Jonathan Ovalle (b.1976) is a Mexican-American percussionist, drummer, pianist, composer, improviser, and collaborator. Known for his incredible musical versatility, he is equally comfortable on the concert stage, in the rock or jazz club, or freely improvising in a gallery space. As a soloist and chamber musician, he has presented recitals/concerts internationally in Asia, Europe, Canada, as well as throughout the United States. He currently serves as a resident faculty member of the International Percussion Institute, a summer percussion performance and research seminar held annually in Aberdeen, Scotland. Recent projects of the Institute include hosting a new program for young composers collaborating with institute percussionists on new chamber works for percussion in conjunction with British composer Joe Duddell and the Sound Festival.  

Concert highlights include the world premiere of Eric Ewazen’s new work The Cycles of Time (2019) for Trombone and Percussion duo at the GreenBox Arts Festival (CO) with Trombonist Jeremy Van Hoy as well as a performance of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians with New Music Detroit as part of their annual Strange Beautiful Music marathon. Recent solo and chamber recitals have included works by J.S. Bach, Gyorgi Ligeti, Andy Akiho, Andrea Mazzariello, Nicolas Martynciow, Minoru Miki, David Little, Alec Wilder, Steve Reich, Kristin Kuster, Gita Steiner, Olivia Kiefer, and Sarah Hennies.

An avid supporter of new music, 2019/2020 consortium commissions include new solo works for drumset by composers Marc Mellits and Yvette Jackson. Current recording projects include curating a collection of repertoire for solo vibraphone which includes new commissions from Roshane Etezady, Zoe Cutler, and Ellen Rowe as well as a recorded collection of in-studio improvisations and sound collages on drumset and piano.

Along with percussionist Neeraj Mehta, he performs with the percussion chamber duo, Percunova. The duo gave its international concert debut in July 2014 at the Thailand Brass and Percussion Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, followed by a concert/clinic tour of India including performances in Mumbai and Pune. The duo's current work is focused on concertizing and developing a body of repertoire which includes improvisations, arrangements, and new music which stands at the nexus of contemporary chamber percussion music and Afro-Cuban percussion traditions. Percunova has presented concerts and masterclasses in New York, Oregon, Colorado, Michigan, and Texas.

Ovalle is also a member of Ensemble Duniya, a five-member percussion collective dedicated to the synergy of contemporary chamber percussion and world percussion. The group’s highly successful concert debut at PASIC 2013 featured a program of new concerto works for world percussion soloists and chamber percussion ensemble and has led to performances in Michigan, New York, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Canada. In addition to his concerts as a soloist and chamber musician, Ovalle has performed with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Sarasota Opera, Brass Band of Battle Creek, and Detroit Chamber Winds.

A committed teacher, Ovalle is deeply inspired by the unique puzzle each student presents. He finds motivation in helping students overcome technical, musical, and mental blocks, embracing process as a pathway to success, and helping unlock their full potential. His pedagogical interests include: strategies for developing time/rhythm acumen, kinesiology/motor coordination and utilizing the body's natural physics to create greater efficiency, more depth of tone/touch across all instruments, as well as memory, organization, and process-based learning and their role in effective practicing.

As an educator/clinician, he has been a featured artist at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention as well as at the Ohio, Tennessee, Ontario, Quebec, Michigan, and Emory University Days of Percussion. He has also served on the faculty of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival in Sewanee, Tennessee, as well as the Idyllwild Arts Summer Chamber Festival Intensive in Idyllwild, California.

His former teachers include Michael Udow, Julie Spencer, Gerald Cleaver, Salvatore Rabbio, and Michael Gould as well as additional studies with vibraphonist Ted Piltzecker. Ovalle is a proud artist endorser with Pearl/Adams, Zildjian, Remo, and Innovative Percussion.