José Eduardo Rocha (photo by Luís Piranha Gonçalves, 2016)

José Eduardo Rocha (JER)

Composer, musician, artist, author, theatre director and lecturer, JER was born in Lisbon in 1961. Having studied fine arts at the Faculdade de Belas Artes da Universidade de Lisboa, musical composition at the Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa, and musicology at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, he obtained a Post-graduate degree in theatre in 2008 from the University of Alcalá, Madrid. In 2018, he was awarded the title of Specialist in Musical Composition-Performing Arts by the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria.

In 1990 he founded Ensemble JER – The Lisbon Plastics, a group formed to play a repertoire for toy instruments, instrumental music and musical theatre. Ensemble JER has given more than 200 shows in Portugal, Spain and Germany.

As a composer, he has written opera, musical theatre, instrumental music, chamber music, choral music and music for theatre and cinema (around 40 films).
Of particular note are: A Saga da Formiga (The Saga of the Ant) (Theatre in the Decade Award, 1992), Volkswagner (Maria Matos Theatre, 1996, Hannover Expo, 2000), Football (Monumental Festival, 1995, Belém Cultural Centre, 1997), Sinfonia Náutica (Nautical Symphony) (Lisbon Expo, 1998), Missa l’Homme Armé (Lisbon Cathedral, 1999), Suite for Harp (Tobis, 2002), the opera Os Fugitivos (Trindade Theatre/RTP, 2004), Piccola Sinfonia Pimba (Estoril Festival, 2004), Cozido à Portuguesa (D. Maria II National Theatre, 2006), Zeck (Trindade Theatre, 2007), the musical comedy A Conquista do Oeste (‘How the West Was Won’, on the 200th Anniversary of the Lines of Torres Vedras, 2010), the chamber opera Cabaret Vicente (São Luiz Municipal Theatre, 2014), Piano Quartet (Temporada Darcos, 2014), the mini-opera Os Malefícios do Tabaco (Grémio Caldense, 2021), and the choral pieces Ética (Aula Magna, 2021) and O vos omnes (Óbidos Sanctuary, 2024).

He collaborated with several ballet and theater groups, participated in numerous exhibitions, in several music, theater and film festivals, in Portuguese and international biennials, and also in Universal Expos like Expo ‘98 and Expo Hannover’2000.

Since 1998 he has lectured at the Escola Superior de Artes e Design de Caldas da Rainha (ESAD.CR) in the Fine Arts, Design, Sound and Image, Cultural Animation and Theatre faculties.

Useful links:

Ensemble JER Youtube channel (37 videos):

Playlist “Os Fugitivos” (opera, 2004, 17 videos):

Ópera Aberta [Open Opera], Leonor Areal, 2004
A documentary — premiered at the Cinemateca Portuguesa on 6th July 2005 — by the filmmaker and scholar Leonor Areal, about the making of the José Eduardo Rocha’s opera “Os Fugitivos”:

MIC profile (last update in 2017):

Guia das Aves de Aquilino Ribeiro, 2012 (second edition, 2020)
“Aquilino Ribeiro’s Bird Guide”, audio book edited by Ana Isabel Queiroz, with music by José Eduardo Rocha, Publisher Boca. 
Buy Book + CD / eBook + Mp3:

IMDb profile:

2nd Renaissance of Portuguese Composition:

Ensemble JER historical site (last update in 2006):

My Space link (last update in 2011):