Renowned pianist to perform in St Andrews

Monday 27 March 2023

One of the most brilliant and revered British pianists of her generation, Joanna MacGregor CBE, will perform a solo recital at the Laidlaw Music Centre at the University of St Andrews on Good Friday (7 April).

Joanna MacGregor’s Good Friday programme will include music by the twentieth-century Hungarian composer György Ligeti as well as Liszt’s tone poem Funérailles. Richard Wagner is represented by the Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde and, appropriately for the date, by his Good Friday Music from Parsifal.

The second half will consist of one of Franz Schubert’s three great late piano sonatas, in B-flat, D960.

On the Saturday morning (8 April), MacGregor will coach talented University piano students in a public masterclass at the Laidlaw Music Centre.

MacGregor, who combines her role as Head of Piano at the Royal Academy of Music in London with a career as a concert pianist, festival curator and conductor, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music by the University of St Andrews in June 2021.

Following performances on the world’s most prestigious stages, including the BBC Proms, Wigmore Hall, the Barbican, Sydney Opera House and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, this concert will mark her debut at the McPherson Recital Room at the Laidlaw.

Her extensive discography, largely on her own record label, includes the Mercury Prize-nominated collection of diverse 20th century piano repertoire Play and Bach’s Goldberg Variations, recorded at the Salzburg Mozarteum.

University Director of Music, Dr Michael Downes, says: “Joanna MacGregor is one of the most extraordinary and versatile musicians working anywhere in the world today. In addition to being one of the world’s leading pianists, her work as conductor, festival director, broadcaster, record producer, composer and teacher has transformed the public understanding of music.

“We were honoured to welcome Joanna into the St Andrews community as an Honorary Doctor of Music in November 2021, and we are thrilled that she has made time in her busy schedule to give what will be the most high-profile concert to date in our world-class McPherson Recital Room. Joanna’s programme weaves intriguing connections between composers as apparently diverse as Schubert and Ligeti, as well as presenting pieces by Liszt and Wagner that are particularly appropriate to Good Friday.

“Joanna is well-known as an inspiring teacher who is currently Dame Myra Hess Professor of Piano at London’s Royal Academy of Music, so we are very excited that she has agreed to stay on to work with three of our most talented student pianists. Her masterclass will take place at 10am on Saturday 8 April in the McPherson Recital Room and is open to the public without charge.”

The concert on Friday 7 April begins at 7.30pm and tickets are now on sale from the Byre Theatre website or Box Office on 01334 475000.

More information about Joanna MacGregor, including biography, performances and reviews, can be found online.

Tickets are available from the Byre Theatre website.

Recent reviews

“Joanna MacGregor, making her Chicago Symphony Orchestra debut, was just the sort of soloist this music needs – firm of rhythm, incisive of attack, as coolly commanding at the keyboard as Boulez was on the podium. A terrific performance all around.” Chicago Tribune

“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. But MacGregor’s verve, energy and astounding technique are always at the service of the music and never vice versa. Her ability to inhabit so many sound worlds with the same intensity and commitment is profoundly impressive – so why not flaunt it?” BBC Classical Review

“MacGregor’s sense of the arresting scene, and how to place it within the carnival canvas, is hard to define, yet it nonetheless shows true taste.” BBC Music Magazine

“MacGregor seems incapable of giving performances that are not at once extremely intelligent and entertaining…” The Sunday Times

“She is one of the most exciting and enterprising pianists of the moment.” The Observer

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.

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