For Patrick Jonathan composing is not simply something he does, it is an integral aspect of who he is. His work is expressive of his personality and his passions. Here are some of his thoughts about his Symphony No. 2: ‘DEBS’, which was premiered by The MusicaNova Orchestra in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA.
‘The inspiration for this came from many places, but particularly my family. Each movement is based on the personality of my immediate family – my wife, Debbie, my daughter, Leela, and my sons, Rohan and Kiran. It is a work fueled by love and passion.’
As part of the premiere of this symphony, Patrick participated in a panel-based question and answer session with the audience. This provided not only an insight into this symphony, but into the general style and vision behind much of his music, which manages to be a very personal expression while also clearly being relatable to the traditions of Western Classical Music.
He is a particularly versatile composer, in that he has written music in a variety of genres and for a variety of purposes, ranging from pop songs, educational music for children, musicals, concertos, chamber music, virtuoso solo instrumental music, choral music, film scores and, of course, symphonies.
Patrick’s score for the live action/puppet play ‘Little Violet and the Angel’ was nominated for a BOH Cameronian Award, the Malaysian equivalent of a Tony Award, in 2004. http://www.gardnerandwife.com/04_violet_2.asp
Like many creative artists, Patrick draws upon his life’s experiences, as well as the sounds and melodies that come to him in his imagination – yes, he hears sounds in his head – and on occasion these are wonderful and beautiful! He is driven to capture this inspiration and put it down on paper (or often, these days, on a computer), as much for his own satisfaction as to have it performed by and listened to by others. This has a profound influence on the melodic nature of his work. He appreciates the skill, technique and artistry of many contemporary composers and incorporates many challenging techniques in his own work, but only so much in that it is able to support and drive forward his overriding desire to create satisfyingly expressive textures and melodies. He has a powerful conviction that his music should be memorably tuneful in its essence and have a satisfying harmonic basis, as well as a technically accomplished structure. This combination has brought him significant acclaim and praise from people he respects:
“I listened to your symphony and was most impressed. It’s very powerful.” Richard ‘Tony’ Arnell;
“Patrick! Your symphony! What an undertaking! And a splendid achievement! Congratulations!” Prof. Stanley Glasser.
The acclaimed British composer Richard ‘Tony’ Arnell has been a major influence on Patrick’s musical life. Patrick considers Tony his mentor, as well as a friend, and is always as keen to talk about Tony and Tony’s work as he is about his own!
Patrick Jonathan is a Londoner born and bred. For three years, as a child, he attended the Corona Academy of the Dramatic Arts in Chiswick, where he was given a solid grounding in many styles of dancing, acting and singing. During this time he had a number of small roles in films, television programmes and commercials, including the Oscar winning Musical, ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, and Tommy Steele’s ‘Tribute to Charlie Chaplin’.
As a pupil at Wandsworth School he sang in concert, on television, and on record with the renowned choir while studying piano at the Guildhall School of Music. He obtained a BMus (hons) degree from Goldsmiths’ College, London University, where he studied under Stanley Glasser and Edward Gregson. He also studied the mechanics of Film Scoring at two Summer Schools conducted by Don Ray, Music Supervisor, CBS Television, Hollywood – the composer of scores for the original ‘Hawaii 5-0’ series, ‘Gilligan’s Island’ and other successful series – and informally with Richard ‘Tony’ Arnell at the London International Film School, where he contributed scores for more than a dozen short films.
Patrick has worked as a restaurant pianist, studio session musician, and member of several bands – Goodstuff, Tender Loving Care – in the London area, and also as a freelance music copyist, editor and proof reader. For 4 years he was the manager of the Orchestral Hire Department of the publishers Schott & Co., London, where he oversaw the copying, editing, production and hiring out of all contemporary compositions, including the final opera, ‘New Year’, by Sir Michael Tippett.
Patrick qualified as a school teacher in 1991, and, since that time, has drawn on his experience as a composer to produce progressive repertoire for the descant recorder, and compose a number of stage musicals for performance by children. He has also composed musical theatre pieces for adults, many of which have been performed to considerable popular and critical acclaim.
As a part-time lecturer in Musical Theatre at UiTM in Shah Alam, Malaysia, Patrick set himself the challenge of producing an original piece of music theatre each semester, tailored to the needs of the students enrolled in his class. The fruits of this enterprise include ‘Hair Dos and Don’ts’, for four female characters, set in a Beauty Salon, and ‘bowled.over?’, for thirteen female and one male character, set in the competitive world of women’s league tenpin bowling.
For the Actors Studio, K.L., Patrick has devised and presented ‘In the Spotlight’, a series of courses aimed at giving children aged 6-12 a solid grounding in the skills required for performing in musical theatre. From these courses, three productions, ‘Generation 20/20’, ‘Reading’s the Key’ and ‘Father Christmas: Super Sleuth’ have been presented on the stage of the Actors Studio Theatre then based in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, with considerable success. He also contributed a monthly column on developing children’s performance skills for ‘Living Arts Malaysia’ magazine.
In 2004 Patrick was nominated for a Boh/Cameronian Award for the original music he composed for ‘Little Violet and the Angel’, a production in which he also appeared as an actor.
As well as conducting performance-based corporate training days and working weekly, for a year, on music and movement skills with the children of Kiwanis, Taman Tun, K.L., Patrick has composed music for film, video and radio, and worked as a musical advisor and project consultant for Malaysian performers such as Sean Ghazi and Kenneth Paul.
Of late, as well as devoting much creative energy to composing large-scale concert works, such as his 45 minute-long Second Symphony, which received its world premiere in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA on 28th January 2007, he has also been concentrating very much on producing choral music, piano music (especially for the renowned Russian virtuoso, Rustem Hayroudinoff) and music for the classical guitar. The virtuoso percussion group, Ensamble Percanto, has given numerous performances of his composition, ‘KLANG!’, for 4 Marimbas and 1 Multi-percussionist, in Medellin, Colombia, where they are based.