Johanna MacGregor

Joanna MacGregor CBE

Joanna MacGregor CBE is one of the world’s most innovative musicians, appearing as a concert pianist, curator and conductor. Head of Piano at the Royal Academy of Music and Professor of University of London, Joanna MacGregor was the Artistic Director of Dartington International Summer School & Festival 2014-2019, Artistic Director of the Bath International Music Festival 2006-2012, and curated the multi-arts Deloitte Ignite Festival at the Royal Opera House, as well as Aventures+, an orchestral series for Luxembourg Philharmonie. She runs an annual Summer Piano Festival at the Royal Academy, involving over a hundred young musicians playing core repertoire as well as collaborating with composers, actors, visual artists, writers and filmmakers. Joanna has just been appointed Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Brighton Philharmonic, as it approaches its centenary.

As a solo artist Joanna has performed in over eighty countries and appeared with many eminent conductors – Pierre Boulez, Sir Colin Davis, Valery Gergiev, Sir Simon Rattle and Michael Tilson Thomas amongst them – and orchestras, including the London Symphony and Sydney Symphony orchestras, Chicago, Melbourne and Oslo Philharmonic orchestras, Berlin Symphony Orchestra and Salzburg Camerata. She has premiered many landmark compositions, ranging from Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Django Bates to John Adams and James MacMillan. She performs regularly at major venues throughout the world, including Wigmore Hall, Southbank Centre and Barbican Centre in London, Sydney Opera House, Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Mozarteum in Salzburg.

Joanna is a regular broadcaster, making numerous appearances at the BBC Proms. Known for her interpretations of Bach, she was invited by Sir John Eliot Gardner to perform the Goldberg Variations at the Royal Albert Hall in 2013, broadcast live. She made her conducting debut in 2002 and has directed concerts with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Liverpool Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata and the Hallé. She has also enjoyed a close artistic partnership with the Britten Sinfonia for more than fifteen years; amongst the many artists with whom she has collaborated are the soprano Carolyn Sampson, cellist Adrian Brendel, folk artist Kathryn Tickell, Brian Eno, and the writer Marina Warner. She was seen on BBC’s recent Civilisations series with the Wayne McGregor Dance Company.

As a recording artist Joanna is a veteran of over forty solo recordings, ranging from Bach and Scarlatti to jazz and John Cage. Her own record label SoundCircus was founded in 1998 and has released many highly successful recordings, including the
complete Chopin Mazurkas, the Mercury Prize-nominated Play, Bach’s Goldberg Variations (recorded at the Mozarteum in Salzburg) and Live in Buenos Aires with the Britten Sinfonia. Jazz recordings include Sidewalk Dances — music by the New
York street musician Moondog — and Deep River, inspired by the Deep South, with saxophonist Andy Sheppard.
Joanna MacGregor was awarded a CBE for services to music in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2019. She was Visiting Musician at Oriel College Oxford, and in 2016 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Cambridge. She has received Honorary Doctorates from Bath University, Bath Spa University and the Open University, as well as Fellowships from the Royal Academy of Music, Trinity College of Music and Murray Edwards College, Cambridge. She makes regular appearances on television, and was the subject of a South Bank Show; her ongoing series of music books, PianoWorld, has been hailed as ‘a new series for the Millennium’. She is currently Chair of the Paul Hamlyn Music Awards, and was a 2019 Booker Prize Judge.