Jonathan Ortega

Music for Film, Television, and Video Games

About Me

Jonathan_MinLessI'm a Los Angeles-based composer hard at work realizing my life-long passion for the creation of music. I believe in character themes, bombastic percussion, and beautiful harmony. I believe in the power of music to enhance the cinematic experience, at various turns scaring, thrilling, and emotionally destroying an audience, and that such power must be tempered with balance, subtlety, and an appropriate use of silence. And I believe in my ability to apply my talent, passion, and experience towards giving any project its own unique, musical soul.

The cornerstone of my career in the industry has been six years working alongside and learning from a prolific composer of great talent and musical integrity: Bear McCreary. I've served at various times since 2008 as an orchestrator, copyist, sample programmer, percussionist, scoring coordinator, and principally, as an additional composer. From the quirky town of Eureka, to the harrowing soundscapes of the The Walking Dead, from the old world of Da Vinci's Demons to the new world of Defiance it has been an honor to be a part of Bear's team.

Collaboration has transitioned into a growing solo career. In 2011 I scored the film Red Faction: Origins for the SyFy channel, weaving a diverse tapestry of traditional orchestral instrumentation, ethnic soloists, junk-yard percussion, and modern electronics to reflect the varying cultures, locales, characters, and settings of the film. It provided me with the opportunity to write everything from aleatoric, atonal soundscapes to a choral Russian propaganda march, and to explore instrumentation ranging from chamber strings and piano, to an ensemble of buckets, paint-cans, brake drums, and industrial machine parts. And in the grand space-opera tradition, it was full of the sort of heroes, villains, stand-offs, betrayals, and noble sacrifices that required just the sort of themes, bombast, beauty, and grand emotional statements that I thrive on. 

Since Red Faction I've scored a wide variety of projects, from mockumentaries to web series. Recent ventures have included collaborating with composer Michael Beach on the short film The Signal, and the television film Rewind for the SyFy channel.

I studied at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, earning a Bachelors of Music in Composition. Combined with a strong pre-college performance background as an orchestral percussionist, this has given me strong credentials in solo, chamber, and orchestral writing and orchestration. The breadth and depth of my education puts centuries of musical knowledge and tools at my disposal; I draw my influences from ancient melodies, Renaissance counterpoint, Classical harmony, and 20th Century rhythms, and marry it with a drummer's desire to make loud noises by hitting things. These experiences, coupled with a love of film scores cultivated since the age of 4, form the core of my identity as a composer.

Together, my traditional education and contemporary professional experience allow me to say with complete confidence that I can write in any style, achieve any sound, and complete any project, for any medium.

And my best music is yet to be written.