Jonathan E. Bagg

Jonathan E. Bagg

Professor of the Practice in the Department of Music


External Address: 
083 Mary Duke Biddle, Durham, NC 27708
Internal Office Address: 
Box 90665, Durham, NC 27708-0665
(919) 660-3331

Jonathan Bagg is Professor of the Practice at Duke University and violist of the Ciompi String Quartet. His career with the Ciompi includes hundreds of concerts across the U.S. and around the world, as well as many recordings. Currently co-Artistic Director of Electric Earth Concerts in New Hampshire, Bagg teaches viola and chamber music at Duke and is Chair of the Music Department.

Prior to founding Electric Earth Concerts in 2013, Bagg directed the Monadnock Music festival for six years. Bagg has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the NH State Council on the Arts, and many other foundations, in support of his work as an Artistic Director. In this role he has initiated many creative collaborations between authors, poets, and choreographers resulting in dozens of newly commissioned works, including the recent “A Forest Unfolding” which involved 4 writers, 4 composers, and featuring novelist Richard Powers as narrator.

He is currently principal viola of CityMusic Cleveland Chamber Orchestra, with whom he has performed as soloist. Recitals have brought Bagg to many places the East Coast, including the Phillips Collection in Washington, Boston’s Jordan Hall, New Hampshire's Currier Gallery. Festival appearances include the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, the Eastern Music Festival, the Portland Chamber Music Festival, the Sebago-Long Lake festival, and the Highlands, NC, Mohawk Trail, and Castle Hill festivals.

Bagg’s recent CD on the Albany label, tiled “Elation,” brings together several works he commissioned, including a sonata and trio by Duke colleague Stephen Jaffe and a trio by Scott Lindroth, Duke's Vice-Provost for the Arts. His other solo CDs (on Centaur) contain music for viola and piano by Robert and Clara Schumann, and by Viennese composer Robert Fuchs (1847-1927). Contemporary solo works by Robert Ward, Arthur Levering, Malcolm Peyton, and Donald Wheelock are on Bridge, Albany, Centaur and Gasparo Records. Collaborations include many notable musicians, including pianists Menahem Pressler and Bella Davidovich, saxophonist Branford Marsalis, jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon, and the Tokyo and Borromeo Quartets, to name only a few.

Before coming to Duke he performed with many of New Enlgand’s leading musical organizations, appearing often with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, as associate principal of the Handel and Haydn Society, as principal viola in the New Hampshire Symphony and assistant principal in the New Haven Symphony. He graduated with honors from both Yale University (BA) and the New England Conservatory (MM), where he studied with Steven Ansell and Walter Trampler.


  • M.Mus., New England Conservatory of Music 1984
  • B.A., Yale University 1982

Studies in Relief. Musician. (2001)


The Ciompi Quartet, Studies in Relief (2001), Pro Organo (CD 7143) (Works for Organ and String Quartet, with Marilyn Keiser, Organ.)

Mark Kuss. Musician. (2000)


The Ciompi Quartet, Mark Kuss (2000), Gasparo (GSCD 337) ("American Tryptich" for String Quartet.)

Scott Lindroth: Human Gestures. Musician. (1999)


The Ciompi Quartet, Scott Lindroth: "Human Gestures" (1999), CRI (CD 808) (String Quartet.)

Donald Wheelock: 3 Sonatas. Musician. (1998)


J.E. Bagg, Donald Wheelock: 3 Sonatas (Spring, 1998), Gasparo (GSCD 316) (Viola Sonata.)

The Music of David Froom. Musician. (1998)


The Ciompi Quartet, The Music of David Froom (Summer, 1998), Arabesque (Z67 10) (String Quartet.)

Malcolm Peyton: String Quartet, Songs from Whitman, Suite Nocturnale. Musician. (1997)


J.E. Bagg, Malcolm Peyton: String Quartet, Songs from Whitman, Suite Nocturnale (1997), Centaur (CRC 2327) (Suite Nocturnale.)

The Ciompi Quartet in Concert. Musician. (1997)


The Ciompi Quartet, The Ciompi Quartet in Concert (1997), VAC High Fidelity Recordings (Mozart, Debussy, Hensel string quartets.)

Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Musician. (1996)


The Ciompi Quartet, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1996), Albany (Troy 191) (Piano Quintet.)

Robert Fuchs: Phantasiestücke, Opus 117, Sonate, Opus 86, Trio, Opus 115. Musician. (1996)


J.E. Bagg, Robert Fuchs: Phantasiestücke, Opus 117, Sonate, Opus 86, Trio, Opus 115 (1996), Centaur (CRC 2278) (Liner notes by Jonathan Bagg.)

The Music of James Bolle. Musician. (1996)


The Ciompi Quartet, The Music of James Bolle (1996), Gasparo (GS CD 317) (String Quartet No. 1.)