Jonathan Del Mar – a Beethoven scholar second to none

Beethoven at Bärenreiter: This is almost synonymous with the name of Jonathan Del Mar. It was he who brought this composer to the publisher. In 1996 Del Mar started with the task of editing the nine symphonies and completed the edition within four years. The initial experts’ skepticism quickly gave way to great enthusiasm. Many world famous composers now use these editions of Beethoven’s core repertoire as the basis for their interpretations. They have grasped that Del Mar's extraordinary ability to examine and interpret the extant sources serve their mutual goal: to preserve this genius’ music as closely as possible to his intentions.

Other Beethoven works have followed since: all the concertos, the cello sonatas and variations, and string quartets as far as op. 127. The piano sonatas are in the course of being published; nearly half have appeared so far, and the remainder will be published by 2020.

Jonathan Del Mar has also been a conductor. He won a music scholarship to Christ Church, Oxford, and continued his studies at the Royal College of Music. In 1976 he was invited by Franco Ferrara to participate in the Venice International Conductors’ Course, and he later studied with Kirill Kondrashin in the Netherlands. He won prizes at the Imperial Tobacco International Conductors Award (1978), the Nicolai Malko Competition (1980) and the First Leeds Conductors’ Competition (1984).

He began his professional career conducting the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and gave concerts in Denmark. He made his London debut with the London Symphony Orchestra in 1984, after which he worked with most of the major British orchestras and conducted concerts all over Europe.

Deciphering Beethoven’s handwriting

Editing Beethoven. An interview with Jonathan Del Mar