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 Fl├ívio 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

April 2023
'Rock/Paper/Scissors' - first performance of a radical new interface between violin improvisation, composition, orchestra, and conductor. Highlights here.
KNM, Berlin
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
March 2024
'Night Songs' celebrates an interspecies multi-media engagement between the ancient music of a uniquely Australian songbird - Cracticus nigrogularis (the Pied Butcherbird) and Australia's premiere new music group Ensemble Offspring. Documentation here.
The Adelaide Festival
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