Jonathan Crayford is an award-winning pianist, multi-instrumentalist and critically-acclaimed composer from New Zealand who began playing music at the age of 3. His work encompasses a wide variety of musical genres. As a musician in New York he has worked with Kurt Rosenwinkel, David Binney, Mambo Macoco, Groove Collective and in Europe with David Murray, Tony Allen, Questlove, Macy Gray, Bobby Carcasses (Cuba) and many others internationally. As a film composer he has scored numerous feature films, winning industry awards. His latest trio of albums gained critical acclaim with East West Moon receiving the 2017 Tui Award for Best Jazz album and its predecessor Dark Light called ‘a masterpiece’ by Radio NZ’s Simon Sweetman.
Known as a prolific and highly original compositional talent, Jonathan is responsible for many film soundtracks, albums, and bands. His work today spans many different genres and disciplines, in many different parts of the world, including Australasia, Europe, Brazil, Spain, America (particularly New York) and Cuba. Most recently he has been living in Paris and Spain, writing a film/opera and recording two albums of solo piano music in Spain and a trio album in New York. Now he has a new project – to tour New Zealand with a Steinway D Concert Grand Piano.
“There is a huge difference between a full-sized, concert grand in good condition and every other piano,” he explains. “The big ones make a huge sound and the balance of low frequency to high frequency is glorious, the tone, divine. When a pianist performs on an instrument that can deliver such a sound - the instrument inspires greatness, and in turn, the audience feel it.”
The piano is a 1955 full sized Steinway concert grand, signed by several concert pianists throughout its lifetime, including Lily Kraus, “a Hungarian specialist in Beethoven and Mozart who had endured a concentration camp and became a refugee before touring the world in the ‘30s and ‘40s. I believe she was quite a presence in NZ then, a lot of people remember her.”
“It will be a great pleasure for me to be able to perform on such a brilliant instrument to people all over New Zealand,” agrees Crayford. “We also have a wide range of venue type: A cement silo, a wine cave, a concert hall and various other types of spaces.”
“I'm going to play everything that's been in my mind for the last 2 years since I came back to New Zealand to live close to my daughter and grand-daughter. I've studied a lot of music in this time and absorbed the sounds from trips to far-away places. When I sit down to play it will be to journey through all that I have seen and heard. In real terms - for the listener, apart from the emotional and spiritual content which can only reveal itself at the time, this means some Ravel, Bach, Ligeti, Monk, Ellington, Mingus, Mompou, Mario Bauza, Claire Fischer, Peter Gabriel, Lorca, and particularly anything that might come to mind at the time.”