Jonathan Freeman-Attwood is the 14th Principal of the Royal Academy of Music, a post he has held since 2008
His commitment to education spans over 30 years, during which time he has also established himself as a recording producer, freelance trumpet player, writer and broadcaster. In the early years of his career, he was awarded the Healey Willan Memorial Scholarship at the University of Toronto, from which he graduated with First Class Honours, before embarking on research at Christ Church, Oxford.
From 1991 to 1995, he served as Dean of Undergraduate Studies at the Royal Academy of Music, then 13 years as its Vice-Principal and Director of Studies. In 2001, he was conferred Professor of the University of London. For over a quarter of a century in senior posts at the Academy, Jonathan has played a leading role in launching pioneering programmes and fostering major international relationships. He has been instrumental in nurturing a 20-year collaboration with The Juilliard School in New York, as well as masterminding several major artistic and professional development initiatives, including the Academy’s recording label (producing nearly 40 titles including those on Linn Records since 2012) 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 several successful concert series, including with the Kohn Foundation a 10-year project to perform all of Bach’s sacred and secular cantatas, extended into ‘Bach the European’ in 2019, co-curated with John Butt. During Jonathan’s Principalship, the Academy was granted Degree Awarding Powers from the Privy Council (2012) and has embarked on a number of transformational capital projects, including two new practice facilities and, from 2015, the building of the award-winning Susie Sainsbury Theatre and Angela Burgess Recital Hall, completed in 2018.
Jonathan is a Fellow of King’s College London (where he is a Visiting Professor) and has also been awarded fellowships from Royal Northern College of Music and Royal College of Music. He is also on the Advisory Board of the Academy of Ancient Music, Vice-President of the National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain, Patron of London Youth Choirs, and a trustee and Chair of the Artistic Advisory Committee of Garsington Opera. He is also a trustee of Christ Church Cathedral Oxford Music, the British Library SAGA Trust, the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and the Countess of Munster Trust, and he served for a decade on the board of Young Classical Artists’ Trust (YCAT) and as a trustee of the University of London from 2010 to 2016.
As a trumpet soloist, Jonathan Freeman-Attwood has released 10 solo albums, the majority of them with Linn Records, and he has attracted wide critical acclaim for their musical originality. These recordings have achieved an effective reimagining 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), The Neoclassical Trumpet (2014) and, most recently, An English Sett for Trumpet. Trumpet Masque won High Fidelity’s ‘Recording of the Year’ in 2008.
He also recorded the world premiere of Gabriel Fauré’s Vocalises in 2013, accompanied by pianist-scholar Roy Howat, whose edition was published by Peters. Jonathan is a Series Editor for Resonata Music’s The Re-Imagined Trumpet, in which, among other pieces from his catalogue, newly configured sonatas by Schumann, Mendelssohn and Fauré have been published. In 2020, he published with composer Thomas Oehler a Sonata ‘after Richard Strauss’ for Boosey and Hawkes, recorded for Linn as part of The Viennese Trumpet. In May 2020, BBC Music Magazine wrote: ‘Freeman-Attwood’s brilliantly recorded high lines and judiciously vibratoed singing prove companionable for the whole duration’.
Jonathan 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’Or, Gramophone Awards, and numerous nominations over the last 20 years with artists including Rachel Podger, the Cardinall’s Musick, Trevor Pinnock, Phantasm, La Nuova Musica, I Fagiolini, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Daniel-Ben Pienaar, and various leading cathedral choirs – among them St Paul’s Cathedral and Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. He produced the final volume of Andrew Carwood’s Byrd Edition (Vol 13) for Hyperion, which won the prestigious Gramophone ‘Recording of the Year’ in 2010.
As an educator and scholar, he is active as a lecturer, critic, and contributor to journals (including Gramophone since 1992) and publications such as The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2001, 2nd edition) and Cambridge University Press’s Companion of Recorded Music, and also to BBC Radio 3. He is an established authority on Bach interpretation, particularly in challenging and refocusing historical perspectives on performance practices. He regularly writes for Warner, Decca, Deutsche Grammophon and other major record labels.
He was appointed CBE in the New Year’s Honours List in 2018.