Jonathan Morton is Artistic Director and Leader of the Scottish Ensemble, and enjoys a varied career as a chamber musician, leader, soloist, and teacher. His versatility finds him equally at home in the core classical repertoire, 20th and 21st century music, and in collaborations with musicians from different musical traditions. His eclectic and engaging programming has won praise from audiences and critics alike, offering fresh perspectives on familiar repertoire as well as introducing little-known gems and championing new works.
As a soloist Jonathan has performed works by composers Gavin Bryars, David Horne, Arvo Pärt, Astor Piazzolla, Benjamin Britten, and Toru Takemitsu, in many prestigious venues, including Wigmore Hall, Edinburgh International Festival, and Aldeburgh International Festival. He premièred John Woolrich’s Capriccio at the 2009 BBC Proms, and he will also give the première of Joe Cutler’s violin concerto in 2010 in Scotland. As a chamber musician he has collaborated with the Nash Ensemble, the Schubert Ensemble, and the Academy of St Martin’s in the Fields amongst others, and has appeared in numerous festivals and venues, including the Internationales KammermusikFestival in Nuremberg, the Schoenberg Institute in Vienna, the Barge Music Festival in New York, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and Sogakudo in Tokyo. As a leader, Jonathan has performed with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, the Nash Ensemble, the Goldberg Ensemble and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
Born in Belgium, Jonathan took up the violin at the age of 4. At 13 he was personally invited by Lord Menuhin to study at his acclaimed school in Surrey and less than 2 years later performed as soloist under Menuhin’s baton. As a 16 year old he appeared in Europe’s leading recital halls, made his radio debut on Classic FM, and made his first CD recording with the pianist Carole Presland, playing works by Szymanowski, Debussy, Suk, and Lekeu. His first recording as Artistic Director of Scottish Ensemble is a critically praised CD of works by Finzi and Walton for the prestigious Wigmore Hall Live label. He also directs the Scottish Ensemble on Alison Balsom’s EMI Classics album, Italian Concertos.
Directing the Scottish Ensemble has given Jonathan the opportunity to work closely with many acclaimed artists including Michael Collins, Toby Spence, Alison Balsom, Gwilym Simcock, Pekka Kuusisto, Jane Irwin, Raphael Wallfisch, Steven Osborne, Lawrence Power, and Pieter Wispelwey.
Jonathan plays a Nicolo Amati violin, made circa 1640.