Jonathan works as the Team Manager for the Instrumental Music Service and has the pleasure of facilitating weekly Instrumental Music lessons for young people across East Lothian.
Jonathan graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2006 and started performing with the Orchestra of Ballet in the same year. Since then he has played with the majority of the UK’s professional orchestras, has spent five years as Principal Tuba of Orquesta Sinfonica de Tenerife, seven years as Principal Tuba of Royal Air Force Music Services and maintained an active involvement in music education throughout the UK and beyond.
Currently the Instrumental Music Service employs 20 highly qualified Instrumental Instructors and provides Instrumental tuition to over 1400 pupils in both primary and secondary schools across the authority. Young people are offered the opportunity to learn brass, woodwind, strings, percussion, piano, guitar and pipes. Jonathan’s role is to ensure this happens equitably across all our schools, maximising performance opportunities for our young people and ensuring that every child has the opportunity to reach their full potential.
“I have been with East Lothian Council for two and a half years now and it’s a real privilege and honour to be able to manage a service that makes such a difference in our communities. I started during the first lockdown, with a laptop posted to my home in London, and I quickly arranged for us to start online instrumental music lessons, via google meet, for pupils at home. We recently had a concert and one of our S1 young trumpeters, who started during the first lockdown, played a Grade 4 or SQA Higher standard level solo. I thought that was an incredible achievement. Our young people are amazing and they never cease to inspire me”
Having travelled extensively as a musician, Jonathan has been fortunate during his career to have met and worked with many wonderful musicians. In the past two years, Jonathan has been able to invite some of these musicians to collaborate with the young people here in East Lothian as well as developing some new local connections. These collaborations have included working with; Royal Air Force Music, Countess of Wessex String Orchestra, Royal Marines Band Service, East Lothian Arts Service, McOpera, Lammermuir Festival, Edinburgh College, Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust, Preston Lodge High School Pipe Band, and Dunbar Voices.
“Last year we commissioned and performed our Anthem for East Lothian and it was incredible to see over 200 performers on stage. Many had only ever performed in their school or home prior to performing in this world premiere in Haddington. Please take the time to click the link and have a listen. This was certainly a ‘career highlight’ for me!”
There is lots more to look forward to this year. In November there is the Benedetti Foundation’s ELC Residency and the ELC IMS Secondary Schools Ensembles Weekend. December will be busy with the various schools Christmas Concerts, then January will see the Countess of Wessex String Orchestra in our schools for some side by side workshops and in February there is the annual ELC Piano Festival, with around 100 pianists performing in the Brunton. In March the Benedetti Foundation will return for the second instalment of their residency project, and there is the ELC IMS Young Musician of East Lothian Competition, returning to St Mary’s, this time with the senior chamber ensembles performing. April will see a collaboration with the Lammermuir Festival to deliver the first full scale community opera, Catriona and the Dragon, and in May there is the ELC Primary School Ensembles Weekend. This year the IMS finish the school year with their ‘play-away’ days in June, with primary pupils in each cluster coming together to perform with their secondary school colleagues. Recruitment and selection then starts for the next academic session and the IMS look forward to doing it all again!
“There is never a dull moment and it’s an incredible honour to be in the middle of all this music making, providing these opportunities for our young people. I’m very lucky to manage a superb instruction team and there is real buzz at all our events. If you haven’t already been, please come along and check one out”
When not managing the Instrumental Music Service Jonathan can generally be found in a Scottish theatre performing on his tuba or out and about running along the East Lothian coastline.
“East Lothian is such a beautiful part of the world and, having moved up from west London, it’s an absolute pleasure to be by the coast again. You just can’t beat the sea air!”