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10 July, 2022

Atherton’s musical prodigy

EVERY key on his piano tells a story, creating a song with the perfect construction of chords and harmonies, leaving the audience of 14-year-old Jonathan Platz thrilled by his talent.

By Ellie Fink

Atherton pianist and composer Jonathan Platz is creating music for entire orchestras at only 14 years old, with his songs inspired by the great Beethoven.

Since beginning his musical journey when he was just nine years old, Jonathan has performed his own compositions for audiences across the region, leaving them in complete awe. 

From the Vienna Classical Music Academy’s International Composition Competition to the recent Eisteddfod, his compositions have been heard across the world to boards of experts in the art.

Starting out on the clarinet in his school’s instrumental music program, he immediately knew music was for him.

“One year later I started learning the piano and would often find myself improvising simple tunes,” he said. 

“Even though I play piano and clarinet, I would have to say that I am more comfortable with the piano as it is an instrument that is more versatile and intuitive. 

“I found these times extremely gratifying, and it soon became clear that composing was something I wanted to pursue.” 

From reading the notes to creating the notes, Jonathan began to compose his own pieces inspired by some of the greatest musical icons in history such as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky. 

The influence those musical pioneers had on his music allowed him to push the boundaries of composing and to put his vision on paper. 

“They were pioneers of their time and I have been known to spend hours studying their pieces and, even though they’re no longer around, I still consider them my ‘living’ mentors,” he said. 

“I am particularly inspired by Beethoven, who broke the rules to create new ones. This is especially true for some of my more recent works which have been a little more adventurous and a little less bound by a set of rules. 

“There are several people who have had a great deal of input in my musical journey including my music teacher Rhonda Towner and other musicians who have offered and continue to offer valuable advice and support.” 

Ms Towner has been Jonathan’s mentor for many years and has begun guiding him when composing his songs. 

With her experience in teaching music for several years, she believes Jonathan is a rising star that will go incredible places in his career. 

“Jonathan mentioned to me during a lesson a few years ago that he'd been doing some composing, so I asked if I could see it, and as soon as I did, I knew that he had a gift,” she said.

“Since then, I have had the pleasure of proof reading and providing feedback on his compositions, many of which he has entered in national and international competitions. 

“Jonathan possesses an understanding of musical form, chords and orchestration far beyond his years. 

“It has been an incredible journey and as a teacher, working with Jonathan has been what I feel will be a 'once in a career' experience. 

I look forward to seeing what Jonathan goes on to achieve in the future.” 

As Jonathan continues to compose throughout his high school years, he hopes to one day study a Bachelor of Music (Composition) at university and become a professional composer, conductor and lecturer.

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