Jonathan Rathbone started his musical career as a chorister at Coventry Cathedral. He was a choral scholar at Christ’s College Cambridge, where he read mathematics. He gained a second degree at the Royal Academy of Music where he studied composition with John Gardner. Recently, the Academy honoured him with an ARAM.
Jonathan joined the Swingle Singers in 1984 and was musical director of the group for a decade. During that time he turned from composition to arranging – creating the majority of their arrangements, both a cappella and with orchestra. He left the group in 1996 to spend more of his time writing and now spends much of his time arranging and orchestrating. Amongst others, he has orchestrated for Katherine Jenkins, the Kings Singers, Sir Cliff Richard, Michael Ball, Stephen Cleobury and the choir of Kings College, Cambridge, the Swingle Singers (of course) and orchestras all over Europe.
He conducts five choirs in north London – London Forest Choir, The Rowantree Choir, Havering Singers, the Crofton Singers and Middlesex University Choir (where he also teaches harmony and aural). He also teaches Choral Arranging at Cambridge University.
When COVID struck, Jonathan immediately moved all his lectures and rehearsals on-line. His choirs continued to meet on Zoom, and quickly began to record new arrangements Jonathan had created especially for them to learn and record in isolation.
Throughout the pandemic, he has continued to write, arrange and orchestrate for a wide range of ensembles, creating pieces for both professional and amateur ensembles in the UK and abroad.
He is married to Helen (also a former Swingle Singer) which is how he is able to produce SATB music at home for the choirs and for their local church. In the first year of lockdown, they produced over 16 hours of music. They are relieved that things are slowly returning to normal!