I'm a pianist. I play contemporary and classical music, improvised scores for silent films and accompany singers and instrumentalists.

I studied with Ryszard Bakst at Chetham's School of Music in Manchester and read Drama and Theatre Studies at London University. At the moment I'm a performance research student at University of Huddersfield Music Department and continuing my piano studies with Sally Ann Macleod. 

I began as a musical director and keyboard player on musicals in the West End, coaching singers and performing cabaret. Since my twenties, I've mixed working as a musician with work in theatre and opera as a director and producer. I've clocked up time with the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Opera, English National Opera, Cameron Mackintosh Limited, Opera North, Birmingham Hippodrome, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC Radio, Aurora, and City of London Sinfonia.  


In 2016 I founded the Yorkshire Silent Film Festival which takes place each May in cinemas, theatres and village halls across Yorkshire.

I've played films at Hyde Park Picture House, City Varieties and Slung Low (Leeds), Showroom and Abbeydale Picture House (Sheffield), Hull Truck Theatre (with Hull Independent Cinema), Hebden Bridge Picture House, Stephen Joseph Theatre (Scarborough), Square Chapel (Halifax), and National Centre for Early Music. I've also performed three times with Leeds International Film Festival and taken part in the masterclasses at Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, Pordenone.

My professional life is now focused on my academic research and my practice as a film pianist. I'm also the Director of Yorkshire Silent Film Festival.

I'm a Clore Fellow and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. 


Photographer: Valerio Greco

Jonathan Best at Le Giornate Del Cinema Muto, Pordenone 2016