctorate degree, as well as over 20 years experience performing, recording, and competing on an international level.
I’ve been recognized internationally, by way of several organizations for excellence as a trumpeter and composer: 2007-Winner of International Trumpet Guild Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition; 2009-Finalist in Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition; 2011- Selected Participant in School for Improvisational Music Intensive Program; 2014-Callback for the Juilliard Artist Diploma program auditions; 2015-Selected Participant in Banff International Summer Intensive Program in Jazz and Creative Music ; 2016-Semi Finalist in International Songwriting Competition; 2016-Recipient of the ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award; 2017-Honorable Mention and Finalist in International Songwriting Competition; 2016-19-Full Scholarship w/ Paid Assistantship/Instructorship for Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Colorado, Boulder; 2019-Selected Participant in Banff Early Fall Musicians in Residence program; 2019-Finalist in Chamber Music America’s New Jazz Works Grant Competition.
I perform and record as a featured musician with Festival of New Trumpet Music, having participated in two world premieres, and in ensembles led by highly acclaimed and/or Grammy-nominated/winning artists such as Steve Coleman, Henry Cole, Maria Schneider, Darcy James Argue, Orrin Evans, Josh Evans, Jimmy Greene, Tyshawn Sorey, Eric Bergen and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra. I've performed at arenas, clubs, and concert halls alike, such as Carnegie Hall, The Putra World Tower, Symphony Space, the Barclay's Center, Dizzy's Club Coco-Cola, and Rockefeller Center to name only a few venues. As a leader, I've been performing original music all over NYC at known creative and jazz venues like Seeds, Cornelia St. Café, The Bar Next Door, Jazz at the Kitano, Shapeshifter Lab and Smalls Jazz Club, which Down Beat magazine considers to be two of the best jazz clubs in the world.
Besides professing a passion and skill-set for music within the ‘jazz’ idiom, my interest in and usage of sound draws from and many other forms of art. I've composed and arranged music for lyricists, improvised music for poetry readings at the Firehouse Space, and have provided musical accompaniment for dance classes, workshops, and performances presented by the Martha Graham Dance Academy and the Jeoffrey Ballet School. I've even co-choreographed short plays and have played for Marc Jacobs fashion runway shows.
My music also extends into the health and wellness community. I've served as a regular performer at the New Life Expo, and as a musical aid for art exhibitions (including a Syrian-post war realist art exhibition), Yoga classes at Jivamukti Jersey City, and meditation classes for WeWork, St. Peter's Church at the Citicorp Center, The Tibet House, Triskelion Arts the Firehouse Space, the Jewish Community Center, the New York Insight Meditation Center, and the NYU Skirball Theater.
As an educator, I have taught all-level/all-age group music playing and appreciation courses for several New York-based organizations: The Afro-Latin Jazz Academy, The Gramercy Brass Orchestra of New York, New York Ensemble Classes, the Lyceum Kennedy International School, Jubilee Enrichment Programs, Jazz Empowers and The New York Jazz Academy. I have also completed 6 semesters of service as a Graduate Part-Time Instructor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where I taught multiple playing ensembles as well as three semesters of a 100+ student History of Jazz lecture class for non-majors.
I teach out of a my home apartment studio on the upper east side, complete with weighted 88-key digital piano, Bose high quality speakers, recording equipment, as well as musical media, and tablature spanning many musical genres, cultures and time periods. I also am equipped with a spacious floor space for Yoga, Pilates, Weight Lifting, Meditation, and more.
While I specialize in the following broad areas of musical study, my specialties are not limited to: General Music, Composition, Arranging, Ear Training, Music History (includes classical, jazz, and world musics), Music Theory, Sight Singing, and Songwriting. I also specialize in the following instruments: Trumpet, flugelhorn, and Piano/Keyboards.
Last but not least, while I have invested over 30,000 hours into my musical training, my interests, practices, and skill sets extend beyond sound and visual art, and into the realm of philosophy, science, physics and spirituality. I have been practicing various forms of fitness, meditation and Yoga for the past 5 years, and my studies span the gamut of psychology, philosophy, calisthenics, Astral Projection, Reiki, Vipassana Meditation, Visualization, and much more.
I believe and live by the idea that creativity is an energy that flows through us, and one's creative abilities can be improved and expanded, through the emotional body, which is influenced by one's perceptions. Throughout my training in music, the arts, as well as my physical, mental and spiritual pursuits, I have realized that discipline, creative flow, and love for what one is and what one does can come together and yield great fulfillment and sense of purpose.
I look forward to being a part of your journey!
Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Piano/Keyboard, Composition, Arranging/Orchestration, Ear Training, Theory, Production, Music History, physical posture and approaches, technical approaches, placement & usage of equipment, science of musculature, thoughts & mental energy, breathing & physical energy, presence, creative flow, music theory, music history, memorization, repertoire, etiquette, tone/sound development, concept and voice, sight reading, sight singing, use of space, style, development of voice, breath work, air control, pitch, ear training, emotional control, solo structure, patterns, fragments, & shapes, harmonic manipulation and movement, melodic construction, harmony, chord study, music notation, phrasing, rhythm, transcription, composition, arranging, fingerings/scales, vocabulary, improvisation, articulation, range, dynamic control, advanced/extended techniques
Professional Musician at Jonathan Saraga Music
As someone who recognizes his own ability to create and share content that can have profound effects on a human being, Jonathan feels it is his duty to promote his work in ways that will reach people everywhere, regardless of age, financial means, or social/cultural prerogatives.
One of the healing effects music can have, is that it can re-unite people with childhood or young adult memories, stimulating emotions that may go otherwise untouched, amidst the trials and tribulations of adult life. While he enjoys creating art that amazes and dazzles people, Jonathan lives for the opportunity to touch and help people connect and re-center with their true self. Music has the potential to reach deep into the depths of a person's psyche and remind them of the sacred nature of their existence, and it is his hope that through that process, they will be inspired to further their own pursuit of whatever it is that touches them, and that they believe in.
Jonathan's favorite music to play and his favorite collaborative situations to participate in, are ones where the heart is exposed, and there is a letting go of fear; or at least an opportunity to do so. This can occur in performance situations, but also through interaction with people in non-performance situations. Bringing a state of awareness which acknowledges the human connection and condition, is something Jonathan is constantly attempting to maintain as well as refine.
Jonathan Saraga is a Blue Truffle Music and Fresh Sound Records recording artist. He took 1st place in the 2007 International Trumpet Guild Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition and competed as a finalist in the 2009 Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition. He has been awarded selected participation in the 2011 School for Improvisational Music Summer Intensive Program, the 2015 Banff International Summer Intensive Program in Jazz and Creative Music, and the 2019 Banff Early Fall Musicians in Residence program. Jonathan received the Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award presented by the ASCAP Foundation in 2016, was a 2-time Semi-Finalist as well as a Winner in the International Songwriting Competition in 2016 and 2017, and achieved finalist status in the 2019 New Jazz Works grant presented by Chamber Music America.
Since 2006, Saraga has performed throughout Europe, Asia, the Caribbean and across the U.S. in ensembles led by highly acclaimed artists such as Steve Coleman, Henry Cole, Maria Schneider, Remy LeBoeuf, Darcy James Argue, Orrin Evans, Josh Evans, Jimmy Greene, Tyshawn Sorey, Eric Bergen and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra to name a few. He teaches for NYC-based organizations such as The Afro-Latin Jazz Alliance, The Gramercy Brass Orchestra of New York, New York Ensemble Classes, Jazz Empowers and The New York Jazz Academy, and has served as a Graduate-Part Time Instructor for the University of Colorado, Boulder.