Jonathan Cole is a composer, teacher and conductor.
Early advocates of his music included the London Sinfonietta who premiered three pieces and toured his work in Sweden and Switzerland, recording Testament with conductor Oliver Knussen. Both Ouroboros II and Testament were nominated for RPS awards and in 1999 he was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Composition prize. In 1999, 2000 and 2002 his music was featured as part of the 'State of the Nation' Festival in London's South Bank Centre.
Photo by Raphael Neal
From 2009 - 2013 he was the first composer-in-association with the London Contemporary Orchestra which culminated in the commissioning of burburbabbar za - a wordless opera performed as part of a residency at Snape Maltings in Aldeburgh. In 2012 he was a co-founder of the re:sound collective, organising events around London in such places as a World War II bunker, a nature reserve and a children's museum.
Ensembles who have performed and commissioned him include the Asko Ensemble, BBC PO, BBC Singers, Chamber Domaine, Chicago Symphony Orchestra (MusicNOW), Chroma, Composer’s Ensemble, Endymion, Explore Ensemble, Fukio Saxophone Quartet, Italian Radio Orchestra, Lontano, Mercury Quartet, Nash Ensemble, Nomad Ensemble (Tokyo), Ojai Festival Orchestra, Ossian Ensemble, Philharmonia Orchestra (Music for Today), Tokyo Sinfonietta, TranSimfonia Strings and Tre Voci.
Conductors of his work include Stefan Asbury, George Benjamin, Martyn Brabbins, Hugh Brunt, Yasuaki Itakura, Oliver Knussen, Brad Lubman, Diego Masson, Pascal Rophe, Clark Rundell, Pierre Andre-Valade and Peter Weigold and musicians who have performed his works include Colin Alexander, Claire Booth, Pietro Doronzo, Andrew Forbes, Nathanael Gubler, Rolf Hind, Melinda Maxwell, Sara Minelli, Craig Ogden, Jean Rigby, Alastair Stout and Ryan Wigglesworth.
His works have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 as well as in Belgium, Japan, Sweden, Romania, Italy and USA. Recordings include Caught (Composer's Ensemble/NMC), Testament (London Sinfonietta/LS Recordings), tss’k’haa (Roderick Williams/NMC) and 50 Florentine Breaths (Sara Minelli/EMA). In October 2023 October House Records release recordings of Menhir (Fukio Quartet), Ash Relics (Ossian Ensemble) and Templum (Anian Wiedner).
His teachers included Simon Bainbridge, Simon Holt, David Lumsdaine, Malcolm Williamson and Peter Weigold, alongside Louis Andriessen, Lou Harrison and Magnus Lindberg.
Jonathan has taught at the Royal College of Music since 2005, leading the Masters composition course from 2007 - 2022. From 2013 - 2020 he oversaw the Composer's Studio Ensemble, conducting contemporary music specialists in performances of dozens of student pieces and from 2009 - 2022 he led the weekly RCM Free Improvisation group. Prior to joining the RCM he taught at King's College London and the Purcell School. He's given lectures on his work at City University, Gresham's College, Oxford University, RAM and RNCM and has led educational projects for the South Bank. In 2007 - 2012 he co-led the Leverhulme LPO young composer's scheme with Mark Anthony Turnage, whilst in 2016 and 2017 he was guest teacher at the Ionian University in Corfu and in 2023 at the Milan Conservatory. In 2018 Jonathan was awarded a Fellowship by the RCM and in 2022 he was appointed Head of Composition.