Jonathan David Little
The atmospheric and evocative music of JONATHAN DAVID LITTLE, BMus(Hons), ThA, PhD, FLCM, FISM, FRSA (b.1965) is notable for its mystical beauty, intensity, richness of material, and intricate craftsmanship. He studied Composition and Performance at the University of Melbourne, where he won the Lady Turner Exhibition for overall excellence, and subsequently undertook a Diploma in Theology, studying church music, history and liturgy. He holds the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in music for his research into “exotic” 19th- and 20th-century orchestration, is a Fellow of the London College of Music, of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, and of the Royal Society of Arts.
He was the first composer to receive a Professional Development Award from the UK music business’s own charity, the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund, and in 2011 was awarded the prestigious Collard Fellowship of the Worshipful Company of Musicians (est.1500), and in the following year won a PRSF/Bliss Trust Composer Bursary. In 2015, Jonathan received a major Australian Government / Australia Council “Individual International Arts Project Award”, to help fund the creation and recording of an album of multi-part, a cappella polychoral music, entitled Woefully Arrayed (Navona Records, 2017). Fanfare called it “a masterpiece … radiant … a superb disc”, Gramophone thought it “masterly” and “luminous”, while Audiophile Audition felt it to be “fantastically beautiful … a delight on all fronts”. Choir & Organ reported of his choral music that “Little writes very much in the manner of the renaissance masters, creating what a modern sensibility would identify as ‘immersive’ music of strongly mystical aspect”.
In 2016 he won a Royal Philharmonic Society "ENCORE Choral" Award (UK), in 2017 Special Distinction for his orchestral music in the ASCAP Rudolf Nissim Prize (USA) – and in January 2018 his polychoral Kyrie was nominated for "Best Classical Music Recording" at the inaugural RoundGlass Global Music Awards (USA-INDIA). His entire body of polychoral music was also nominated for the 2018 CHASS Australia Prize – the nation’s premier award in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. He has also received BBC, Fanfare, Chagrin, Leighton Trust, and other distinguished awards in the UK, USA and Australia.
In 2008, the first compilation album of his music was released to universal critical praise. Cambridge University Press’s Tempo described it as a “ground-breaking tour de force … incandescent”, while, in America, Fanfare magazine admired its “music of tremendous power … [and] astonishing range of colors and moods”. American critic and recording historian Lynn René Bayley ranked the album amongst her Top 5 worldwide releases for the year (in Fanfare's “Want List 2008”), applauding “a major new, original and quite brilliant classical voice”. Jonathan’s subsequent album, Polyhymnia (Navona Records, 2012) – featuring three European orchestras – was nominated in Spain for “Best Album of the Year”.
Chief amongst Jonathan’s theoretical writings is a “vast” and “erudite” two-volume, 950-page survey of Orientalism in music and literature for EMP (for which he received an Authors’ Foundation/Royal Literary Fund Award in 2010), and a forthcoming book entitled, Anatomy of Musical Composition, supported by a second Authors’ Foundation Award. His historically-informed compositional style has variously been called “Ecstatic Minimalism”, “Archaic Futurism”, and “Picturesque Archaism”.
Positions held include Principal of the Academy of Contemporary Music (UK) (the first music education institution to win the Queen’s Award for Enterprise), then Professor of Music Composition and Music History at the University of Chichester – and subsequently Professor Emeritus from 2019.
For further information, and for scores and recordings, Jonathan may be contacted via his publishers.
WORLDWIDE CRITICAL OPINION:
- “immense creativity and innovation while remaining accessible to new listeners” – ASCAP Playback Magazine (Summer, 2006) (USA)
- “a major new, original and quite brilliant classical voice” – Lynn René Bayley, citation in “The Want List 2008”, Fanfare Magazine (Nov-Dec 2008) (USA)
- “innovative music … incandescent … a positively dynamic musical palette … moving the listener irrevocably onward to a brightly illuminated plain of poetic splendour, rhythm and ecstasy” – John Wheatley, in Tempo (Cambridge University Press, January 2008) (UK)
- “a richness of coloration, dynamic shading and melodic inventiveness all his own. Small wonder that this Australian composer has gained several awards on both sides of the Atlantic.” – Phillip Sommerich, in Classical Music (25th February, 2012) (UK)
- ‘a musical treasure. … he deserves, in my opinion, to be counted among the “great” of our century for refinement of musical texture.
When a composer today pens such sweetness on a musical staff, we cannot help but be moved to true joy, because these are living moments of ecstatic beauty.’ - Carlo Lamberti, Spazio della Musica, 6th July, 2015 [50th birthday tribute] (ITALY)
- “Little composes with a great array of technical skills and his works are both harmonically and contrapuntally pleasing. He knows how to bring out all the colors of the choral palette” – Maria Nockin, “Polyhymnia …”, in Fanfare, Vol.36, No.1 (Sept/Oct 2012) (USA)
- “Jonathan David Little’s music walks the same path as that of Arvo Pärt and Morten Lauridsen … and Little’s style is natural and organic. He does not offer a contrived veneer of ethereality, but rather employs polychoral-inspired and spatial techniques to create a warm wash of sound with some substance behind it.” – James V. Maiello, “Little, Woefully Arrayed …” (CD review), in Fanfare, Vol.41, No.2 (Nov./Dec. 2017) (USA)
- “Little shows masterly command of the choral idiom in the luminous interweaving of voices and occasional solo flights.” - Donald Rosenberg [Editor, Early Music America], “LITTLE Woefully Arrayed …” (CD review), in Gramophone, Vol.95 (Jan. 2018) (UK / NORTH AMERICA)
- “Little’s musical style is arrestingly beautiful, and manages to strike a delicate balance between tradition and innovation.” - Arnaud G. Veydarier, “Jonathan David Little, Woefully Arrayed …” (CD review), in La Scena Musicale (Feb./Mar. 2018), p.32 (CANADA)
Artists who have performed or recorded the works of Jonathan David Little include: Czech Philharmonic Orchestra; Kiev Philharmonic Orchestra; Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra; Soloists of the Sofia Opera; Vox Moderne (Bulgaria); Vox Futura (USA); Bath Camerata (UK); Thomas Tallis Chamber Choir (UK); Chichester Singers (UK); BBC Singers (UK); London New Strings..
Jonathan David Little's Performing Rights are assigned to ASCAP (for clearance see: www.ascap.com – “ACE Title Search” – “Search the Database” – Writers / Find “Jonathan David Little”)
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