Jonathan Lemalu

Kaituhi Tūtahi | Contributing Writer

A New Zealand-born Samoan, Fa’afetai Jonathan Lemalu is a Grammy award-winning bass. His national/international accolades and performances representing Aotearoa include Dame Sister Mary Leo competition (1997)), Mobil Song Quest (1998), Sydney Olympics Arts Festival with the NZSO (2002), BBC Proms with the NzSO at London’s Royal Albert Hall (2005), TUI Awards’ Classical Album of the Year (2006), singing National Anthems at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand (2011) Creative New Zealand Senior Pacific Arts Award (2013) Jonathan holds a Bachelor of Laws LLB from Otago University (1999) and postgraduate qualifications (all with distinction) from London’s Royal College of Music (2002) where as a Queen Elizabeth Queen Mother scholar he was awarded both the Queen Elizabeth Rosebowl (2001) and Tagore Gold Medal (2002), the RCM’s top honours. As a student, Jonathan’s European competition success was considerable, including the inaugural Llangollen International Singer of the Year (2000), ROSL Gold Medal (2002) and Kathleen Ferrier Award (2003). Jonathan was a BBC3 Radio New Generation Artist and ECHO Rising Stars recitalist, whose debut song recording (EMI) received Gramophone Magazine’s Debut Disc of the Year (2002), ECHO Klassik award and Royal Philharmonic Society’s Young Artist of the year (2003). He has an extensive discography of opera and song appearances including in Britten’s Billy Budd (LSO) which won a Grammy award for Best Opera recording (2008). He has performed bass roles in more than 60 operas. As a voice teacher and coach, Jonathan has given numerous public masterclasses at the Major London colleges and New Zealand’s University of Otago and New Zealand School of Music. He is a current Professor of Voice at London’s Guildhall School of Music & Drama.

Everything By: Jonathan Lemalu

Pacific Arts Legacy Project26.11.20

What do White Sunday performances, Polyfest and New Zealand’s opera scene have in common? London-based bass baritone Jonathan Lemalu shares insight into why Pacific singers have become such a prominent feature of opera in Aotearoa.


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The Pantograph Punch publishes urgent and vital cultural commentary by the most exciting new voices in Aotearoa.

The Pantograph Punch publishes urgent and vital cultural commentary by the most exciting new voices in Aotearoa.

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