"Joanna MacGregor’s career is practically built on a reinvention of the star virtuoso tradition, applied to the often cerebral and style-oblivious world of contemporary music."
BBC Classical Review, Joanna MacGregor ‘Play’ album
"MacGregor...the most energising force in British contempary music...a performance I will remember forever." The Independent
One of the world’s most innovative musicians, Joanna MacGregor is committed to expressing musical connections through increasingly diverse and original programming.
Currently Head of Piano at The Royal Academy of Music, Joanna MacGregor was Artistic Director of Bath International Music Festival (2006-2012) and curated the multi-arts Deloitte Ignite Festival at the Royal Opera House in 2010. In the 2012/13 season she will curate a series of orchestral concerts at the Philharmonie in Luxembourg – Aventures – in which she will also perform.
As a solo artist, Joanna MacGregor has appeared with many of the world's leading orchestras with such eminent conductors as Pierre Boulez, Sir Colin Davis, Valery Gergiev, Sir Simon Rattle and Michael Tilson Thomas and has premiered many landmark compositions ranging from Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Django Bates to John Adams and James MacMillan. She has just made two appearances at the BBC Proms: in the Piano Concerto by the British composer Hugh Wood and Messiaen's Turangalila, conducted respectively by Ryan Wigglesworth and Vasily Petrenko, and made her debut at the Mostly Mozart Festival in Lincoln Center, New York in August 2012.
Known for her interpretations of Bach, she is currently performing a complete cycle of Mozart concertos. In 2010 Joanna MacGregor performed the complete Chopin Mazurkas for the composer’s bicentenary, which she has performed subsequently to critical acclaim.
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, and enjoys a close artistic partnership with Britten Sinfonia. This fifteen-year relationship continued last season with performances in Spain, Mexico, South America, Italy and the City of London Festival and most recently in May 2011 with the jazz trumpeter Arve Henriksen.
Amongst the many and varied artists with whom she has collaborated are jazz artist Moses Molelekwa, pop artist and tabla player Talvin Singh, Brian Eno, folk artist Kathryn Tickell, jazz saxophonist Andy Sheppard and Arabic singer and oud virtuoso Dhafer Youssef.
Multimedia is of great interest to Joanna MacGregor, and in 2003 she toured China with Crossborder; created with Jin Xing's Contemporary Dance Theatre of Shanghai, it combined Chinese traditional music with computer technology and film. For Bath International Music Festival 2007 she curated the installation On The Edge of Life, a multimedia collaboration between paediatricians, artists and musicians, examining premature birth. This is now an annual event, and in 2008 the series examined the impact of homelessness and in 2009 child human rights through the prism of fairytales with cultural historian Marina Warner. Deloitte Ignite 2010 at the Royal Opera House included many new commissions, including a year-long installation by the remarkable artist Alice Anderson.
As a recording artist Joanna MacGregor is a veteran of over 30 solo recordings, ranging from Bach, Scarlatti, Ravel and Debussy, to jazz and John Cage. Her own record label SoundCircus was founded in 1998 and has released many highly successful recordings including the Mercury prize-nominated Play (including music by Bach, Ligeti and Piazzolla) and Neural Circuits, with music by Messiaen, Arvo Pärt and Nitin Sawhney. Current releases include Sidewalk Dances – music by the New York street musician Moondog - and Deep River, music inspired by the Deep South, with saxophonist Andy Sheppard. In 2010“Live in Buenos Aires” and Bach’s Goldberg Variations, recorded at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, were released by Warner Classics and Jazz, now in partnership with the worldwide distribution of the SoundCircus label, followed by a 4-CD Messiaen set. Seven futher double CDs were released in 2011.
Joanna MacGregor is Professor of Performance at Liverpool Hope University, and a Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Art; she has received Honorary Fellowships from the Royal Academy of Music, Trinity College of Music and Murray Edwards College, Cambridge, as well as Honorary Doctorates from Bath University, Bath Spa University and the Open University. From 1997-2000 she was Professor of Music at Gresham College, London where she gave a series of public lectures. She was the subject of a South Bank show in 2002; and her ongoing series of music books, PianoWorld has been hailed as ‘a new series for the Millenium’. Joanna MacGregor was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s Jubilee Honours 2012.