Jonathan Rathbone

Jonathan was a chorister at Coventry Cathedral and later a choral scholar at Christ's College Cambridge, where he read mathematics. He then studied at the Royal Academy of Music where he specialised in singing and composition, winning prizes in choral, conducting and orchestration. Jonathan joined the Swingle Singers in 1984 and was musical director for eight of the twelve years he sang with them. During that time he created the majority of their arrangements.


He has worked with many of the world's leading musicians and orchestras, both classical and commercial; these include the New York Philharmonic under the direction of Pierre Boulez and the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the direction of Luciano Berio. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, New York, with jazz great Stéphane Grappelli and recorded backing vocals for Beatles producer George Martin and French pop star Etienne Daho.


He left the Swingle Singers in 1996 in order to spend more time writing, arranging and orchestrating. He is in constant demand as a choir trainer, works with vocal ensembles all over Europe and adjudicates choral competitions. Closer to home he directs three choirs in North London, and is musical director at St Mary's Church Walthamstow.


He is now an in-house composer with the music publishers Peters Edition. He is currently working on a large scale commission for a choir in London and various other works for choirs around the world. His book on sight singing was published last year, and a new book Christmas Pieces for Choir and Orchestra is in preparation. He is also very busy as an orchestrator, having written over 130 orchestral and string arrangements in the last year. He often travels to Prague to oversee the recording of these arrangements using members of the Prague Symphony Orchestra.


In 2013, Jonathan was awarded an ARAM (Associate of the Royal Academy of Music), an award made "to former students of the Academy who have made a notable contribution to the music profession". He also travelled to Sweden and worked with his old friend Bob Chilcott in Rättvik, then adjudicating in Finland at the Tampere Festival before flying to Hong Kong to work with a young Chinese choir. He was also appointed director of music for the Middlesex University Choir.


During the summer he completed the orchestrations for a new musical called "Love Beyond" which he also conducted at its premiere in Brighton in October. In November he flew to Malta to adjudicate for Interkultuur at their festival there. He wrote a set of new arrangements of German Carols for the Rundfunkchor, which were premiered in Berlin last December. And he recently put the finishing touches to a major commission by the Vasari Singers for a piece entitled "Under the Shadow of His Wing" which will be premiered on 17 October at St Albans Church, Holborn.


Earlier last year, he flew to Norway to work with the vocal ensemble "Nordic Blue", and also wrote an anthem for the installation of the new Bishop of Durham. He pulled together a 50-strong orchestra of local (mostly amateur) musicians and created the orchestrations for the farewell service for the Bishop of Barking. During the summer, he flew to Singapore for more workshops, masterclasses and adjudication.