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JONATHAN BUTCHER is an experienced and versatile conductor whose repertoire not only encompasses all the major Orchestral, Choral and Operatic works, but also includes a large selection of 20th and 21st Century compositions. He has a particular passion for the Chamber Orchestral repertoire and is much admired for his work with young people and students.
Whilst studying at the Royal College of Music, where he was awarded a Foundation Scholarship, he won all the major Conducting prizes, including The Sir Adrian Boult Conducting scholarship (on three consecutive occasions), The Arthur Bliss Prize and a Leverhulme Studentship for further study at Tanglewood, U.S.A.
His teachers have included Leonard Bernstein, Jan Stulen, André Previn and Seiji Ozawa, but his major influence and inspiration was the great Strauss Scholar and recognised authority on the Orchestra – Norman del Mar.
Jonathan promoted two International Conducting Courses with Norman Del Mar as Director and in 1999 he organised and conducted at a Tribute Concert to Norman held at the Royal College of Music.
Since his teens, Jonathan’s diary has remained consistently full and he has worked with many Orchestras and ensembles, including the London Mozart Players, English Symphony Orchestra, New London Orchestra, Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra, National Centre for Orchestral Studies, Divertimenti, London Bach Orchestra, Promenade Orchestra of Radio Hilversum, Holland, Surrey Sinfonietta, National Orchestra of Malta and the Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pflaz.
On the lighter side he has conducted two Hoffnung Concerts in Munich and last year Jonathan conducted several New Year concerts in and around Ludvigshaven, Germany.
At present he holds Musical Directorships with three Orchestras and is Artistic Director of Surrey Opera with whom he has conducted many acclaimed productions which include Peter Grimes, The Turn of the Screw, Falstaff, Eugene Onegin, Carmen, La Boheme, Turandot, Madama Butterfly, Nabucco, Aida, Faust, Fidelio, Tosca and most recently Janácek’s The Cunning Little Vixen and Verdi’s Macbeth.
In 2002 Surrey Opera’s production of The Pearl Fishers, which Jonathan also directed, toured the South East of England, culminating in seven performances at the world famous Minack Open Air Theatre, in Cornwall. Other opera companies Jonathan has worked with include Opera 80 (now E.T.O.), with whom he conducted The Italian Girl in Algiers, New Sussex Opera - Il Trittico, Benevenuto Cellini and L’Elisir d’Amore. Chelsea Opera Group – The Olympians and Court Opera – The Marriage of Figaro and
The Barber of Seville.
In the genre of Music Theatre Jonathan has had a wide and varied experience, including Sweeney Todd and Follies, West Side Story and Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre, The Haymarket.
First performances and works by twentieth century composers include Peter Maxwell-
Davies - Violin Concerto, Roger Steptoe – 'Cello concerto with Alexander Baillie,
Alan Ridout – Flute and Harp Concerto (World Premiere), Malcolm Williamson -
Concerto Grosso. Jonathan took the initiative in giving the second performance of Howard Blake’s Benedictus which re-kindled new interest in the work, resulting in it establishing itself as one of the twentieth century’s major oratorios. In 2002 he gave the second performance of Barry Russell’s Town and Country, which was first performed at the 2002 Promenade concerts and earlier this year he premiered a new song cycle by Marcus Barcham Stevens Lost to the Beloved. In February this year he also gave the first public performance of the recently discovered Air on a theme of Purcell by Gordon Jacob.
Jonathan has a natural gift and flair for communicating with audiences and is in much demand for conducting and presenting children and family concerts which he devises himself. In 1999 he established the Family Lunchtime concerts at Polesden Open Air Theatre, working with such celebrities as Hannah Gordon, Angela Rippon, Johnnie Morris, Bill Oddie, Ian Lavender and Peter Purvis.
He has conducted at all the major London Concert Halls, including The Albert Hall, Barbican and South Bank and St. John’s Smith Square. He has worked with International Artists such as Eileen Joyce, Moura Lympany, Marisa Robles, Carlo Curley Peter Katin, Stephen Isserlis, Julian Lloyd Webber, Jack Brymer and Garry Karr.
Jonathan conducted orchestras at the Royal College of Music for twelve years and is at present conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra of the I.A.P.S. In 1993 he was instrumental in starting their Chamber Orchestra.
He is Musical Adviser to the Robert Bouffler Music Trust who under Jonathan’s initiative and directorship promote an Opera project for young people.
Early in 2004 he conducted a concert at the Mansion House in front of the Lord Mayor of London with Sir Trevor McDonald as narrator.
Jonathan is musical director of the Surrey Philharmonic, Isle of Wight Symphony and Westminster Philharmonic Orchestras. He has been artistic director of Surrey Opera for some 27 years, and is co-founder and artistic director of The North Downs Music Group.
Earlier this summer Jonathan made his debut with The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra.