Jon Mendle has toured with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble and made his Carnegie Hall debut while still a student at the age of 19. He received his Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Professional Studies degrees from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where his guitar teachers included Judicael Perroy and Sergio Assad, while studying lute and historical guitars with Richard Savino. Jon has also had lute lessons with Nigel North, Ronn McFarlane and Paul O’Dette. His first album, entitled L’infidele, was produced by his teacher, Latin Grammy winner Sergio Assad. Soundboard magazine called L’infidele “a beautiful disc,” adding “Mendle’s playing is a wonder.” Recently, Jon was awarded second prize in the 2021 Concorso di Musica Antica “Maurizio Pratola” international lute competition in L’Aquila, Italy.
Jon performs on a variety of instruments, including 19th century guitar, Renaissance and baroque lutes, vihuela and theorbo. When away from his arsenal of plucked instruments, he enjoys hiking in the beautiful California redwoods and attempting to pull the perfect espresso shot.
- PSC, San Francisco Conservatory of Music
- MM, San Francisco Conservatory of Music
- BM, San Francisco Conservatory of Music
- The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma (2010)
- The Pacific Guitar Ensemble (2010-2013)
- The San Francisco Guitar Quartet (2009-2014)
Awards and Distinctions
- Second Prize, 2021 Maurizio Pratola International Lute Competition
- Solo performance at Carnegie Hall
- Solo recital at 2014 GFA Festival
What is your hometown?
What is your favorite recording? Why?
Nigel North's Bach on the Lute series - the balance of freedom and control in the context of Bach's highly structured music was a revelation to me. There is at times an improvisatory-like freedom, but never at the expense of the voice leading, which is exquisitely clear throughout.
What are you passionate about outside of music?
Fine whiskies, coffee, history, and lately boxing.
Who were your major teachers?
Judicael Perroy, Sergio Assad, Lawrence Ferrara
What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?
"A performance is not a contest but a love affair." - Glenn Gould
What question do you wish students would ask sooner rather than later?
I love when students are curious about the "why" of musical interpretation.
What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?
When I started playing classical guitar, I just knew
What was a turning point in your career?
Getting to tour with Yo-Yo Ma, and finally cutting off my nails to pursue solo lute playing properly
What is your daily practice routine?
Practice for 1-3 hours in the morning, teach in the afternoon
If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?
Bach, Dowland, Weiss
Please provide links to videos and/or online audio.