The English pianist, Jonathan Plowright, was educated at Stonyhurst College, in Lancashire. He contibued his studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where his professor was Alexander Kelly (pianist), and where he won Gold Medal in 1983. He was also a recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore with Julio Esteban. He was a prize-winner in many competitions, including the Gold Medal at the Royal Overseas League Competition, first prize at the European Piano Competition and ans the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Award. He was also 'Commonwealth Musician of the Year'. .
Hailed by reviewers as "a colossal musical mind" with a "transcendent technique", Jonathan Plowright is recognised globally as a truly exceptional pianist. Critics, colleagues and audiences alike have since had unanimous praise for his many national and international performances and he has been in demand all over the world as recitalist, appeared with leading orchestras and ensembles and given numerous radio broadcasts. He has a hugely successful string of recordings on the Hyperion label all of which have been enthusiastically received with outstanding reviews in the worldwide media.
Jonathan Plowright has enjoyed performing in some of the finest concert halls around the world, from Sydney Opera House to the Royal Albert Hall, in the luxurious surroundings of stately homes, castles and cruise ships, as well as in some rather more unusual venues - including the barrel room of a winery in California and a wild elephant game reserve in South Africa!
Also highly respected as a chamber musician, Jonathan Plowright regularly collaborates with other musicians, and last summer saw his debut appearances at chamber festivals in Australia, Turkey and the Ukraine. Amongst those he has performed with are fellow pianists Piers Lane, Artur Pizarro, Frederic Chiu, Leslie Howard and Kathy Stott, instrumentalists such as Raphael Wallfisch, Leonid Gorokov, the Coull Quartet, the Szymanowski Quartet, the Scottish Ensemble amongst others.
Jonathan Plowright has appeared with many major orchestras, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Odessa Philharmonic, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Polish Radio and Polish National, although most memorable was a performance of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue with the combined forces of the United States Air Force and Red Army Bands! He has worked with notable conductors such as Martyn Brabbins, Paul Daniel, Sir Neville Marriner, Gérard Korsten, Christoph Koenig, Barry Wordsworth, Lukasz Borowicz and Michal Dworzynski.
Jonathan Lowright is now well established on Hyperion Records distinguished roster of pianists. One of his many recordings was for Hyperion's Bach transcriptions series. The twenty five transcriptions by Walter Rummel were released in March 2006 to great critical acclaim. In 2004 he was given the unique honour of an invitation to perform at the 'Rarities of Piano Music" festival in Husum for two consecutive years, and has also been invited back for the 20th Anniversary Festival in August 2006. The live recordings of his performances were featured on two highly acclaimed CD’s. His latest CD released in April 2013, and his 3rd for their Romantic Piano Concerto Series, featured Concertos by Zelenski and Zarzyki and went straight to Number 3 in the Classical Charts. His commemorative 'Hommage a Chopin' recording also reached the Top Twenty Classical Chart and attracted many accolades, including the prestigious Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, Gramophone Editor’s Choice, Diapason D'Or and CD of the Week on both ClassicFM and ABC ClassicFM. Likewise, his follow-up 'Homage to Paderewski' disc was Daily Telegraph Classical CD of the Week. His recording of the Constant Lambert Piano Concerto (which he world premiered in 1988) with David Lloyd Jones and the English Northern Philharmonia for Hyperion in 2005, was Gramophone Editor’s Choice and CD of the Week in both The Sunday Times and ClassicFM. His first chamber music disc for the label was released in December 2012 featuring the Szymanowski Quartet in works by Polish Romantic composers, Zarebski and Zelenski, and was BBC Music Magazine Chamber Choice. Also, in December 2012 Plowright joined BIS Records to record the complete solo piano music of Johannes Brahms, the first volume of which received 5 Star Reviews in numerous publications, an 'Outstanding' Award from International Record Review, was both Gramophone and ABC Limelight Magazine Editor’s Choice, and described as "one of the finest performances on record".
During the past decade Jonathan Plowright has become well known as an advocate of the neglected Polish Romantic repertoire and his first recording of a rare collection of pieces by Paderewski earned Plowright an invitation by the Paderewski in Memoriam Foundation to give the closing recital of the Polish Parliament’s 2001 ‘Year of Paderewski’ celebrations in Warsaw. His recordings featuring the music of the largely forgotten Polish/US emigré Sigismund Stojowski led to a revival of interest in his music after several generations of neglect and attracted considerable attention in the international music press. The discs were both named 'Record of the Month' in the Polish national music monthly Muzyka 21 and Plowright has since been invited to perform with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Polish National Symphony Orchestra. In 2006 he gave a sell-out Weill Hall recital promoted by the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York. Whilst in the USA he was also invited to perform at a special event at the Polish Music Centre at the University of Southern California in October 2006, in the presence of Stojowski's surviving family, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of his death and in celebration of their donation of the Stojowski manuscripts and personal papers to the University. His hugely successful Hyperion recording of the notoriously difficult Paderewski Sonata in 2007 was admired by many, including the BBC "The playing is world-class; understated virtuosity at its best." To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Paderewski in November 2010, Plowright was invited back by the Polish Music Centre in Los Angeles for a series of recitals in the USA, including the Paderewski Festival, which Plowright was instrumental in re-launching as an annual event in Paso Robles, a spa town with an historic association with the famous composer, pianist and statesman. To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frédéric Chopin in 2010, as well as recitals throughout Poland, Plowright was also invited to appear with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra during their special Year of F. Chopin celebrations. The Polish theme continues as projects for Hyperion include a further addition to the 'Romantic Piano Concerto' series with two by Henryk Melcer, and a solo disc of music by Ignacy Paderewski.
Jonathan Plowright is Head of Keyboard at the University of Chichester and on the Keyboard Faculty of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He is also often invited to give master-classes, consultation lessons and prize adjudications at competitioand international conservatoires.