Jonathan David Little


The atmospheric and evocative music of Jonathan David Little is notable for its mystical beauty, intensity, richness of material, and intricate craftsmanship. He was the first Australian-born composer to be awarded the UK’s prestigious Collard Fellowship of the Worshipful Company of Musicians (est.1500), and also the first composer to receive a Professional Development Award from the UK music business’s own charity, the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund. In 2016 he won a Royal Philharmonic Society “ENCORE Choral” Award (UK), in 2017 Special Distinction for his orchestral music in the ASCAP Rudolf Nissim Prize (USA) – and in January 2018 his polychoral Kyrie was nominated for “Best Classical Music Recording” at the inaugural RoundGlass Global Music Awards in New York (USA-INDIA). His entire body of polychoral music was also Runner-Up in the 2018 CHASS Australia Prize – the nation’s premier and most distinguished award in the Arts and Humanities.

Positions held include Principal of the Academy of Contemporary Music (UK) – the first music education institution to win the Queen’s Award for Enterprise – and Professor of Music Composition, Music History and Head of Music Research at the University of Chichester (and subsequently Emeritus Professor).

Composer website:

Featured Works

Crucifixus, for AATTBB Choir and 2 x SSA Soloists (or Choirs) – with optional Organ and Instrumental accompaniment.

Written to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the National Boys’ Choir of Australia (founded 1964), and dedicated to the memory of Harold Bird, OAM (1922-2015), the score is marked, “Slow and Spacious”, and “Maestoso (In Wonder)” – with the refrain becoming ever-more decorated on each return. Despite the subject matter, the mood of the refrain is more one of glory and awe, rather than mere dolefulness. The intimate verse, by contrast, is marked, “Teneramente e sostenuto” (“Tenderly and sustained”).

‘Crucifixus’ (Op.13a) is actually the most concise version of a much longer work, entitled “Woefully Arrayed” (Op.13), the latter of which contains three verses and four refrains, runs a full 26 minutes, and has something of an hypnotic, time-defeating quality about it. Abridged versions of Woefully Arrayed can be performed by commencing the work from either the Second or – as here – Third Refrain.

The nature of its text makes it most appropriate for the Lenten season, in the lead up to Eastertide, and supremely fitting for performance on Good Friday.

– Jonathan David Little

Featured in Sacred Music Waves (December 2019)