Jonathan Powell is a pianist and composer. After studies with Denis Matthews and Sulamita Aronovsky, he established an international career as a soloist, his programmes ranging from standard Classical and Romantic repertoire to contemporary and little-known 20th century works. He has performed widely in Europe, as well as in Russia and the US; he has also appeared on national radio of many countries and recorded about 20 CDs.
Over the last decade, concert work has taken him on an eight-concert tour across the US, to the Musica Sacra Festival in Maastricht, the Musica Nova Festival in Helsinki, the Festival Radio France Montpellier, Borealis Festival in Bergen, the Huddersfield Festival of Contemporary Music, recital broadcasts for Radio Netherlands and Radio Deutschland Kultur, the Raritäten der Klaviermusik am Schloss vor Husum, Vredenburg Muziekcentrum in Utrecht, De Toonzaal in ‘S Hertogenbosch, and in the Jewish Museum and Altes Rathaus, Vienna. His recent concerto appearances include Brahms’ 2nd (with the Slovak Philarmonic), Liszt’s Malédiction (with the Kiev Soloists) and Finnissy’s 2nd Concerto (with the Seasons Chamber Orchestra at the Moscow Conservatoire). During 2013 and 2014 he made successful international tours featuring Messiaen’s Vingt regards sur l’enfant Jésus and Albeniz’ Iberia respectively.
Masterclasses, lecture-recitals and coaching have taken Powell to the Janáček Academy (Brno), Hogeschool (Ghent), Oxford University, the Guildhall School and Music and Drama (London), Cornish College of Arts (Seattle), and Det Jyske Musikkonservatorium (Esbjerg and Odense, Denmark), among others.
He has a particular interest in music of the early 20th century, and the music of Scriabin and other Russian modernists, not to mention that of Ives, Szymanowski, Busoni, Enescu and others. As a chamber musician, he has worked with ‘cellist Rohan de Saram, violinist Ashot Sarkisjan, flautist Matteo Cesari, and sopranos Svetlana Sozdateleva, Irena Troupova and Sarah Leonard. Powell has worked with several of today’s prominent composers, in particular Claudio Ambrosini, and Michael Finnissy; he has also commissioned many new works from the younger generation. As a recording artist, Powell has worked with labels including Altarus, ASV, Convivium, Danacord, Largo, NMC, Piano Classics and Toccata. While some CDs are devoted to contemporary music (such as the piano sonatas of John White and solo and concertante works by Morgan Hayes) others focus on previously unrecorded works of the late-Romantic era and golden age of pianist-composers (Blumenfeld, Goldenweiser etc). Powell also made a groundbreaking series of recordings of the music of Sorabji during the early 2000s, and recently completed a studio recording of his 7-hour Sequentia cylica.
Powell is a self-taught composer – he has recorded several of his own works for BBC broadcasts and has received performances by the London Sinfonietta, the Arditti Quartet, Valdine Anderson, Sarah Leonard, Darragh Morgan and Nicolas Hodges among others. His articles on many aspects of Russian music appear in the New Grove Dictionary of Music; his articles have been published by International Piano and the Finnish musicological journal Musiikki-lehti. He recently contributed to a book on the pianist-composer Samuil Feinberg, and co-edited the publication Rimsky-Korsakov and his Heritage.