Jonah Sirota is a violist and composer dedicated to the imaginative performance of viola music, both original and preexisting. His debut solo recording STRONG SAD, a 2018 National Sawdust Tracks release, features premiere recordings of new elegies for the viola by Nico Muhly, Paola Prestini, Arthur Joseph McCaffrey, Valgeir Sigur∂sson, Robert Sirota, Kurt Knecht, and Jonah himself (featuring "When You Lose You Win," his recorded composition debut). Other projects include The Flowering Viola: A recital of lush viola chamber music featuring pianist Molly Morkoski; and Mondegreen, an improvisation duo with organist/composer Kurt Knecht. Jonah is also a composer of music for film and media, as well as works for solo strings, chamber ensemble, and piano.
Jonah has been the violist of the Chiara String Quartet for all of its 18 years. 2017-2018 represents the quartet's final full-time season, as its four original members expand into new creative orbits, a decision made by the entire group in gratitude and love. With the Chiara Quartet, he toured internationally and has recorded seven albums and played in numerous major venues worldwide. The Chiara Quartet performed much of the string quartet repertoire from memory ('By Heart"), including the complete string quartets of Béla Bartók, a recording of which was released in 2016 on Azica Records. The group was been honored with a Grammy nomination (2011, Best Contemporary Classical Composition for Jefferson Friedman's 3rd String Quartet on the New Amsterdam label), the ASCAP/CMA Adventurous Programming Award, the Guarneri Quartet Award, top prizes at the Paolo Borciani Competition and the Astral Artistic Services Audition, and a Gold Medal at the Fischoff Competition. Their albums have been featured on N.P.R., and in "Best of the Year" lists from the Boston Globe, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. In the 2015-2016 season, the group was in residence at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, a venue to which the group returned for their farewell New York concert..
Jonah is also known as a viola teacher. He has an ongoing violinist.com blog series on switching from violin to viola. His "practice self-audit" has been used by viola students across the country to empower violists to motivate their own improvement and creativity in the practice room. His Practice Tune-Up for professional and adult amateur violists has given many the chance to reconnect with their own inner passion on the instrument. Mr. Sirota teaches at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Glenn Korff School of Music (where he has helped build a world-class chamber music program), at the Greenwood Music Camp, and in masterclasses and residencies throughout the country,