Jonathan Morris is currently completing a doctorate degree in piano performance at the University of Colorado Boulder College of Music in the USA, studying with Andrew Cooperstock. Born in the Republic of Ireland in 1992, he started receiving piano lessons when he was eight years old and was accepted into the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin at the age of sixteen. Whilst in Ireland, he was taught by the eminent Irish pianist Hugh Tinney, who came fifth in the 1987 Leeds International Piano Competition. He moved to London in 2010 to study the piano with Ronan O’Hora at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, receiving a full scholarship. He spent six years there getting his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, graduating with classifications of First Class Honours and Distinction, respectively.
Jonathan has been involved with many prominent music festivals worldwide, including the Aspen Music Festival and School in Colorado. He attended Aspen for three consecutive years from 2010 onwards, receiving scholarship aid from many generous supporters, including the Polonsky Foundation in the UK. He attended again in 2015 for the fourth time, studying with Anton Nel, receiving a fellowship covering room and board, tuition, and travel. Jonathan has also taken part in other international music festivals, such as the Clandeboye Festival in Ireland, the Birmingham International Piano Academy in England, and the Astona International Music Academy in Switzerland. He has received tutoring from some of the ﬁnest musicians of this generation, including Richard Goode, Steven Osborne, Julian Martin, James Anagnoson, Philippe Cassard, Peter Donohoe, Cristina Oritz, Jacques Rouvier, Christopher Elton, Barry Douglas, Antti Siirala, and John O’Conor, among others.
Jonathan has received numerous awards in many local, national, and international competitions. Last February, he won the CU Boulder Honors Concerto Competition, one of the most prestigious and highly competitive awards within the school. More recently, he received second prize and alternate winner in the Mu Phi Epsilon International Competition, which took place in the Newman Center for the Performing Arts in Denver. In the 2016 ESB Feis Ceoil—Ireland’s leading national music festival—he won the coveted Mabel Swainson Award, while March 2015 marked a win in both the Hamilton Harty Cup and Anthony Glavin Trophy at the Feis. Both of these competitions had previously been won by Jonathan in 2013. Along with these prizes, he came first in the Morris Grant competition, the most prestigious piano award of the festival, winning an award of €2,500. He has also been awarded first prize in the Huban Cup and Patrick Brennan Award of €1,000 and second prize in the Nordell Cup, along with numerous awards in junior Feis competitions, the RIAM music festival, and other Irish music festivals. In the UK, his successes include winning the piano prize of the 2015 Deena Shypitka Music Awards, as well as winning the 2013 Ivan Sutton Chamber Music Award, Guildhall’s pre-eminent chamber music competition, with his piano trio, Trio Amicorum. Jonathan also competed in the 2015 Dublin International Piano Competition, the 8th International Adilia Alieva Piano Competition in France, and the 21st International Piano Competition Rome 2011 in Italy.
In June of this year, Jonathan will be returning to Ireland to play in the inaugural Samuel Beckett Chamber Music Series, which will take place in June of this year in Dublin’s historic Smock Alley Theatre. He will also be travelling to New York in November to play in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, representing CU Boulder in a showcase of some of its most promising young musicians. Last year’s concerts included a performance of Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with the CU Symphony Orchestra in Macky Auditorium in November as a result of winning CU Boulder’s Honors Concerto Competition. Meanwhile, the 2016 season included a performance as part of the City of London Festival, a solo concert in Ireland’s National Concert Hall, and a solo concert as part of the New Ross Piano Festival, alongside performers Nicholas Angelich, Piers Lane, and Finghin Collins. During the festival, he also played a four-hand concert with Nathalia Milstein, winner of the 2015 Dublin International Piano Competition. Jonathan has played in many other notable venues, including Wigmore Hall, Abbey Road Studios, the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence Ceremony 2015 (sponsored by Yamaha and organised by Rhinegold Publishing), the Bishopsgate Institute, and the National Concert Hall in Ireland, as well as several international venues, including Institut Montana in Switzerland.
Jonathan hopes to write his doctoral thesis on the role of classical improvisation in musicianship, aural awareness, and performance; its historical basis and the decline of its popularity; and the role it can play in revitalising classical music in contemporary concerts. His hope is to make classical music more accessible to modern listeners, using classical improvisation as an intermediary between performer and audience.