Peter Jonatan was born in Jakarta, Indonesia in 1983. Coming from a non-musical family, his talent was nonetheless prominent since he first began to play piano. At the age of four, he saw a keyboard demonstration at his kindergarten and immediately wanted to study piano - so his parents enrolled him in Yamaha Music School Indonesia (YMI).
Since an early age, Peter had received an introductory education in composition. During his five years of study in YMI, he had a chance to enter a special program for musically talented students, “JOC”, where he learned how to write and perform an original composition.
After graduating from YMI in 1992, Peter entered Yayasan Pendidikan Musik (YPM), the best classical music school in Indonesia, where he studied for 10 years under Mrs. Tuti Saidbun, Mrs. Edmay Solaiman and Mrs. Susiana Adhitjan. These intense periods of classical studies form a solid fondation for Peter’s Piano technique. Peter graduated third from YPM conservatory preparation class in 2002 out of 70 students.
Besides classical music studies, Peter was introduced to a world of accompaniment and arranging by one of the most influential teachers in his life, Mrs. Priscilla Dianawati. Studying privately with her for six years (1996 – 2002), he focused on accompaniment technique (especially for church and choir) in great detail. Later on, he also studied basic arranging and orchestration for small ensemble and chamber orchestra.
In 2002, Peter received full scholarship from Singapore Technologies Ltd. to study in Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, one of the top engineering schools in the world. Although engineering was his original undergraduate field of study, his interest and passion for music never dimmed. He continued to be involved in a lot of musical activities in his campus, including accompanying the Nanyang Technological University Choir (2002-2003), serving as Musical Director for two musical productions under Nanyang Technological University Indonesian Student Christian Fellowship (2003-2005) and a musical production under Bukit Batok Presbyterian Church (BBPC), and accompanying soloists and choirs at BBPC.
In addition, he also continued to develop his skills and knowledge in composition, arranging, orchestration, and sequencing via self-learning from books. Peter obtained his Bachelor of Engineering in Materials Engineering degree from NTU in 2006; he received four gold medals, including one for the best student majoring in Materials Engineering in the class of 2006.
Between 2006-2008, Peter was faced with a difficult decision. He was offered a scholarship opportunity to continue his studies to PhD in Materials Engineering, but at the same time his heart was inclined more to music. Finally, he decided to choose music as his life’s work. In order to become a successful musician, he had to study in the top musical institution in the world. His choice was Berklee College of Music, where he enrolled in Spring 2009.
As he prepared himself to attend Berklee, he took a professional certificate in Arranging from Berklee Music Online (an extension of Berklee College of Music), graduating in 2008 with a 4.0 GPA. He also studied jazz piano privately (from 2007 – 2008) under one of the top musicians in Indonesia, Mr. Aminoto Kosin (also a Berklee alumni). Early classical studies and his long-time interest in jazz helped him tremendously during the jazz studies.
During seven semesters of study at Berklee, Peter continued to polish his musical talent (especially in composition, arranging, and orchestration), choosing Jazz Composition as his major and excelling in every subject that he studied. His composition “Paradise Island” was selected for performance by the prestigious Berklee Concert Jazz Orchestra’s Spring 2011 annual concert. Another of his compositions, titled “In Remembrance of Romaticism,” was selected as one of Berklee’s best final projects 2010 by Berklee’s Harmony Department and was featured at the Harmony Too! annual concert. His arrangement of the jazz standard “Out of Nowhere” was selected for performance at the 2010 Chord Scale Madness annual concert at Berklee Perfomance Center. Peter graduated summa cum laude from Berklee in December 2011.
In 2008, Peter formed a group, United by Grace, with three other talented arrangers; the group’s vision is to improve overall music quality, especially Christian music in Indonesia. To achieve this purpose, the group produced a debut CD in 2012, entitled Crossing Paths.
Peter is currently pursuing his Doctoral of Musical Arts degree at New England Conservatory in Jazz Studies after earning his Master of Arts in Jazz Studies at New England Conservatory (2014).