He started his career as an orchestral conductor with a fellowship to the Boston Philharmonic that was followed by engagements in Europe and the UK. He ultimately found life on the podium both stressful and a little bit soul-destroying.
The experience did, however, enrich his subsequent career as an educator, both as a speaker on classical music and as a creative workshop leader.
In those roles, Jonathan has worked with orchestras across the UK and Europe (including the Czech Philharmonic, BBC orchestras, Royal Philharmonic), with BBC Radio 3, with conservatoires (Royal College of Music and Guildhall School of Music and Drama), universities and schools, and a whole range of venues and communities, from the National Children’s Orchestra through to asylum-seeking musicians and people recovering from addiction.
He spent six years as a Head of Music and then of Performing Arts at an FE college, and has been a teacher trainer ever since. He finds lifting the veil on musical processes and seeing people learn deeply rewarding.
His PhD was in how to facilitate creative collaboration across different musical styles with advanced players, and that has now become his specialism. His quest is always to get beyond a soundscape and create something that grabs the listener as well as challenging the players.
He improvises daily at the piano, composes when time allows, writes creatively, and is constantly arranging instrumental and choral pieces for groups with whom he works. He enjoys exploring jazz and world music influences and always aims to be stylistically supple. The thing that excites him the most as a musician is seeing a seed idea become a fully-fledged, beautifully performed piece.