Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood CBE

BMus, MPhil, Hon RAM, FKC, FRNCM

Research Programmes - Principal


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Jonathan Freeman-Attwood is the 14th Principal of the Royal Academy of Music and was appointed in 2008. Alongside his commitment to education, he is also a recording producer, freelance trumpet player, writer and broadcaster, and was conferred a Professor of the University of London in 2001. He read music at the University of Toronto and graduated with First Class Honours before embarking on research at Christ Church, Oxford. He served for thirteen years as Vice-Principal & Director of Studies under his predecessor Sir Curtis Price after a period as Dean of Undergraduate Studies between 1991-5 when he was responsible for launching the first Bachelor of Music performance degree in the sector, with King’s College London, and under the aegis of the Centre of Advanced Performance Studies.

For over a quarter of a century in senior posts at the Academy, Jonathan Freeman-Attwood has played a leading role in launching pioneering programmes, major international relationships – nurturing a fifteen-year collaboration with the Academy’s sister-conservatoire in the USA, The Juilliard School – as well as several professional development initiatives, including the founding in 1997 of the Academy recording label (now with thirty titles to its name) to introduce talented young artists to the creative challenges of the studio. He has also assembled a roster of eminent international musicians as permanent staff or visiting professors. A close involvement in the artistic strategy of the Academy has led to the inauguration of successful community concert series, namely ‘Free on Fridays’, 400+ and, with the Kohn Foundation, a ten-year project to perform all of Bach’s sacred and secular cantatas. During his Principal-ship the Academy was granted Degree Awarding Powers from the Privy Council (2012) and has recently embarked on a number of transformational capital projects, including two new practice facilities and, from 2015, a major theatre and recital hall project to be completed in early 2018.

As a trumpet soloist Jonathan Freeman-Attwood has released nine solo albums, the majority with Linn Records, and has attracted wide critical acclaim for their musical originality and effective ‘re-imagining’ of the trumpet as a chamber instrument in reconstructions of works from c.1600 to the 20th Century. Initially with John Wallace and Colm Carey in 2003 he recorded The Trumpets that Time Forgot (Rheinberger and Elgar) before conceiving a series of programmes with pianist Daniel-Ben Pienaar: La Trompette Retrouvée (2007), Trumpet Masque (2008), Romantic Trumpet Sonatas (2010), A Bach Notebook for Trumpet (2012) and The Neoclassical Trumpet (2014).

The latter includes a re-working of the complete Pulcinella Suite, soon to be published by Boosey and Hawkes. Trumpet Masque won High Fidelity’s Recording of the Year in 2009. He also recorded the world première of Gabriel Fauré’s Vocalises in 2013, accompanied by pianist-scholar Roy Howat whose edition was published by Peters, and acts as Series Editor for Resonata Music’s ‘The Re-Imagined Trumpet’ in which, amongst other pieces from his catalogue, newly configured sonatas by Schumann, Mendelssohn and Fauré have been published. In 2014 he recorded the Godfather Theme for Sony as part of the anniversary celebrations of the classic films. An English Garland for Trumpet was recorded in early 2017 and will be released in 2018.

Jonathan Freeman-Attwood has produced over 250 commercial discs for many of the world’s most prestigious independent labels including Naxos, BIS, Chandos, Hyperion, Harmonia Mundi USA, Linn, Channel Classics and AVIE. His productions have won major awards, including several ‘Diapasons d’Ors’, 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 and Daniel-Ben Pienaar, and various leading cathedral choirs, including St Paul’s Cathedral and Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. He produced Gramophone’s ‘Record of the Year’ in 2010 – the final volume of William Byrd’s complete Latin Church Music for Hyperion.

As educator and scholar he continues to be active as a lecturer, critic, and contributor to journals  (Gramophone since 1992) 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.

He was appointed a Fellow of King’s College London in 2009 (where he is a Visiting Professor), a Trustee of the University of London from 2010 to 2015 and a Fellow of the Royal Northern College of Music in 2013. He is also the Vice-President of the National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain, Patron of London Youth Choirs, a Trustee and Chair of the Artistic Advisory Committee of Garsington Opera, and Trustee of Christ Church Cathedral Oxford Music, The Young Classical Artists’ Trust (YCAT), The British Library SAGA Trust, the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and the Countess of Munster Trust. He was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of Music in 2017.


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