"… playing with an aplomb and rapport, a definition and vitality, an insight and ardour that many cellists better known and more experienced would do well to honour."
During the COVID-19 lockdown in the UK, Joy has been arranging and performing pieces for cello ensemble. Repertoire has stretched from Bach, through classics such as the Barber Adagio and Elgar's Nimrod to the Beatles, Queen and the themetune for BBC Test Match Special.
Joy is delighted to have been awarded the post of Composer in Residence at Cambridge University Music Society for the 2016-17 season. Details of new commissions and upcoming performances will be available shortly.
The Russian Connections Tour reached its conclusion at the start of this week at London's Kings Place. We visited many places on this tour, some familiar, some quite new, from the Leipzig Gewandhaus to charming smaller venues tucked away in the most unexpected locations.
More details and stories from the Tour can be found at my blog.
In a tour that took us to venues from Edinburgh (Queen's Hall), as far as Leipzig (Gewandhaus) and back to London (Southbank Centre), James Lisney and I have performed Beethoven sonatas over eighty times this autumn 2014. They say Beethoven is good for your health, so we must be in top condition!
The sold-out concert at the Purcell Room in London was a particular personal highlight, as it is one of my favourite halls. This tour has reinforced my belief that the five Beethoven cello sonatas are a wonderful journey when experienced in one concert and I cannot wait to come back to them!
Click here for a review of the London concert by Seen and Heard International.
This November, the Arditti Quartet performed my most recent composition 'Apparitions' at a festival in Cambridge to celebrate the eightieth birthday of Sir Harrison Birtwistle.
Please click here to listen to a recording of the world premiere.
On 2nd March, the Arbury Trio will be performing my recent composition for piano trio, Atomos, at the recital series at Madingley Hall near Cambridge.
The concert will be completed by Beethoven's Ghost Trio, Opus 70.
Click here to book tickets.
In an unusual programme, James Lisney and I performed a programme of three large works from the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. In an age when contemporary music is often met with suspicion I find it particularly exciting when I manage to communicate my love for this music with the audience and lead them through its new sounds.
Jan Vriend's Anatomy of Passion (2004), though complex and full of exotic sounds and colours, is written in a language most akin to the composer's great inspirations: Beethoven, Chopin and Debussy. Anatomy is epic, but also charismatic; complex, but also crystal clear - indeed the pianist is instructed to perform the music with 'Mozartean clarity'.
Roger Jones of Seen and Heard International wrote the following:
This recital proved both timely and challenging. It was timely in that we had the opportunity to hear pianist James Lisney play a work by Sir John Tavener on the eve of the composer’s funeral in Winchester Cathedral... The recital also featured music by Benjamin Britten within a week of the 100th anniversary of his death. Joy Lisney is an accomplished musician in her own right who brought out the angst and distinctly Russian elements of this work [the Third Solo Suite] (dedicated to Rostopovich) with great conviction.
Music does not come to a halt with the death of major composer and it was good to have a living composer, Jan Vriend, in the audience to hear both Lisneys premiere his work Anatomy of Passion. This is a wide-ranging work by Vriend (a Dutchman resident in the UK) calling for considerable virtuosity on the part of the performers. It was impossible not to be caught up with the scope of the work, the boldness of Vriend’s concepts and the extraordinary sounds he commanded from both piano and cello.
Upcoming performances of Anatomy of Passion:
2nd March - Hindhead Music Centre, Surrey (01428604941)
7th March - St Nicholas Church, Brighton
10th March - West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge
11th March - Holywell Music Room, Oxford
12th March - Leighton House Gallery, London
On Saturday 18th January, I am performing the Walton concerto with the Sinfonia of Cambridge on their home turf at West Road Concert Hall, a concert highlighted this morning on BBC Radio 3's 'Essential Classics' programme.
The presenter Rob Cowan chose a wonderful recording of Gregor Piatigorsky performing the concerto which was written for him.
Walton's relationship with Piatigorsky is often overshadowed by the particularly prolific partnership of Benjamin Britten and Mstistlav Rostropovich, but like Britten's Cello Symphony, Walton's concerto succeeds in absorbing typically Russian passion into an English idiom - two pieces of evidence that music really can break boundaries, even during the icy political atmosphere of the Cold War.
Tickets for the concert are available here or on 0845 6801926.
Jan Vriend's 75th Birthday concert will now be held on 14th December in the glorious surroundings of Westonbirt School, near Tetbury in Gloucestershire.
Welcome to my new website - I hope you enjoy exploring it!
On 19th September, my latest piece Sea Interlude was premiered at the Parish Church of St Bartholomew, Orford. This is a beautiful building with a special place in the recent history of British music. A regular Aldeburgh Festival venue, this church was the location for the premieres of several of Benjamin Britten's church parables, a connection immortalised in in a large stone plaque on the church's floor.
Sea Interlude was commissioned by Touching the Tide, an organisation dedicated to the protection of Suffolk's coastline, for this special concert to commemorate the Orford Lighthouse.
Click here to listen to the performance on Soundcloud.