Chair, Department of Music
Professor of Music
A native of Toronto, Canada, Jonathan Gonder began piano studies at age seven. His initial university education took place at the University of Western Ontario, where he earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in piano performance, with minors in choral conducting and music theory. He subsequently studied with renowned French pianist Marcel Ciampi before progressing to his doctorate in piano performance at the University of Michigan; his teacher there was the celebrated and widely-recorded pianist Gyorgy Sandor.
As a young pianist, Jon regularly competed in music competitions at the national and international levels. He was winner or runner-up in the all-province music competitions three times as an undergraduate student, was winner of the Southeast Regional Music Competition (with contestants from six states), and was a Finalist in the William S. Boyd International Piano Competition.
Dr. Gonder has often been recognized with both academic and performance awards. Included are two gold medals, one for the highest graduating average in his bachelor's degree, and one for the highest performance grade received across Canada in his Associateship performer's diploma. He was one of only 100 students nationwide, and the only performing musician, to receive a prestigious Special M.A. Scholarship for graduate study from the Canada Council, the equivalent of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
As a performer, Jon has presented solo concerts, concerto performances with orchestra, chamber music, accompaniments, and piano duo concerts. He has appeared on national television and radio in Canada, on NPR in the U.S., and has performed in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Recent engagements have included performances with the Johnstown Symphony and Livingston Symphony as soloist, solo recitals in Northern Ontario and in Indiana, and on WQED's Performance in Pittsburgh. In 2005, he toured western Pennsylvania as part of the Piano Masters series which he founded, a concert series where college and university faculty members perform in several communities in the region.
Having chosen to work as a music professor, throughout his career he has balanced performance activities with academic and administrative duties. He has held teaching positions in institutions such as the University of Michigan, the University of Oklahoma, the Université canadienne en France, SUNY Sullivan in New York, Laurentian University in Canada, and the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, and has also served in senior administrative positions in both academic and student affairs. He is presently the Chair of the Department of Music and Professor of Music at the State University of New York at Geneseo, the college recently rated as the Number 1 publically-funded liberal arts college in the United States.