Professor Joanna MacGregor

Joanna MacGregor



Head of Piano

Joanna MacGregor is thought of as one of the world’s most innovative and creative pianists. She became the Head of Piano at the Royal Academy of Music in 2011, and combines a busy career as a concert soloist, professor and festival curator. Her repertoire is hugely diverse, ranging from core classical music to twentieth century and contemporary music; she has appeared as a concert pianist in over seventy countries.

Joanna is the new Artistic Director of Dartington International Summer School and hosts her first four-week programme, for students and musicians at the start of their careers, in August 2015. She was the Artistic Director of Bath International Music Festival for seven years until 2012, as well as the curator of the 2010 multi-arts Deloitte Ignite Festival at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and Aventures, the 2012-2013 orchestral series at Luxembourg Philharmonie. Joanna read music at Cambridge University, studying composition with Hugh Wood, and continued her postgraduate studies with Christopher Elton at the Royal Academy of Music, receiving the Hodgson Piano Fellowship. She has worked with many eminent conductors — Pierre Boulez, Sir Colin Davis, Sir Simon Rattle, Valery Gergiev and Michael Tilson Thomas amongst them — and orchestras — London and Sydney Symphony orchestras, Chicago, Melbourne and Oslo Philharmonic orchestras, the Berlin Symphony and Salzburg Camerata, amongst many others — and 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 the Barbican in London, Sydney Opera House, Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Mozarteum in Salzburg.

In Summer 2012 she performed at two BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, and made her debut at Lincoln Center‘s ‘Mostly Mozart‘ Festival. She is currently performing the complete Mozart concertos, and performed the complete Chopin Mazurkas to widespread acclaim in 2010 (and will be performing them at the Wigmore Hall next season). Known for her Bach interpretations, she was invited by Sir John Eliot Gardiner to perform the Goldberg Variations at the Royal Albert Hall in April 2013, which was broadcast live by BBC Radio 3 and received rave reviews. In 2014 /15 her schedule includes concerts in Germany, Holland, Portugal, Ireland, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, China, USA and all over the UK.

Joanna MacGregor made her conducting debut in 2002 and has solo-directed concerts with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Liverpool Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata and the Hallé Orchestra, and enjoys a close artistic partnership with Britten Sinfonia, in programmes ranging from classical music to collaborations with jazz and world musicians. Joanna was the subject of a South Bank Show on ITV, and her performances are regularly broadcast on both television and radio, including the Last Night of the Proms (playing Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto no.1). She filmed Bach’s Preludes and Fugues for the BBC, and has appeared on television and radio throughout Europe, North and South America and Australia.

Joanna MacGregor has made over thirty solo recordings, ranging from Bach, Scarlatti, Ravel and Debussy, to jazz and contemporary music. Her own record label SoundCircus — now in partnership with Warner Classical and Jazz — was founded in 1998 and has released many highly successful recordings of solo and concerto repertoire, including the Mercury Prize-nominated Play, Live in Buenos Aires, Bach’s Goldberg Variations (recorded at the Mozarteum in Salzburg), concertos by Britten, Gershwin, Schnittke and Bach, and a four-CD Messiaen set. Joanna MacGregor has received Honorary Fellowships from the Royal Academy of Music, Trinity College of Music and Murray Edwards, Cambridge, as well as Honorary Doctorates from Bath University, Bath Spa and the Open University. From 1997 to 2000 she was Professor of Music at Gresham College, London, where she gave a series of public lectures. She was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Jubilee Honours in 2012, and in September 2013 she was appointed as a Professor of the University of London at the Royal Academy of Music.