Professor Joanna MacGregor

Head of Piano


Piano - Head of Piano
Research Programmes - Head of Piano

World-wide reputation as a concert soloist

Over 30 solo recordings

Experienced Curator/Director, most recently of Dartington International Summer School

Founder of her own label, SoundCircus

Studied at the Royal Academy of Music; Head of Piano here since 2011

Joanna MacGregor is one of the world’s most innovative and creative pianists. She combines her role as Head of Piano at the Royal Academy of Music with a busy career as a concert soloist, teacher and festival curator. Her repertoire is hugely diverse, ranging from core classical music to twentieth century and contemporary music in a wide variety of genres.

Appearing as a concert pianist in over seventy countries, she has worked with many eminent conductors — Pierre Boulez, Sir Colin Davis, Sir Simon Rattle, Valery Gergiev and Michael Tilson Thomas amongst them. She has performed with London and Sydney Symphony Orchestras, Chicago, Melbourne and Oslo Philharmonic Orchestras, the Berlin Symphony and Salzburg Camerata, amongst many others. 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 the Barbican in London, Sydney Opera House, Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Mozarteum in Salzburg.

Joanna has made over thirty solo recordings, covering Bach, Scarlatti, Ravel, Debussy, jazz, contemporary music and more. 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.

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. 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.

Joanna was the subject of a South Bank Show on ITV, and her performances are regularly broadcast on both television and radio world-wide.

She was appointed Artistic Director of Dartington International Summer School in 2014. She was Artistic Director of Bath International Music Festival until 2012, and she curated the 2010 multi-arts Deloitte Ignite Festival at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Joanna took postgraduate studies with Christopher Elton at the Royal Academy of Music, receiving the Hodgson Piano Fellowship. She has received many Honorary awards, including Honorary Doctorate from the University of Cambridge in June 2016.

In September 2013 she was appointed as a Professor of the University of London at the Royal Academy of Music.

Personal philosophy of teaching

I’m a concert pianist who curates festivals, conducts and composes, and commissions music and collaborations in many different types of music: so my aim as Head of Piano at the Academy is to encourage young pianists to think creatively, be daring, and create opportunities for themselves. The music world is an exciting place, requiring musicians with ideas and a sense of vibrant discovery: this can be in early and classical keyboard music, romantic and contemporary music. The education and environment in the Piano Department offer pianists the chance to develop and deepen their artistry and originality, in solo, chamber and multi-disciplinary ways, and emerge as a unique talent.

Selected recordings

Piazzolla Libertango

Bach Aria from the Goldberg Variations

Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue

Bach French Suite no.5 in G major, BWV 816: Gigue – listen here

Lou Harrison Piano Concerto II. Stampede – listen here

Satie Gnossienne no.1 – listen here

Scarlatti Sonata in A flat major K.127 – listen here

Messiaen Louange à l'éternité de Jésus from Quatuor pour la Fin de Temps – listen here

In Conversation

Joanna MacGregor chats with Final Note Magazine about Bach, Mozart, writing piano manuals, working with Boulez, pedagogy, and her career as a pianist.





Staff Finder

@SoundCircusJM • Nov 04
@SoundCircusJM • Jul 29
@SoundCircusJM • Jun 23
Black and white keys to success:… @RoyalAcadMusic @SoundCircusJM #piano #music #Festivals
@SoundCircusJM • Jun 23
Meet the Artist......Joanna Macgregor, pianist… via @CrossEyedPiano
@SoundCircusJM • Jun 23