“I have always enjoyed playing Bechstein pianos, both vintage and brand new."
Jonathan Powell debuted at London’s Purcell Room when he was twenty. Over the next ten years, he concentrated on composing works that were then interpreted by the Arditti Quartet, the London Sinfonietta and Nicolas Hodges. He also graduated in musicology with a thesis exploring Scriabin’s influence on music. Subsequently, he studied under Sulamita Aronovsky, performed in various countries and recorded several CDs. An aficionado of music created in Russia and Eastern Europe at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, Jonathan also appreciates contemporary music and has premiered works by such composers as Dufourt, Ambrosini and Finnissy. His repertoire also includes standard pieces by Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin and Schumann.
In 2009, he began interpreting the ten sonatas composed by Scriabin and has performed them many times since then. Four years later, he went on tour performing Albeniz’s Iberia and Messiaen’s Vingt regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus. During the 2015 season, he interpreted Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas and Reger’s Variations and Fugue on a theme of J. S. Bach. Subsequently, he performed all piano works by Xenakis and, in 2017, Liszt’s Piano Sonata in B minor, Stockhausen’s Piano Works and Sorabji’s Opus clavicembalisticum. In 2018, he gave six concerts with Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues.
Jonathan has performed solo on numerous stages, including that of Festival Radio France (Montpellier), Elbphilharmonie (Hamburg), Raritäten der Klaviermusik festival (Schloss vor Husum), Vredenburg Muziekcentrum (Utrecht), various concert halls in the US, the BBVA Foundation (Bilbao) and the Moscow Conservatory.
Concerts that were broadcast in recent years by various radio stations (BBC, Radio France, Radio Netherlands, Deutschlandradio Kultur, Czech Radio) have also been recorded on CDs. A regular guest at the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, he performs and gives lessons and workshops there three times a year. He has also participated regularly in the Indian Summer Festival in Levoča (Slovakia) since 2007, performing solo, or with orchestras or chamber music ensembles. Furthermore, he gave master classes in Katowice, Brno, Oxford, London, Seattle, Darmstadt and Denmark, and was awarded the 2020 Price of German Disc Critics for his recording of Sorabji’s Sequentia cyclica.
“I have always enjoyed playing Bechstein pianos, both vintage and brand new. The first grand on which I exercised was an old Bechstein. I was about fourteen by the time and had just discovered Scriabin who also played a Bechstein — an upright that is now exhibited in the museum dedicated to the composer in Moscow. Playing Scriabin on a Bechstein is nothing less than a revelation.” (2020)