Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood

Jonathan Freeman-Attwood

BMus, MPhil, Hon RAM, FKC, FRNCM

Principal

Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood is a performer, recording producer, writer, educator and Principal of the Royal Academy of Music in London. His earliest professional experience was as a 10-year-old singing in the chorus of Glyndebourne and its Touring Opera. He subsequently studied at the University of Toronto and Christ Church, Oxford before pursuing a career principally as a freelance trumpet player. During this time he became interested in record production – especially in chamber contexts – alongside broadcasting and as a regular contributor to Gramophone and many other publications. Since 1990 he has also held a number of positions at the Royal Academy of Music where he was charged with leading the pioneering new degree in performance studies under the aegis of King’s College London. He became Vice-Principal and Director of Studies at the Academy in 1995, a post he held until 2008.

As a trumpet player, Jonathan Freeman-Attwood has attracted critical acclaim from the press for his solo recordings, most notably in a series for Linn which explores how the trumpet may be retrospectively ‘re-imagined’ within established traditions of mainstream solo and chamber music. The first disc, with John Wallace, entitled ‘The Trumpets that Time Forgot’, heralded a flurry of transcriptions for trumpet and piano with Daniel-Ben Pienaar, including a virtuosic arrangement of Fauré’s Violin Sonata, Op.108 (‘La Trompette Retrouvée’) and a disc of 17th-century instrumental and vocal arrangements (‘Trumpet Masque’), which won High Fidelity’s Recording of the Year (2008) and was praised for its ‘extraordinary playing, switching between fizzy fireworks and tender pathos with ease’ (The Observer). Sonatas by Grieg, Mendelssohn and Schumann (‘Romantic Trumpet Sonatas’) and an innovative recital of works by eleven members of the Bach family (‘A Bach Notebook for Trumpet’) were released in 2011 and 2013 respectively.

Plans for 2014 include the release of ‘Lydia’s Vocalises’ with pianist-scholar Roy Howat, a programme of world premieres of Fauré’s recently discovered vocalises from the Paris Conservatoire. In 2015 he will also release, with Pienaar, a major new re-working of Stravinsky’s Pulcinella (by kind permission of Boosey and Hawkes) alongside other Neo-Classical pieces. From 2014, Resonata Music started to publish arrangements from these albums.

Jonathan Freeman-Attwood has produced well over 200 commercial discs for many of the world’s leading independent labels including Naxos, BIS, Chandos, Hyperion, Harmonia Mundi USA, Channel Classics and AVIE. Several of his productions have won major awards, including ‘Diapasons d’Or’, eight Gramophone awards and numerous nominations over the last twenty years with artists such as Rachel Podger, the Cardinall’s Musick, Trevor Pinnock, Phantasm, I Fagiolini, The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Daniel-Ben Pienaar and various leading cathedral choirs. He produced Gramophone’s ‘Record of the Year’ in 2010 – the final volume of William Byrd’s Latin Church Music for Hyperion. In 1997, he founded the in-house label of the Royal Academy of Music as a means of introducing talented young artists to the creative challenges of the studio.

An educator and scholar, he continues to be active as lecturer, critic, and contributor to journals and books, including The New Grove (2nd edition) and Cambridge University Press’s Companion of Recorded Music and to BBC Radio 3. He is an established authority on Bach interpretation, particularly as it challenges and refocuses historical perspectives on performance practices, and writes essays regularly for EMI, Warner, Deutsche Grammophon, Universal, and other major record labels.

In July 2008, Jonathan Freeman-Attwood became the fourteenth Principal of the Royal Academy of Music, founded in 1822. He was appointed a Fellow of King’s College London in 2009, a Trustee of the University of London in 2010 and a Fellow of the Royal Northern College of Music in 2013. He is also a Trustee and Chair of the Artistic Advisory Committee of Garsington Opera, a Trustee of the Young Classical Artists’ Trust (YCAT), the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and the Countess of Munster Trust.

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