The English tenor and composer, Jonathan Rathbone, studied at King Henry VIII School in Coventry (1965-1976). He was a chorister at Coventry Cathedral (1966-1972) and later, a choral scholar at Christ’s College Cambridge (1976-1980), where he read mathematics and ﬂuid dynamics. He gained a second degree at the Royal Academy of Music in London where he studied composition with John Gardner (1980-1983). Whilst there, he wrote a children’s musical called The Selfish Giant, and the music for a production of Dog Beneath The Skin at the Half Moon Theatre with director Julian Sands. He was signed as a song-writer with Noel Gay Music.
Jonathan Rathbone sang with St Bride’s Choir, Fleet Street and the BBC Singers before joining the the Swingle Singers (Director: Ward Swingle) in 1984. He was Musical Director of the group for 8 of the 12 years he sang with them, during which time he created the majority of their arrangements, both a cappella and with orchestra. He has worked with many of the world’s leading musicians including Pierre Boulez, Luciano Berio. John Dankworth, Stephan Grapelli, Beatles producer, George Martin and French pop star, Etienne Daho.
Jonathan Rathbone left the group in 1996 to spend more of his time writing. He has orchestrated for Sir Cliff Richard and Michael Ball and more recently for Katherine Jenkins, Lesley Garrett and Wynne Evans (“Go Compare!”). He still travels all over Europe to vocal courses, to work with various vocal ensembles and to adjudicate choral competitions. In recent years he has lectured and run workshops on close harmony, improvisation, choral conducting, vocal arranging and choral techniques.
Jonathan Rathbone is now an in-house composer with Peters Edition. He conducts three choirs in north London, for whom has written numerous pieces, including Night of Wonder, Swithun’s Watery Tale, a festive Christmas cantata entitled Mr Fezziwig’s Christmas Party. Most recently, he wrote Christmas Truce which was premiered by London Forest Choir last Christmas. In addition to his choral writing, Jonathan’s string quartet, “More Fools than Wise”, written for the Fitzwilliam Quartet, has been performed all over the world. For the last three years he was on the board of Europa Cantat’s Music Commission.