The German mezzo-soprano, Maria Jonas, began her musical career as an oboe student at the Musikhochschule Köln. She then spent several years in Venezuela. There, she founded and successfully managed a music school. Back in Europe, she concentrated on her training as a singer and studies of ancient music. She mainly studied with Jessica Cash in London as well as with Monserrat Figueras in Barcelona and René Jacobs at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis.
Maria Jonas, is one of the most creative and fascinating characters in the area of Ancient Music - but not only there. As an accomplished interpreter of ancient and modern music, Maria Jonas is constantly searching for an adequate and lively ways of performing musical works. To this purpose, she founded the ensembles "convoce.coeln" (vocal music of the 16th - 17th century), Monteverdi Ensemble Köln, and LaRisa, and, together with Norbert Rodenkirchen, Diphona (a duo keen on improvisation for performing medieval music) as well as Condanza (music and dance) and Ars Coralis Coeln. This work lead to completely new and unconventional styles of performance which go far beyond the framework of a usual concert and thus led to invitations to various festivals in Europe, Australia, USA and Asia. Jonas has also worked and recorded with Jordi Savall, Sequentia, Alte Musik Dresden, La Sfera Armiosa.
Maria Jonas is a highly sought after concert-soloist, having made European tours with the European Baroque Orchestra conducted by Roy Goodman, the Hilliard Ensemble and the English Baroque Soloists under John Eliot Gardiner, which took her to all corners of Europe. In the field of musical theatre, Maria Jonas has received tour contracts from, among others, from Teatro Regio di Parma, the Teatro Comunale di Ferrara, the Teatro Real of Madrid, the Teatro Camoes Lisboa, Landestheater Neuss, Concertgebow Amsterdam, Royal Albert Hall, Schauspielhaus Bochum, Ludwigsburg.
In 1998 she was invited to the International Festival of Contemporary Music in Cuba and to Lisbon, Madrid and the Carnegie Hall (NYC) and could be seen in July 2001 at the Lincoln Center Festival (NYC), where she performed the title role in The White Raven, the latest opera by Philip Glass, directed by Robert Wilson, and under the musical direction of Dennis Russell Davies.
As an interpreter of contemporary music, Maria Jonas could be heard performing at the Musiktagen für Neue Musik in Donaueschingen and at the International Summer Course for Contemporary Music in Darmstadt. She regularly works with composers such as Manos Tsangaris, Maria de Alvear and Johannes S. Sistermans.
In recent years Maria Jonas has spent an increasing amount of time in opera and contemporary music. This season she performs with Condanza and Sequentia, and premieres a new dance-music-theatre piece Barbaro/o, about the Venetian composer Barbara Strozzi, at the Adelaide Festival in Australia, and later performs this piece throughout Europe.
Besides her concert activities and various CD and radio recordings, Maria Jonas has had a guest professorship for Historic Singing at the Folkwang Hochschule Essen/Duisburg since 1999. In her home town of Brühl near Cologne, Maria Jonas has a cinema for art films which has won an award for its quality.