Belfast-born Jonathan Byers studied the cello at the Royal Academy of Music in London with David Strange and Jennifer Ward Clarke. As a founder member of the Badke String Quartet, he was winner of the 1st prize and audience prize in the 5th Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition in 2007. The Quartet performed at festivals in the UK and abroad, including the Aldeburgh and Verbier Festivals and in such venues as London’s Wigmore Hall and Kings Place, Musikverein in Vienna, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and frequently broadcasted on BBC Radio 3.
Jonathan enjoys a busy freelance career performing as guest principal with many orchestras and period instrument groups, including the Academy of Ancient Music, Arcangelo, Gabrieli Consort, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Classical Opera Company, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Early Opera Company. He also plays under Sir John Eliot Gardiner with the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and is currently Co-Principal cellist with The English Concert and the Irish baroque Orchestra. In 2011, Jonathan was made an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, an honorary award for former students of the Academy who have made a notable contribution to the music profession.
Jonathan performs on a c.1750 cello by John Johnson and a fine Italian cello from c.1730s made possible by the Stradivari Trust.
Jonathan is also a Trustee of the Queille Trust in France and runs an annual fundraising event called Special Queille in Hoxton, London.