Jo Lively studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with David Theodore and Maurice Bourgue
On leaving the conservatoire she worked initially in Scotland as principal oboe for Scottish Ballet and cor anglais for Scottish Opera. Subsequently she returned to London as a freelance player, playing with all the London orchestras, most frequently the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the BBC Concert Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. She has appeared on many recordings with these orchestras, and toured throughout the world, playing for conductors such as Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons, and Klaus Tennstedt.
Jo has played in many West End shows, and held the oboe chair in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Aspects of Love. She has recorded with pop musicians such as Paul McCartney and the group Elbow. In 2012 she played in the small orchestra on stage at Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert, alongside artists including Robbie Williams, Elton John and Stevie Wonder.
Teaching has always been an important part of Jo’s work. Apart from Junior Academy she also teaches at University College School and Highgate School. In the past few years Jo’s Junior Academy pupils have achieved places in the National Children’s Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra, including one as principal oboe in the NYO. Recent successes for Junior Academy oboists include scholarship offers to all the senior conservatoires, as well as a performance of the Mozart Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and an ABRSM Gold Medal for the highest mark in Grade 8. In 2019 the Junior Academy oboists were privileged to work with Jonathan Kelly (principal oboe with the Berlin Philharmonic) in a masterclass at Junior Academy.
Jo is a regular tutor for the National Children’s Orchestra, and has worked on the NYO Inspire scheme. she is regularly asked to adjudicate for music festivals and various school music prizes. She is an examiner and trainer for the ABRSM, and has compiled the repertoire lists for the past two oboe syllabuses.
Recently the Royal Academy of Music awarded Jo an HonARAM for her work as an oboist and oboe teacher.