Joanna MacGregor is one of the world’s most innovative musicians, appearing as a concert pianist, curator and collaborator. Head of Piano at the Royal Academy of Music and Professor of the University of London, Joanna MacGregor is also the Artistic Director of Dartington International Summer School & Festival.
As a solo artist Joanna has performed in over eighty countries and appeared with many eminent conductors – Pierre Boulez, Sir Colin Davis, Valery Gergiev, Sir Simon Rattle and Michael Tilson Thomas amongst them – and orchestras, including London Symphony and Sydney Symphony orchestras, Chicago, Melbourne and Oslo Philharmonic orchestras, the Berlin Symphony and Salzburg Camerata. 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.
Schumann called Chopin’s mazurkas “canons buried in flowers”, a synthesis of Polish folk culture, nostalgia, poetry and political defiance. Performed chronologically they portray a subtle and confessional diary of a transcendent, innovative composer.
A lifetime’s study for any pianist, Joanna MacGregor peels back the layers of one of the greatest collections of piano literature. For Joanna, this has been a very personal journey: “I’ve loved Chopin’s mazurkas since childhood; I can think of no other collection that reveals a composer so intimately. Soulful, witty, and often dramatic, they can be experienced in a multiplicity of ways: as a diary of Chopin’s life; as his laboratory for compositional ideas; as a testimony to Polish culture, and his elegant improvisation.”
Recorded in the Britten Theatre at Snape Maltings, Joanna will also perform them in their entirety at the Wigmore Hall on 12 May 2017.
“I’ve taken the simple decision to record and perform all fifty-seven in order of composition, and to follow the intense unfolding of a composer returning to the same place again and again: from Chopin’s first mazurka to his last.”
As a student, Joanna clearly recalls hearing Horowitz perform in London in 1982: “I slept outside the Royal Festival Hall to be sure of getting a ticket. Of all the pieces he played at his recital, the miraculous Op.17 No.4 is the most vivid memory. Chopin’s porous, unresolved fluidity in these works has inspired so pianists; his mazurkas a witness to human vulnerability and longing.”