Trumpeter Jonathan Freeman-Attwood is a multi-talented musician who continues to explore 'new' trumpet repertoire to critical acclaim.
Jonathan Freeman-Attwood is a performer, recording producer, writer, University of London Professor and Principal of the Royal Academy of Music in London.
His earliest professional experience was as a 10-year-old singing in the chorus of Glyndebourne and its Touring Opera. He studied in the University of Toronto and Christ Church Oxford before pursuing a career as a freelance trumpet player, a recording producer, writer and broadcaster. Since 1990, he has also held a number of positions at the Royal Academy of Music where he was charged with leading the pioneering new degree in performance studies, under the aegis of King’s College London. In 1995, he became Vice- Principal and Director of Studies at the Academy, a post he held until 2008.
As a trumpet player, Freeman-Attwood has attracted critical acclaim from the press for his solo recordings, most notably in a series for Linn which explores ways in which the trumpet is retrospectively ‘re-imagined’ within established traditions of mainstream solo and chamber music. The first disc, with John Wallace and Colm Carey, entitled The Trumpets That Time Forgot, heralded a flurry of transcriptions with pianist Daniel-Ben Pienaar, including a virtuosic arrangement of Fauré’s Sonata No. 2, Op. 108 (La Trompette Retrouvée), a disc of seventeenth-century instrumental and vocal arrangements (Trumpet Masque), which won High Fidelity’s ‘Recording of the Year’ (2008) and was described as "extraordinary playing, switching between fizzy fireworks and tender pathos with ease" (The Observer).
Since 2011, he has released solo discs of sonatas by Grieg, Mendelssohn and Schumann (Romantic Trumpet Sonatas), an innovative recital of works by eleven Bachs (A Bach Notebook for Trumpet) and the world premiere recording of Fauré’s recently published Vocalises (Lydia’s Vocalises) with pianist-scholar Roy Howat. From 2014, Resonata Music started to publish arrangements from these albums. Freeman-Attwood has produced well over 200 commercial discs for many of the world’s leading independent labels including Naxos, BIS, Chandos, Hyperion, Harmonia Mundi USA, Channel Classics and AVIE. Several of his productions have won major awards, including ‘Diapasons d’Ors’, eight Gramophone awards and numerous nominations over the last twenty years with artists such as Rachel Podger, the Cardinall’s Musick, Trevor Pinnock, Phantasm, I Fagiolini, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Daniel-Ben Pienaar and various leading cathedral choirs. He produced Gramophone’s ‘Record of the Year’ in 2010 – the final volume of William Byrd’s complete Latin church music for Hyperion.
As educator and scholar, he continues to be active as a lecturer, critic and contributor to journals and books, including The New Grove Dictionary (2nd edition) and Cambridge University Press’s Companion of Recorded Music and to BBC Radio 3. He is an established authority on Bach interpretation, particularly as it challenges and refocuses historical perspectives on performance practices, and writes essays regularly for EMI, Warner, Deutsche Grammophon, Universal and other major record labels. In 1997, he founded the in-house label of the Royal Academy of Music as a means of introducing talented young artists to the creative challenges of the studio.
In July 2008, Freeman-Attwood became the fourteenth Principal of the Royal Academy of Music, founded in 1822. He was appointed a Fellow of King’s College London in 2009, a trustee of the University of London in 2010 and a Fellow of the Royal Northern College of Music in 2013.
He is also Vice-President of the National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain, a Trustee and Chair of the Artistic Advisory Committee of Garsington Opera, a Trustee of Christ Church Cathedral Music Trust, The Young Classical Artists’ Trust (YCAT), the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and the Countess of Munster Trust.
Freeman-Attwood was awarded a CBE in recognition of his services to music in the 2018 New Year Honours.