Jonah Elrod

Visiting Instructor of Composition
Robinson 314

Faculty Research Connections Profile

Dr. Jonah Elrod is a composer who researches cycles and signals from the Earth and incorporates them into his music. His works are inspired by and engage with issues surrounding our environment and human perception of the natural world.

His dissertation, Lilliputian Arctic Deviation (2018) for sinfonietta, utilized snow and ice extent data from the northern hemisphere to determine musical parameters and proportions. One of his most performed works, Urban Sky Glow (2016) for marimba and live electronics, is based on encroaching light pollution and its reduction of our view of the stars in the night sky. Urban Sky Glow was recorded by percussionist Brian Baldauff and has been published on his CD, Canyon, and also released on the Society of Composers, Inc. CD Series, vol. 33 (flux). He has also contributed three electronic works (It Means ‘Light,’ Blue Summer Dream, and Ambalangoda) to the Cities and Memory Global Sound Project, an extensive collection of fixed media works based on gathered soundscape recordings and photographs from recording artists and photographers.

In the summer of 2019, he collaborated with a student at Luther College and earned a research grant to explore the local soundscape and to create site-specific pop-up multimedia installations. Most of the music composed for the installations was created from manipulated recordings of the soundscapes, and some installations utilized MIDI controllers combined with Max/MSP patches to allow improvisation and interaction with the soundscapes in real time. The installations also included the use of portable video projectors that displayed images and videos created from their explorations.

His music has been performed at many new music festivals including the Society of Composers, Inc. National Conference, the John Donald Robb Composers Symposium, the New Music on the Bayou Festival, the Hot Air Music Festival, the TUTTI Festival, the New Music Gathering, and the New Gallery Series in Cambridge, MA.

He earned his Ph.D. in music composition from the University of Iowa in 2018 where he also served as an associate director of the electronic music studios. He earned a Master of Music degree in music theory and composition from the University of New Mexico in 2013, and a Bachelor of Music degree in music education from the University of Arizona in 2003.

He is currently a visiting professor (lecturer) at the UNC Charlotte where he teaches music composition, theory, and aural skills. In 2019–2020 he worked as a visiting assistant professor of music at Luther College, and in 2016–2017 he worked as an associate lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Dr. Elrod is currently a board member of the Iowa Composers Forum and is a member of the American Composers Forum, Society of Composers, Inc. (SCI), the Society of Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS), The International Alliance for Women in Music (IAWM), The Society of Music Theory (SMT), and the College Music Society.

For more information, please visit his website at