Jonathan Ayerst


Following studies as a scholar at Wells Cathedral School and the RAM with Nellie Akopian, Alexander Kelly and Hamish Milne, Jonathan won several awards from the Munster Trust, Hattori Foundation, English-speaking Union, and the prestigious Carnwath Scholarship. He was a prizewinner at the 1985 Ettlingen International Piano Competition in Germany and won the Chrysalis Foundation Scholarship at the 1989 Van Cliburn Competition. He also won the NFMS Accompanist Award in 1995.

In late 2000 Jonathan was appointed principal pianist of Remix Ensemble (Portugal’s contemporary music group). Based in Oporto and originally established as a European cultural project, this ensemble performs regularly in cities and festivals throughout Europe covering all repertoire from 1880s to the present day. Recent performances have included Harrison Birtwhistle’s Punch and Judy, and a newly-commissioned piece for Remix and the Gulbenkian Symphony Orchestra staged in the cloisters of the Monastery of St. Jeronimos, Lisbon. This year saw the Wigmore Hall debut of the Bradley/Ayerst viola and piano duo preceded by a live performance on BBC Radio 3.

As a composer, Jonathan has written several works for solo piano and chamber ensemble including a ballet for two pianos and percussion. Following commissions for the organist Robert Crowley and a piece for flute, viola and piano for the 2000 Music Haven Series, performed at the South Bank, he received a large-scale request from Harrow Choral Society to compose an oratorio on the biblical saga of Moses and the Exodus. Completed and performed in 2002 Exodus is a fifty-minute work scored for orchestra (inc. 4 percussionists), choir, childrens’ choir and male soloist. Since then Jonathan has written Victimae Paschali for organ and trombone (one of a series of paraphrases on Gregorian chant), preludes and fugues for solo organ and a trio for trumpet, horn and trombone. Many works are performed in concert series in Oporto, Portugal.