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Jonathan Bauer: Music and Science Are Not so Different

Today establishing his own lab in Germany after postdoctoral research in Israel, Dr. Jonathan Bauer is also bringing his vocal ensemble to Israel

Dr. Jonathan Bauer grew up in a family of musicians: Up to the age of 20, he studied in the renowned St. Stephan music school, in Augsburg, Bavaria, Germany. There he played oboe, violin, and viola. Besides participating in the orchestra and chamber music ensembles, he sang in the classical choir. The first foreign language he studied was Latin. But in science class, he was exposed to the field of chemistry and was enchanted by it. After graduation he enrolled in the University of Würzburg to study chemistry. He earned his PhD in chemistry at the University of Dortmund, working on the stereochemistry of functionalized organosilicon compounds and on the mechanistic understanding of substitution reactions on silicon.

That led him to postdoctoral research at the lab of Prof. David Milstein, of the Department of Organic Chemistry at The Weizmann Institute of Science. In Milstein’s lab, he investigated new catalytic processes for environmentally benign transformations based on the concept of metal-ligand cooperation. Back in Germany he is now starting his independent academic research career, working in his own lab and teaching students.

“My whole immediate and extended family was involved in music: My mother and two of her brothers are music teachers; another brother is a professional violinist in the Augsburg Philharmonic Orchestra; my father was educated as tenor opera singer, though he chose to focus on music teaching; my oldest brother plays the violoncello and my middle brother the piano. Although I loved music, I did not want to pursue a career of a professional musician. Back then it seemed to me so competitive and demanding. Today I can say that being a scientist is not that different,” says Jonathan with a smile.

Throughout the years of studying chemistry, music remained an integral part of his life. He participated in the university’s orchestra playing his beloved oboe. “Unfortunately, I didn`t bring my oboe with me to Israel as it is sensitive to climate changes, humidity, and air conditioning and I was a bit worried about that. Instead, I again focused on singing, usually in the lab or in my office after everybody went home,” he says.

“My closest friends are still the ones I studied music with in my youth. One of them had visited me in Israel, and together we came up with the idea of a concert tour in Israel. We gathered two more friends who also continued studying music in Salzburg and Munich, and together – two tenors, a bass and a baritone – we (re)established a vocal ensemble, accompanied by a professional pianist.”

Following rehearsals for the concert in Augsburg and Munich in the coming months, the concert tour is planned for the Easter week, and will include performances at Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion in Jerusalem on Easter Sunday and in Tabgha – at the center for German pilgrims near the Sea of Galilee with a special program for the holidays.



Israel BDS – building dialogue through science – aims to promote the kind of international collaboration that can lead to true understanding between people. Israel BDS stands for the free and open exchange of ideas among scientists everywhere. By reporting on the benefits of Israeli-international scientific research and the web of connections that these scientists create around the world, Israel BDS takes a vibrant approach to highlighting the global necessity of continued international scientific collaboration.


Dr. Jonathan Bauer :Israel bds : Dialogue Through Science