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Jonathan Middleton is recognised as one of the most gifted and versatile musicians of his generation. He has been highly sought-after for many years now as a soloist, teacher and general music-educator, considering himself ‘extremely fortunate’ to have been amongst the few pianists lucky enough to study under the inspirational pianist and piano pedagogue Marjorie Clementi, a direct descendant of the great composer and pianist Muzio Clementi.
“It is possibly as strong a link with the world surrounding the great pianists of the 18th and 19th centuries as one is ever likely to encounter, Clementi being central to the relationship between the pivotal music of C.P.E. Bach, and that of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. In terms of his mastery of keyboard techniques of the time, his influence extends way beyond this period, through the 19th century and right up to the present day, and so one is drawn through these links to the realisation of the wonderful and privileged duty one has to be constantly educating and exciting new audiences with the incredible wealth of music that is our inheritance”.
Indeed, Mr. Middleton’s repertoire is comprehensive, ranging from Bach and Scarlatti (including most of the 48 Preludes and Fugues of Bach), through the classical period (including most of the great sonatas, sets of variations, and concertos of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven) through the romantic period and right up to the present day.
However, it is with the music of Franz Liszt that he has become most closely associated. Whilst still a student at the R.N.C.M., he gave a performance of Liszt 1st Piano Concerto, about which the Guardian commented on his ‘sheer barnstorming virtuosity’ and ‘beautiful, Chopinesque poetry’. Also during his student days, he took part in the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition, which included a performance of Liszt Funerailles of which one distinguished pianist and adjudicator wrote ‘this is simply the best I have ever heard!’ His farewell concert at the RNCM included a performance of Liszt’s Vallee d’Obermann after which the Telegraph critic remarked on ‘Middleton’s assured, gripping and triumphant reading’. Mr. Middleton made it almost a vocation to have performed virtually the entire Liszt piano output in concert, and audiences and critics alike have responded with endless enthusiasm to his exciting and emotionally highly charged performances.
Mr. Middleton is also very highly regarded both as an accompanist and a chamber musician. In 1993, as a result of his long-standing friendship and partnership with the eminent British composer David Golightly, he undertook a highly acclaimed and comprehensive tour of the U.K. as accompanist to the Roussland Male Voice Choir of St. Petersburg, resulting in a very successful series of recordings, one of which was a solo commercial CD of contemporary British piano music. He also spent a number of years as a staff accompanist at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester.
Alongside his busy schedule as a performing musician, Mr. Middleton has also acquired a reputation as a totally dedicated and caring teacher. He looks on mentoring young students both as an important duty and a privilege, ‘to pass on to the next generation the remarkable legacy that has been entrusted to us so that it may continue to enhance the lives of everybody it touches’. Students from all over the world now attend his classes at Chetham’s School of Music and at the RNCM Junior Department, he having taught at both places for many years.