Jonathan Starkey

Striking the right note . . .

I am actively involved in the music industry as a pianist, composer and arranger with the broadcast arms of EMI, ITV, AMPHONIC and another major publisher. I compose, arrange, perform and record albums which are distributed to the broadcast industries of 54 countries. Although I am known as a pianist and composer for that instrument (sort of modern day Chopin) I enjoy a working and compositional relationship with most acoustic instruments and of course sampled instrumental writing and recording (but still favour the piano!).

I trained at the Royal Northern College of Music firstly in the Junior School then the Senior School. I studied under Ryszard Bakst, himself a pupil of Heinrich Neuhaus who also taught his contemporaries, Sviatoslav Richter and Emil Gillels. He was an extremely demanding teacher with a temper to match if you didn't measure up to his expectations. What else would you expect from someone with his pedigree from the Moscow Conservatoire and a past winner of Tchaikovsky Prize for Piano. I studied composition under Anthony Gilbert. At that time I was developing an interest in the broadcast industry of the UK. Anthony Gilbert provided a sound background in composition and arrangement but it was in the field of piano and piano orientated arrangement and composition that I entered into the Production Music industry.

Although familiar in Microsoft operating systems, I am an avid Apple Mac enthusiast (love OSX) and extremely IT literate both in software terms and networking (wired and wireless, LAN and WAN), composing and recording on that platform utilising Cubase and Logic, I/O by various units but mostly Focusrite with effects by TC Electronics and various others. I'm quite taken with iZotope products at the moment, especially their mastering software.

I use pianos from a well known manufacturer - an acoustic grand and a digital hybrid grand. Although I love the acoustic for practice, I very much favour the software grands for recording because of their capability of realistically producing all the famous piano makes with varying types of mic and mic positions along with the ability to change environments to suit the needs of the recording at hand.

I am always looking for new experiences which involve people, music, performance, composition, communication, recording and technology as I believe ultimately that compositions are a product of who, what, where, how and why we are!

Main picture courtesy of Sean McDonald