"Here is an enormous voice, of cavernous resonance and silken tone, in the control of an artist equipped with all the right musical instincts and intelligence." - The Sunday Times, London.

Jonathan is a New Zealander of Samoan decent.  He grew up in Dunedin and studied law and music at the University of Otago.  Jonathan graduated with a Bachelor of Laws in 1999.  He then completed three years study at the Royal College of Music (RCM) in London, earning the College's highly esteemed gold medal.  In his first year at RCM Jonathan completed a postgraduate certificate, and then gained a place on the two-year RCM London Royal School's Opera Course, now known as the RCM Benjamin Britten International Opera School.

Jonathan made his first recording with EMI Classics in 2001 on the Debut label with the albumn Jonathan Lemalu, Roger Vignoles. Songs: Brahms, Faure, Finzi, Schubert.  He won the prestigious Gramophone award for Best Debut Recording at the 2002 awards:

"Every so often a musician arrives on the scene with a talent so richly endowed that the musical world sits up and takes note.  The New Zealand-born Samoan Jonathan Lemalu is one such." - Gramophone.

Jonathan released his first major EMI recording in 2005, a selection of popular songs titled Opera Arias.  In 2009, Jonathan featured on the album Britten: Billy Budd (engineered by Neil Hutchinson & Jonathan Stokes), which won Best Engineered Album, Classical, in the 2010 Grammy Awards. 

Jonathan was one of four artists selected to receive a $10,000 donation by 2008 Arts Foundation Award for Patronage recipients Gillian & Roderick Deane.  Jonathan's father Foalima Lemalu accepted the award on Jonathan's behalf, saying that is was a ‘proud moment' for him and his wife.

Critics and audiences have noted Jonathan's stage presence, interpretive ability, his power, warmth and captivating voice.  Jonathan has established himself on the international stage, performing mainly in America and also throughout Europe, Australia and New Zealand. 

On Jonathan's performance in the 2010 production of Moby Dick with the Dallas Opera, critic Anne Midgette wrote:

"The opera's first scene opens with Queequeg, played by Jonathan Lemalu, making ritual invocations in a foreign language and a dark, deep, almost other-worldly voice, chanting among the sleeping bodies of the other sailors in the hold... Lemalu brought authority, vocal richness, and even the right ethnicity (he is of Samoan descent) to the part, acting as a kind of moral compass standing slightly apart from the other crewmen."

Video

2007
Chad Taylor interviews Jonathan Lemalu for Frontseat, 2007
1976
Born in Dunedin
1997
Dame Sister Mary Leo Scholarship.
1998
New Zealand Mobil Song Quest.
1999
Bachelor of Law, Otago University; McDonald's Operatic Aria Contest at Sydney Opera House.
2000
Inaugural Llangollen International Singer 2000 Competition;RCM Graziella Sciutti Recital Prize;RCM Keith Faulkner Oratorio Prize;LASMO Staffa Singers Prize;Bruce Millar/Gulliver Award for Young Opera Singers (Glasgow);Singers Prize, Overseas Award and Overall Winner of the Royal Over-Seas League Competition;Richard Tauber Prize for Singers (Wigmore Hall);Concert FM Broadcasting Artist of the Year (NZ);RCM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Rosebowl (presented by HRH Prince Charles);NFMS Alfreda Hodgson Prize;Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Scholar;President Emerita Scholar, Leverhulme Trust Scholar, Tillet Trust Scholar and Singers Academy Scholar at the RCM.
2002/2003
BBC Young Generation Artist.
2002
Graduated from Royal College of Music
2008
Award for Patronage donation recipient from Gillian & Roderick Deane
2013
Recipient of Senior Artist Award , Arts Pasifika Awards