Jonathan Leathwood is one of the few guitarists to perform on six-string and ten-string guitars, mixing modern and traditional works in his innovative programs. Some of his recent recitals include appearances at the Festival di Cervo in Italy, the International Festival of the Classical Guitar at West Dean in the UK, the Nürtingen Festival in Germany, the D. Marin Festival in Turkey, London's Wigmore Hall (with flautist William Bennett), the Almeida Festival, the Cheltenham Festival and the Aldeburgh Festival. He has performed in Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, Italy and the United States.
Jonathan is equally known as a collaborator with both performers and composers. He has recorded two albums with the legendary flautist William Bennett, and plays regularly with flutist Christina Jennings. He has also recorded and broadcast with elite cellists Rohan de Saram and Steven Isserlis. His commissions from young composers such as Param Vir, Stephen Goss, Robert Keeley and Chris Malloy have pushed the boundaries of both six and ten-string guitars – his recordings of Goss and Malloy are now available on the Cadenza label. His exploration of the works of English composer Stephen Dodgson led in 2006 to the release of an album in which Jonathan has made premiere recordings of a number of his solo and chamber works (also on the Cadenza label). His forthcoming recordings will feature music by Britten, Maw, Rodrigo, Mompou, Falla, Keeley and Iznaola.
Jonathan was approached by the legendary guitarist Julian Bream to join him in a project to commission new solo guitar works by major composers, beginning with a substantial work by Sir Harrison Birtwistle. Jonathan launched this initiative with a solo concert at London's Wigmore Hall in November 2011.
Jonathan has won awards from BBC Television's Young Musician of the Year competition, the Park Lane Group, the Countess of Munster Trust, the Myra Hess Trust, the Holst Foundation, the Eric Falk Trust and the Ian Fleming Trust. He was the first guitarist to record a recital for BBC Radio 3's Young Artists' Forum. He has twice performed in the Park Lane Group's Young Artist Series at the Purcell Room in London.
Jonathan Leathwood is equally noted as a teacher and writer on music. In 2001 he conceived and edited Guitar Forum, a new scholarly journal for the classical guitar published in the United Kingdom by the European Guitar Teachers' Association (EGTA UK). The previous year, he was the British delegate at EGTA's international conference in Cambridge, England where he gave a lecture on analysis and performance. In 2005, the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music published several ensemble pieces of Jonathan's in their Music Medals series for children. His principal teachers in guitar have been Gordon Crosskey, Richard Wright, Paul Galbraith, Ricardo Iznaola and the pianist and conductor George Hadjinikos. Currently he is a lecturer at the University of Denver. He gained his PhD at the University of Surrey in the UK.