Violin Slave: Violino Escravo
Serralves Museum 2010
Radio inside a Violin: A gift to Jon Rose by the marketing department of WDR Cologne
  • Commissioned by Pedro Rocha and The Serralves Museum, Porto, in partnership with the Institute of Sociology of University of Porto and the Centre for Research and Studies of Sociology of ISCTE - University Institute of Lisbon. Violino Escravo was a live radiophonic performed work in the series Get Documented! - Senses of Recognition.
  • Text (based on historical sources) and music by Jon Rose.
  • The voice of Joseph Emidy was performed by Flávio Hamilton, the proposed violin music of Emidy by Jon Rose.
  • The online version has some of the text removed (as the performed version was intended for a Portuguese speaking audience).
  • This work was based on an (as yet) unperformed violin concerto written by Jon Rose, a fragment of which can be heard here.
  • More details of Emidy and some of the notable slave violinists in history can be viewed here. For example, George Bridgetower (1780-1860), was the half-caste son of an African father, for which Beethoven wrote nothing less than the Kreutzer sonata.

Joseph Emidy (1775? - 1835) was an African slave, captured as a child on the Guinea Coast and, a few years later, taken by his master from Brazil back to Portugal. There, before the end of his teen years, he was performing as violinist in the Lisbon Opera Orchestra (after only four years tuition, allowed him by his enlightened master). Soon after, he was press-ganged into the British Navy for a period of seven years as ship's fiddler. He was eventually released not back into elegant Lisbon society but into the backwaters of Cornwall, England. He then went on, over the next thirty years, to become the most celebrated composer, violinist, orchestra leader, and teacher in southwest England.

What's New

March 2023
'Beak' - Kronos Quartet plays the world premiere, a composition based on the song of a Pied Butcherbird by Jon Rose and Hollis Taylor.
Adelaide Festival
July 2022
'Fringe Benefits 1977​-​1985' - Historic glimpses of Improvised and Experimental Music in Australia; making available recordings from the original vinyl and cassette catalogue on Fringe Benefits.
May 2021
'State of Play' titles my double album featuring duo improvisations and recent projects with a cast of great collaborators...out now!
ReR Recommended Records, London
May - October 2021
'Whistling in the Dark' embraces a set of duets between various pied butcherbirds (from field recordings in outback Australia) and virtuosic human musicians (in home lockdown) performing transcriptions of this extraordinary avian music.
On Line Project available September
November 2021 - Premiere
'Mendel's Mix' - A commission for Brno Contemporary Orchestra. Finally after many Covid-19 delays, the work is performed. Inspired by the 'father' of genetics, Johann Gregor Mendel, and based on the structure of DNA, you can mix your own version here.
Brno, Czech Republic
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