Jonathan Little (composer)
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Performed by the Thomas Tallis Society Choir
Performed by soloists of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Performed by the Kiev Philharmonic Orchestra
Performed by Moravian Philharmonic strings
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Jonathan David Little FRSA (born 1965 in Melbourne, Australia) is a contemporary classical composer and author based in the UK. In 2008 his first CD was voted one of the top recordings of the year by US Fanfare magazine ("The Want List 2008"). He was subsequently featured in a news article in Musical Opinion in early 2009. As a composer, he first came to prominence in America in 2006 when The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) ran an article on him having five of his works accepted for recording (2004–07) by the US-headquartered French contemporary music label ERM (Editions de la Rue Margot), aimed at showcasing international contemporary composers. He was awarded the Collard Fellowship of the Worshipful Company of Musicians in 2011, and in 2012 was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He was appointed inaugural Professor of Composition at the University of Chichester in 2017.
In 2017, thanks to funding from the Australia Council, a CD of sacred and secular choral works was released on the US Navona label - featuring intricate “polychoral” techniques: multi-part, multi-divisi, solo, echo and spatial effects - with the aim of rediscovering, in contemporary form, the lost potential of the acoustics of performing spaces, as derived from late Renaissance and early Baroque models, in which such techniques were often much exploited.
Music and background
Little's music is notable for its "mystical beauty, intensity and richness of material". He studied Composition, Performance and Musicology with Peter Dennison at the University of Melbourne, where he won the Lady Turner Exhibition for overall excellence, and a St. Mary's College Academic Prize (where he was a resident student from 1984–87). He holds the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in music for his research at Monash University into the development of "exotic" 19th- and 20th-century orchestration, and has written and broadcast extensively on this, and related topics, often in the context of wider cultural history and related art forms.
In 2008, the first compilation album of his music was released, entitled Terpsichore and Other Works, which Cambridge University Press's new music journal, Tempo, described as a "ground-breaking tour de force … incandescent", while, in America, Fanfare magazine referred to its "music of tremendous power… [and] astonishing range of colors and moods". US critic Lynn René Bayley ranked the album second among her Top 5 worldwide releases for the year (in Fanfare's "Want List 2008"), citing "a major new, original and quite brilliant classical voice". Terpsichore is one of a series of epic orchestral tone pictures on the theme of the legendary "Nine Muses" – and the complete series remains a work-in-progress.
Jonathan Little works in a variety of genres, including large-scale choral, string and symphonic works. Recordings have been supported by the Foundation for New Music (US), the Kenneth Leighton Trust (UK) and ASCAP (US). A second disc (released in early 2012), entitled Polyhymnia (The Muse of Sacred Poetry), appeared on the Navona label of PARMA Recordings (US), supported by ASCAP and the Musicians Benevolent Fund. Cambridge University Press's Tempo reported that "Polyhymnia conjures up a heart-rending panorama: it is immensely poetic, almost otherworldly, and employs an exceptionally hypnotic array of musical colour." Soon after its release, Polyhymnia was nominated in Spain as "Best Album of the Year". In December 2011, Little was elected The John Clementi Collard Fellow in Music of the Worshipful Company of Musicians - "one of the most prestigious awards"  of the City of London's ancient Musicians' Company (established in 1500). Little joins the relatively few composers to have received this award - alongside such former Collard Fellows as Herbert Howells, Constant Lambert, William Alwyn, Edmund Rubbra, Gordon Jacob and Alan Rawsthorne. Little was also awarded a PRS For Music Foundation / Bliss Trust Composer Bursary in 2012, to support the composition of the next work in his "Nine Muses" series - Erato. In 2015, Little was granted an Australian Government / Australia Council "Individual International Arts Project Award", to help fund the creation of an album of multi-part, a cappella polychoral music (or contemporary cori spezzati). He was also one of only seven living composers whose work was selected for the Royal Philharmonic Society and BBC Radio 3's "ENCORE Choral" Programme – for performance and broadcast during 2016-17. In October 2016, he was selected to participate in a BBC Singers’ Choral Music Workshop, led by Judith Weir, Master of the Queen’s Music, and in January 2017 became recipient of a Special Distinction in the ASCAP Rudolf Nissim Prize competition (USA) – "one of the concert music world’s most esteemed awards."
Career and writings
Jonathan Little has also pursued an academic and writing career. He was appointed Senior Lecturer at Buckinghamshire New University in 1999 on their Music Industry Management course (the first such degree course in Europe) – where he specialised in the workings of the British and international recording industry, and taught songwriting analysis. In 2001, he became Principal of the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford, England – Europe's largest specialist academy for students of contemporary music, and the first music education establishment to win the Queen's Award for Enterprise (Innovation category). Having acted as a Curriculum Consultant to the British and Irish Modern Music Institute, and Visiting Lecturer in Media Music Composition at the University of Surrey, Little became Reader (2012), and then Professor (2017), in Music Composition and Music History at the University of Chichester.
An authority on aspects of composition, orchestration and songwriting, Little is listed in the Music Publishers Association (UK) Register of Expert Musicologists. In 2005, he was appointed Consultant Editor to A&C Black's flagship volume of musical reference, the Musicians’ and Songwriters’ Yearbook, and he has contributed articles on the future of music to the Hudson Institute's American Outlook magazine, and the British Academy's Heart & Soul: Revealing the Craft of Songwriting (published by Sanctuary to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Ivor Novello Awards). His writings on the future of the music industry initially stemmed from a report surveying the first European digital distribution conference in 2000, and subsequently with Scottish music industry analyst JoJo Gould, he co-founded and edited Music Business Journal (ISSN 1473-6233) – which in the early 2000s was "one of the world's first online music business journals."
Little has written two substantial academic studies on musical orientalism and exotic orchestration for EMP, New York:The Influence of European Literary and Artistic Representations of the 'Orient' on Western Orchestral Compositions, ca.1840-1920: From Oriental Inspiration to 'Exotic' Orchestration, together with its companion volume, Literary Sources of Nineteenth-Century Musical Orientalism: The Hypnotic Spell of the Exotic on Music of the Romantic Period. (This authoritative 950-page, two-volume study won an Authors' Foundation/Royal Literary Fund Award for 2011.) Many of Little's compositions are issued by Wirripang – "Australia's leading independent fine music publisher." The National Library of Australia holds copies of Little's selected verse, and all his published musical works. Selected recordings of his music are on deposit at the Australian National Film and Sound Archive, with many scores and recordings also held by the Australian Music Centre.
Symphonic and orchestral
- Terpsichore: "The Whirler" or Muse of Dance, Op.7 (from The Nine Muses, No.7) (Dance Poem for Large Orchestra), c.15’ (Wollongong, Australia: Wirripang, 2006) ISMN M720072234.
- Polyhymnia: "She of Many Hymns" or Muse of Sacred Poetry, Op.10 (from The Nine Muses, No.6) (Lamentation for String Orchestra), c.21’ (Wollongong, Australia: Wirripang, 2010) ISMN 9790720101989.
Chamber and instrumental
- Sacred Prelude, Op.1 (string quintet), c.11’ (Wollongong, Australia: Wirripang, 2006) ISMN M720060255.
- Themes on a Variation, Op.3 (brass & percussion), c.14’ (Wollongong, Australia: Wirripang, 2007) ISMN M720060101.
- Fanfare, Op.3a (brass & percussion), c.1’30 (Wollongong, Australia: Wirripang, 2006) ISMN M720041711.
- Duo Sonata on Elizabethan Themes, in 4 mvnts, Op.4 (2 percussion soloists), ca.21’ (Wollongong, Australia: Wirripang, 2006) ISMN M720072166.
- The Feast of Kings and Martyrs, Op.8 (dual for 2 percussionists), ca.5’ (Wollongong, Australia: Wirripang, 2007) ISMN M720060705.
Choral and vocal
- Basque Lullaby, Op.1a (voice and piano), c.2’ (Wollongong, Australia: Wirripang, 2005) ISMN M720060187.
- That Time of Year, Op.2 (a cappella SATBarB soloists), c.5’ (Wollongong, Australia: Wirripang, 2006) ISMN M720041728.
- Kyrie, Op.5 from Missa Temporis Perditi (a cappella SATB double choir and soloists), c.5' (Wollongong, Australia: Wirripang, 2005) ISMN M720007908.
- Wasted and Worn, Op.6 (part song for a cappella SSAATTBB soloists or choir), c.6' (publication pending)
- Recordare Domine (On Ixion's Wheel), Op.9 (a cappella SSSSAAAATTTTBBBB choir), c.21' (Wollongong, Australia: Wirripang, 2010) ISMN 9790720101972.
- Terpsichore and Other Works: Tallis Chamber Choir / Philip Simms; String soloists of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra; Vocal soloists of the Sofia National Opera; Cardiff Percussion Duo; Kiev Philharmonic Orchestra (and principal soloists) / Robert Ian Winstin. Dilute Recordings, UK (Jan. 2008). Cat. No. DIL 07-002.
- Polyhymnia: Strings of the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra (and principal soloists) / Petr Vronsky; Kiev Philharmonic Orchestra (and principal soloists); String soloists of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra / Robert Ian Winstin; Tallis Chamber Choir / Philip Simms; Navona (28 February 2012). Cat. No. NV5867.
- Woefully Arrayed: Sacred and Secular Choral and Polychoral Works of Jonathan David Little. Vox Futura / Andrew Shenton; Stanbery Singers / Paul John Stanbery; Thomas Tallis Society Choir / Philip Simms. Navona (14 July 2017). Cat. No. NV6113.
- Sources of Nineteenth-Century Musical Orientalism (doctoral dissertation). Monash University, 1995.
- (as co-editor) The Musicians' and Songwriters' Yearbook 2007. London: Adam & Charles Black, 2006. ISBN 9780713675313.
- (as co-editor) The Musicians' and Songwriters' Yearbook 2008. London: Adam & Charles Black, 2007. ISBN 9780713684728.
- The Influence of European Literary and Artistic Representations of the ‘Orient’ on Western Orchestral Compositions, ca. 1840-1920: From Oriental Inspiration to ‘Exotic’ Orchestration. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 2010. ISBN 9780773414266.
- Literary Sources of Nineteenth-Century Musical Orientalism: The Hypnotic Spell of the Exotic on Music of the Romantic Period. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 2011. ISBN 9780773415539.
- See reviews in Fanfare (US), Vol.31: No.5 (May–June 2008), pp. 179-180 and Fanfare (US), Vol.32: No.2 (Nov-Dec 2008), p.77
- See Musical Opinion (UK), No.1468 (Jan-Feb 2009), p.7.
- "A British composer makes a big wave in the concert music world", in ASCAP (US) Playback magazine, Summer 2006.[online]First major ASCAP (US) 2006 Story http://www.ascap.com/playback/2006/summer/faces_places/london/jonathanlittle.html
- "The Musicians' Company Archive Project". The Musicians' Company Archive Project. Retrieved 2017-06-30.
- farmitag (2012-02-16). "Professor Jonathan Little". University of Chichester. Retrieved 2017-06-30.
- Stories of our work: Jonathan Little. Musicians Benevolent Fund. Archived 16 May 2010.
- Thomas, Simon, "Little: Terpsichore and other works", in Music OMH (November 2008) (UK), Online at: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-27.
- Cited in Little, Jonathan, "Creating and recording Polyhymnia", in Resonate (Sydney: Australian Music Centre) (February, 2012). Online at: http://www.australianmusiccentre.com.au/article/creating-and-recording-em-polyhymnia-em
- See Anderson, Martin, "Jonathan Little and the Importance of Ecstasy" (the composer interviewed by the music producer, publisher, and founder/director of Toccata Classics and Toccata Press, Martin Anderson), in Fanfare (USA), Vol.36, No.1 (Sept/Oct 2012). ISSN 0148-9364.
- See Focosi, Filippo, "Jonathan Little ‘Polyhymnia’ ", in Kathodik (16 April 2012). Online at: http://www.kathodik.it/modules.php?name=Reviews&rop=showcontent&id=4922
- See Estren, Mark J., "Modern but Accessible", in Infodad (1 March 2012). Online at: http://transcentury.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/modern-but-accessible.html
- "WOEFULLY ARRAYED - Jonathan Little". www.navonarecords.com. Retrieved 2017-06-30.
- See biography and works list at: http://www.australiancomposers.com.au/ and Navona Records advertising material at http://www.jonathanlittle.org
- Little, Jonathan, "Cultural Years: Music, the Arts and Society at the time of the Great International Exhibitions, 1851-1937", being a series of seven x (average) 90min. radio programmes, written and presented for 3MBS-FM Fine Music Radio (Melbourne), and broadcast fortnightly from 1 April 1990 – with an introductory article in Libretto (April, 1990), p.7.
- Little, Jonathan, "Nostalgia, Exoticism and Brilliant Colour", Arts Rondo (Melbourne Winter, 1992).
- Little, Jonathan, "Orientalism" (An abbreviated version of the article "Orientalism: Counterpart of the Gothic in Nineteenth-Century Artistic Inspiration"), Udolpho, vol.26 (Autumn, 1996), 14-17.
- Little, Jonathan, "On Western Travellers who described and drew inspiration from "Eastern" instruments and music, ca.1830s-1850s", FoMRHI Quarterly, no.98 (January, 2000), 41-45, Comm.1690.
- Little, Jonathan, "Musical Instruments Evocative of the Ancient Orient", FoMRHI Quarterly, no.99 (April, 2000), 21-30, Comm.1707.
- Little, Jonathan, "Oriental Colour and Atmosphere: Why Exotic Colour became Prominent in 19th- and early 20th-Century Orchestration", FoMRHI Quarterly, no.102 (January, 2001), 23-28, Comm.1745.
- Little, Jonathan, "Exoticism Globalised: The Forgotten Roots of World Music", in Music Business Journal (April–June, 2001).
- Wheatley, John, "Jonathan Little: Terpsichore and other Works" [CD Review], in Tempo (UK), Vol.62: No.243 (Jan. 2008), pp.88-89.
- "Little, Jonathan: Terpsichore and Other Works" [CD Review] in Fanfare (US), Vol.31: No.5 (May–June 2008), pp. 179-180.
- See "Lynn René Bailey: The Want List 2008", in Fanfare (US), Vol. 32: No.2 (Nov-Dec 2008), p. 77.
- See Wheatley, John, "Jonathan Little: Polyhymnia" [CD review], in Tempo (UK), Vol. 64: No. 253 (July 2010).
- See "Jonathan Little's Story", article on Musicians Benevolent Fund (UK) website re Professional Development Award [online], May 2010. MBF (UK) 2010 Story - Jonathan Little "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-27.
- See Tempo (Cambridge University Press), Vol.66, No.259 (Jan.2012)
- See Reviews New Age (Spain) (February 2012): "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 May 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-23.,
- See the Worshipful Company of Musicians' website:http://www.wcom.org.uk and Kelly, Jeff, "The John Clementi Collard Fellowship - Jonathan Little: 2011", in Preserve Harmony, ed. Adrian Mumford [Journal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians], Issue 44 (Spring 2012) pp. 10 & 16.
- "The Musicians' Company | John Clementi Collard Fellowship". www.wcom.org.uk. Retrieved 2017-06-30.
- "Australia Council for the Arts - results of the first grant round in 2015 : News (Australian) Article : Australian Music Centre". www.australianmusiccentre.com.au. Retrieved 2017-06-30.
- "PARMA Artist Jonathan Little is Awarded Rudolf Nissim Prize". PARMA Recordings News. 2017-01-18. Retrieved 2017-06-30.
- Little, Jonathan and Katie Chatburn, eds, The Musicians and Songwriters Yearbook 2008 (London: A&C Black, 2008). https://www.amazon.co.uk/Musicians-Songwriters-Yearbook-2008-Essential/dp/0713684720
- Little, Jonathan, "Celestial Jukebox", in American Outlook (Jan/Feb, 2001), 42-44.
- Little, Jonathan, "Celestial Cinema; or, From Celluloid to Silicon: eCinema, Cyberentertainment and the Napsterization of Hollywood", in American Outlook, Vol.IV, No.4 (July/Aug, 2001), 28-33.
- Little, Jonathan, "The Sound of Money", in American Outlook, Vol.V, No.3 (Summer, 2002), 41-45.
- Little, Jonathan, "The Complete Songwriter/Producer", in Heart and Soul: Revealing the Art of Songwriting, ed. Chris Bradford (London: Sanctuary Publishing, 2005).
- Little, Jonathan, Digital Distribution and the Music Industry. Summary of the Proceedings of the First European Conference on Digital Distribution and the Music Industry, London, 22–23 May 2000, 14pp. (High Wycombe: Buckinghamshire University College, 2000).
- D., Little, Jonathan; John, Gould, (2001). "Music Business Journal [2001-2006]". collections.crest.ac.uk. Retrieved 2017-06-30.
- First reviewed by John Wheatley in Tempo, Vol. 65, No. 257 (July 2011) (Cambridge University Press, UK), pp. 92-3.
- See reviews by Elizabeth Markham in the IAML journal, Fontes Artis Musicae, Vol. 61, Issue 2 (Apr-Jun 2014), pp.203-7.
- See biography and works list at: http://www.australiancomposers.com.au/
- "Search Results | National Library of Australia". catalogue.nla.gov.au. Retrieved 2017-06-30.
- "Jonathan David Little : Represented Artist Profile : Australian Music Centre". www.australianmusiccentre.com.au. Retrieved 2017-06-30.
- Tempo (UK), Vol.62: No.243 (Jan. 2008), pp. 88–89
- https://web.archive.org/web/20100103033830/http://musicomh.com/classical/recordings/terpsichore_1108.htm MusicOMH.com (UK), November 2008
- Music & Vision (UK), 16 May 2009
- Fanfare (US), Vol.31: No.5 (May–June 2008), pp. 179–180
- Fanfare (US), Vol.32: No.2 (Nov-Dec 2008), p. 77.
- Tempo (UK), Vol.66: No.259 (Jan. 2012), pp. 93–94
- Reviews New Age (Spain) (February, 2012)
- Infodad (US) (1 March 2012)
- Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review (US) (12 April 2012)
- Music & Vision (UK), 25 September 2012 [online]
- Fanfare (US), Vol.36: No.1 (Sept-Oct 2012), pp.58-72 - Feature article (includes extensive interview with Martin Anderson, and reviews by Anderson, Canfield and Nockin)
- Fanfare (US), Vol.36: No.2 (Nov-Dec 2012)
- Media related to Jonathan Little (composer) at Wikimedia Commons