Jonny Best

Jonny Best

Jonny Best - Silent Films with Live Music

Jonny Best, the resident pianist at BFI Southbank is a musician, researcher, and producer. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a member of the Royal Musical Association and Incorporated Society of Musicians. As a pianist, he specialises in improvisation and silent film accompaniment, working solo and with a variety of collaborators, including as a member of Frame Ensemble. He performs regularly at venues and festivals around the UK and internationally. He is also the Director of the Yorkshire Silent Film Festival and No Dots Limited.

Jonny studied piano at Chetham's School of Music with Ryszard Bakst and drama at the University of London. He completed his PhD research on silent film piano improvisation at the University of Huddersfield Music Department in 2022. He also researches early film keyboard accompaniment practices and the history of silent film accompaniment.

Jonny began his professional career in the 1990s as a musical director and keyboard player on musicals in the West End of London and regional UK theatres. He joined the Royal Shakespeare Company as an assistant director before going to the National Theatre as Associate Director on the award-winning revival of Rogers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma. Best also devised and staged music-theatre collaborations with BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia and BBC Radio 3. He had produced mixed art form and classical music festivals across the UK and led Queer Up North International Festival, Holmfirth Arts Festival, Festival of the North East and Classical Sheffield Festival, as well as all four editions of the Yorkshire Silent Film Festival.