Born in 1958, Jonathan grew up in London in a house full of music. He took up the piano aged 5 and sang, played and accompanied through his school years.
4 years at Oxford, music-making, listening and composing (where a Biochemistry degree also featured) nurtured his choral interest, and whilst he made his career in Business and Finance, he has continued singing and composition, typically of unaccompanied choral works. These have been performed widely particularly in the UK and US – with noteworthy performances at Kings Place, St. John’s Smith Square, Canterbury Cathedral, Canongate Kirk and St. Mary’s, Edinburgh; and in Dallas, Houston, New York and Washington DC (at the Basilica of the National Shrine). Recordings by Tenebrae, Gabrieli and others are available via the Recordings page.
Jonathan recently won 1st prize at the prestigious Orfeo Catala Composition Competition and his setting of Ave Maris Stella will have its European premier in Barcelona in April 2024; and with kind permission of the Competition organisers, it’s first performance London in October 2023. His setting of Sir Christemas also won the Christmas Composition Competition of Italian arts publisher, Diaphonia Edizioni in collaboration with the Palestrina Choir of Messina.
Jonathan writes: I’m sometimes asked where and how I compose, and what inspires me. It’s always at the piano, nearly always at home where I love the instrument and the room; and in manuscript, which I then transfer to Sibelius on a desktop PC. It’s not very efficient but suits me. And I’m nearly always text-led, though occasionally come up with an improvised tune or progression and retro-fit the text. I have discovered poetry anthologies are a wonderful source of short text which inspires word-painting in the music, and many of my secular compositions come from that source.
I continue to sing for a variety of choirs – symphonic to chamber to quartets – but for the last 30 years, the Joyful Company of Singers under the musical direction of Peter Broadbent, has been my main focus.
I joined in 1991, just after it won the inaugural Sainsbury’s Choir of the Year Competition, for a memorable trip to St. Petersburg (still in those days, Leningrad) and I have since sung in concerts and toured with the JCS in dozens of festivals and competitions all over Europe and to the US, including winning the Llangollen Choir of the World Competition. Peter’s breadth of programming, from early polyphony to premieres of new works – many commissioned – has been hugely enjoyable and helped develop my compositional confidence and style.
I also sing with a number of ad hoc choral groups including Vox Coelestis (which raises money for a variety of charities), Indulgence, Ramsay Singers, The Oxford St John Voices, Highgate Singers and Bedford Chorale.
I have the pleasure and privilege of being Chairman of multi award-winning Tenebrae, directed by Nigel Short, acclaimed as one of the greatest professional choirs in the world. And I was a former Chairman and founder singer of Stephen Jones’ wonderful City Chamber Choir.
Most listened to composers: Bach, Bennet (Richard Rodney), Britten, Byrd, Chilcott, Durufle, Elgar, Finzi, Grainger, Howells, MacMillan, Poulenc, Tallis, Vaughan Williams, Victoria, Walton.
Most listend to contemporary artists: Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, Caravan, The Real Group and Oscar Peterson.