Jonathan Brett received his early musical training on the trombone, viola and piano as a student at the Junior Department of the Royal College of Music in London.
Later he attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and read music at the University of Surrey, where started to pursue his interest in conducting. After graduating with First Class Honours he was awarded scholarships to study conducting with Diego Masson and theory and analysis of music at London University. Subsequent studies included choral conducting with John Poole and a Fellowship at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. As well as working with all the college orchestras and ensembles he was awarded a number of prizes and bursaries and given opportunities to participate in masterclasses with two great Russian teachers, Ilya Musin and Yuri Simonov, with whom he subsequently embarked on his most important and intensive period of conducting study.
Having gained his early professional experience with the Surrey Chamber Orchestra, since 1990 he has been the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the English Classical Players. Originally formed as a chamber orchestra, over the last ten years the group has extended the scale of its operation and repertoire so that it now works in various combinations from ensemble to full symphony orchestra in repertoire from baroque to contemporary. The orchestra's reputation has developed steadily; it is now regarded as one of the country's finest, noted for its opulently beautiful tone, brilliant virtuosity and the tremendous exuberance of its performances, both in the concert hall and on disc. Through its recordings and performances at leading venues all over the UK the orchestra has developed a strong public following as well as being invited for tours in many countries.
In addition to his work with the English Classical Players Jonathan Brett has appeared with many leading orchestras and choruses in the UK, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia of England, the Royal Choral Society and the BBC Singers. His international career has taken him to many countries, with recent seasons including work in Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, France, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Russia and Spain.
The first British conductor ever to be invited to work with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, in December 2002 he made a successful début with them at Tchaikovsky Hall, Moscow with a performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. He has subsequently become a regular guest conductor of the orchestra, appearing with them in Moscow at Tchaikovsky Hall and the Great Hall of the Conservatoire as well as touring internationally.