Bob Jones' pioneering podcast series dedicates time to the artists and organisations that make the classical world turn - this week he talks to Joanna Macgregor.
One of this country’s most eclectic and engaging performers, the pianist Joanna MacGregor’s innovative approach to concert programming has helped her reach all sorts of new audiences for classical music over the last 30 years.
- Joanna MacGregor was born in London in 1959, with music in her blood: her mother was a Royal Academy of Music-trained pianist, so it’s no surprise that the young Joanna fell in love with the instrument at such a tender age.
- After studying Music at Cambridge, MacGregor then followed in her mother’s footsteps by undertaking a Master's at the Academy, where she was quickly singled out as an exceptional soloist.
- MacGregor’s concerts are unashamedly quirky affairs: she performs Baroque music alongside jazz; she throws music from the stand onto the floor; and she frequently plays pieces for the ‘prepared piano’, which sees her attaching all manner of things to the strings inside the instrument in order for them to make a different sound to what you would usually expect.
- Always keen to defy convention, MacGregor has done everything from performing Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No.2 with a brass band instead of an orchestra, through to recording with pop singers and collaborating with dance companies.
- An academic as well as a performer, MacGregor has held professorships at the Royal Academy of Music and Trinity College of Music.
- She has also worked closely with the poet Andrew Motion: they were members of the board of the Arts Council together in the late 1990s.
- As a conductor, MacGregor regularly appears with the Britten Sinfonia, and she is also Artistic Director of the Bath International Music Festival.
Did You Know?
In addition to being a fine pianist, MacGregor has also had success as a playwright. Her radio play Memoirs of an Amnesiac, about the life of the French composer Erik Satie, was broadcast in 1990 and was subsequently nominated for the prestigious Prix Italia Award.
Bach Prelude & Fugue No. 16 in G Minor
Joanna MacGregor has been signed by Warner Classics & Jazz.
Renowned as one of the most innovative classical pianists in the world, Joanna MacGregor has always strived to bring all genres of music into her life in order to continually develop her style and individuality.
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