Hailed as “a virtuosic talent in the guitar world” (X-Press Magazine), American-born Australian classical guitarist Dr Jonathan Fitzgerald has garnered international recognition as a multi-award winning performer and educator. Maintaining a career at the intersection of performance, teaching and artistic research, Jonathan heads the guitar program at the University of Western Australia's Conservatorium of Music, where he oversees one of the most active guitar studios in the country.
Jonathan's artistic interests are diverse, ranging from traditional classical guitar repertoire to experimental works for electric guitar. His most recent project West Australian Landscapes, a CD of newly commissioned works inspired by the WA landscape, was a feature album on ABC Classic. The works were premiered with the Perth Guitar Quartet on a sold-out concert at the Perth International Classical Guitar Festival. The concert was praised as “a stunning performance” which “…will no doubt put Perth on the radars of concert goers from all over the globe.” (RTRFM)
Previous projects include a residency at the National Trust of Western Australia, funded by a major grant from the Department of Culture and the Arts. Entitled Sound from the Ground, the project culminated in two sold-out concerts at the historic East Perth Cemeteries, won the Museums and Galleries National Award for Interpretation, Learning & Audience Engagement, and was a finalist for the 2017 WA State Heritage Award. More recently, Jonathan undertook Electroluminescence, a commissioning project which culminated in an immersive multimedia concert of new works for electric guitar, electronics, and visual projections. Presented by Tura New Music as part of the 2022 Fringe World Festival, the concert was described as "nothing less than heroic in proportion…and an important contribution to the repertoire of audio-visual works for electric guitar" (X-Press Magazine). The new works were subsequently recorded for CD release on the New Focus Recordings label (NYC), with worldwide distribution by Naxos of America.
Past concert highlights include performances with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, West Australian Opera (Verdi's Otello); radio performances for ABC Radio National, RTRFM (WA), WXXI and WCNY (New York); a lecture-recital at the Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Portugal (as part of the 21st Century Guitar conference); and solo concerts presented by Tura New Music, the Classical Guitar Society of Western Australia, Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, the Musicales Concert Series, and Valley Manor Concert Series, among others. His playing has been recognised through numerous awards, including the Great Lakes International Guitar Competition in which he was a prize-winning finalist and winner of the “Audience Choice” award.
A recipient of the Jack L. Frank Award for Excellence in Teaching, FABLE Award for Excellence in Teaching, UWA Award for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning, and three-time recipient of the UWA Student Guild Students' Choice Award, Jonathan is a dedicated instructor with nearly two decades of teaching experience. Currently he serves as Chair of Strings & Guitar and teaches Music Language (Harmony & Aural) at the University of Western Australia. He has also taught the History and Literature of the Guitar, Guitar Pedagogy, and Fretboard Harmony at the Eastman School of Music, and Dalcroze Eurhythmics at the Fairmount Center for the Creative and Performing Arts. Previous teaching appointments include the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Roberts Wesleyan University, and the Eastman Community Music School, among others. An active clinician, he has presented workshops, masterclasses and lectures across the United States, Europe, and Australia.
Jonathan received his formal education in the United States, studying with some of the world’s foremost musicians. He had the privilege of learning under classical guitar virtuoso and Grammy Award winner Jason Vieaux while earning Bachelor and Master of Music degrees at the Cleveland Institute of Music. During his doctoral studies at the Eastman School of Music, Jonathan studied classical guitar with Dr Nicholas Goluses, historical performance practice with world renowned lutenist Paul O’Dette, and music theory pedagogy with Dr Steven Laitz. Jonathan considers it an honour and a responsibility to carry on, with his own students, the legacy of the teachers who have so profoundly shaped him as a musician.
Jonathan performs on a spruce/cedar "double-top" guitar by Gernot Wagner.