Jonathan Lemalu

Jonathan Fa'afetai Lemalu (born 1976) is a New Zealand bass baritone opera singer. Born to Samoan parents who had emigrated to New Zealand,[1] he was educated in Dunedin. He studied both Law and Music at the University of Otago, graduating with a Bachelor of Laws in 1999.

Lemalu studied at the Royal College of Music (RCM), where he won the college's gold medal award in 2002. He won the prestigious London-based Kathleen Ferrier Award (previously won by Malvina Major in 1966) that same year. He was a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist from 2002 to 2004. He was the 2004 winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society's award for Young Artist of the Year. At the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards Lemalu was a co-recipient of the Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording for his work on "Britten: Billy Budd".[2][3] In 2013 he was awarded the Senior Pacific Artist Award at the Creative New Zealand Arts Pasifka Awards.[4]

Lemalu's wife is the Croatian mezzo-soprano Sandra Martinovic, with whom he has given joint recitals. They live in London with his wife and their son.[5]


  • 1997 Dame Sister Mary Leo Scholarship.
  • 1998 New Zealand Mobil Song Quest.
  • 1999 Australia's McDonald's Operatic Aria Contest at the Sydney Opera House.
  • 2000 Inaugural Llangollen International Singer 2000 Competition.
  • RCM Graziella Sciutti Recital Prize.
  • RCM Keith Faulkner Oratorio Prize.
  • 2000 LASMO Staffa Singers Prize.
  • Bruce Millar/Gulliver Award for Young Opera Singers (Glasgow).
  • Overall winner of the Royal Over-Seas League Competition (and Royal Over-Seas League Singers Prize, and Overseas Award).
  • Richard Tauber Prize for Singers (Wigmore Hall).
  • Concert FM Broadcasting Artist of the Year (NZ).
  • 2000 recipient of the RCM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Rosebowl (presented by HRH Prince Charles) and 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.
  • BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist 2002-2004
  • Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording soloist on Britten: Billy Budd at 52nd Annual Grammy Awards 2010


  1. Sarah Stuart (1 August 2013). "Twelve Questions: Jonathan Lemalu". New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on 1 August 2013.
  2. Abbie Fentress Swanson. "2010 Grammy Award Winners". WQXR. Archived from the original on 1 February 2010. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  3. "Artist: Jonathan Lemalu". Recording Academy Grammy Awards. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  4. "Arts Pasifika Awards". Creative New Zealand. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  5. Official Biography
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