"Guy Johnston gave a lucid performance that was coloured equally with passion and intensity"

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Guy Johnston is one of the most exciting British cellists of his generation. His early successes included winning the BBC Young Musician of the Year, the Shell London Symphony Orchestra Gerald MacDonald Award and a Classical Brit. He has performed with many leading international orchestras including the London Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, NHK Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony, Britten Sinfonia, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, Moscow Philharmonic and St Petersburg Symphony under conductors such as Illan Volkov, Sakari Oramo, Vassily Sinaisky, Yuri Simonov, Alexander Dmitriev, Sir Roger Norrington, Robin Ticciati, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Sir Andrew Davis, Leonard Slatkin, Daniele Gatti.

Recent seasons have included a BBC Proms with BBC National Orchestra of Wales, concertos with Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestra of Opera North, BBC Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Aurora Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia and Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie. His upcoming highlights for the 2022/23 season are Dobrinka Tabakova’s Cello Concerto with The Hallé, Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme with Orchestra of The Swan and festival appearances at Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival, Thaxted, Killaloe and Winchfield.

Guy continues to play chamber music and recitals at prestigious venues and festivals across Europe including Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Louvre Museum, the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Moritzburg Festival, Three Choirs Festival and MusicFest Aberystwyth, collaborating with instrumentalists such as Melvyn Tan, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Janine Jansen, Lawrence Power, Anthony Marwood and Brett Dean. Guy was privileged to perform as part of the Wigmore Hall and BBC Radio 3 special series of concerts, livestreamed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A prolific recording artist, Guy’s recent recordings include Howells’ Cello Concerto with Britten Sinfonia (a piece he also gave the premiere of) and a celebration disc of the tricentenary of his David Tecchler cello, collaborating with the acclaimed Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, where the cello was made. The 2019 season saw the release of his recording Themes and Variations with Tom Poster, comprising works by Beethoven, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Rachmaninov, MacMillan, Fauré and Martinu.

Guy is a passionate advocate for contemporary composers regular commissioning, performing and recording new works. He gave the premiere of Charlotte Bray’s ‘Falling in the Fire’ at the BBC Proms in 2015 and Emma Ruth Richards ‘Until a Reservoir no longer remains’ (with Sheku Kanneh-Mason). He has recently commissioned works by composers such as David Matthews, Mark Simpson, Joseph Phibbs and Matthew Kaner.

In addition to a busy and versatile career as an international soloist, chamber musician and guest principal, Guy is an inspiring leader of young musicians as a patron of several charities which promote music education for school children and young people including Music First and Future Talent. He is also a board member of the Pierre Fournier Award for young cellists.

Guy is Artistic Director of the Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival and a founder member of the award-winning Aronowitz Ensemble. He is Associate Professor of Cello at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York and a guest Professor of Cello at the Royal Academy of Music, where he was awarded an Hon. ARAM in 2015.

Guy Johnston plays the 1692 Antonio Stradivari cello known as the “Segelman, ex Hart” kindly loaned to him through the Beare’s International Violin Society by a generous patron.


Guy supports a number of charities and has performed fundraising concerts for The Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust, Dogs for the Disabled, CLIC Sargent and Macmillan Cancer charities. Read More


Guy supports a number of charities and has performed fundraising concerts for The Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust, Dogs for the Disabled, CLIC Sargent and Macmillan Cancer charities.

In addition, Guy is extremely honoured to be a Patron and Trustee of:

  • Pierre Fournier Award
  • Future Talent
  • Music First/National Orchestra for All
  • Kampala Music School
  • Niemann Pick Disease Group UK
Future Talent

Future Talent gives financial awards and guidance to young musicians who are clearly demonstrating outstanding musical ability or potential, but do not have the financial means to reach their goal.

Guy first became involved with the Charity after meeting the Duchess of Kent, Founder and Trustee of the Charity, in 2000. He was particularly touched that the Charity allowed children, who would not otherwise have the opportunity to pursue musical dreams, to experience music and express themselves in music for the first time.

Since then, Guy has performed a number of concerts to raise money and the profile of the Charity. More information can be found at www.futuretalent.org

Niemann-Pick Disease Group UK

The NPDG (UK) was established over 20 years ago to help provide support and information to families caring for those with Nieman-Pick Disease. The charity also aims to raise awareness of the disease and promote research into the cause and possible treatments. The Group has to date raised over £1,000,000 for this cause.

This rare disease causes brain degeneration, learning difficulties, problems with muscle co-ordination and severe feeding, swallowing and speaking difficulties. Guy became aware of the disease and charity when, in 2000, he met Tony Jellings (Head of Fund Raising), whose daughter very sadly suffers from the disease. Brain injury and degeneration issues are important to Guy. When Guy was 16, his eldest brother Rupert was involved in a car accident leaving him brain damaged and cutting short his promising career as a French Horn player.

Guy performs a concert annually to raise money for the NPDG (UK), and more information on this charity can be found at www.niemannpick.org.uk

Hatfield House
Chamber Music

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Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival 2021


Artistic Director Guy Johnston announces the 11th annual Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival, A World of Music, drawing together musicians from around the globe to the historic rooms of Hatfield House, the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth I.

The Festival features world premieres including a new Flute Quartet by Robin Holloway, and chamber works by Joseph Phibbs, Shruthi Rajasekar and Ivan Mosley in a diverse programme including contemporary chamber works from around the world that this year celebrates Gandhi Day (2 October), John Dowland’s musical connections to the House, and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Concerts predominantly take place in the House’s striking Marble Hall, home to the famous Rainbow Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, moving to the Old Palace for the Finale Concert.

South American bandoneon player JP Jofre, Indian veena player Nirmala Rajasekar and Mexican guitarist Morgan Szymanski join esteemed chamber musicians Mishka Rushdie Momen, Adam Walker, Julian Bliss, Kathryn Stott, Mark Padmore and Guy Johnston across the long weekend, with featured ensembles the United Strings of Europe, ORA Singers and music director Suzi Digby OBE, and The Lodestar Trio with UK’s own Max Baillie.

Guy Johnston commented:
“Each year is unique at the Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival, and our 2022 theme, A World of Music, is no exception. With musicians gathering from around the globe – including Argentina, Mexico, India and Sweden – we offer a whole range of sound worlds and influences. It’s hard to imagine a more diverse programme and, with our Artists in Residence, I am excited to offer such an unprecedented variety of music.”

For further information see: https://hatfieldhousemusicfestival.org.uk/

Guy Johnston



  • 2017

My cello was made in Rome in 1714 by David Tecchler. 300 years on, I decided to mark this special anniversary by commissioning 3 new works as gifts for the cello and to take the cello back home all these years later.

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News & Reviews

New Solo Suite by Matthew Kaner out now on Delphian Records

I commissioned the wonderful Matthew Kaner to write a new Solo Suite during lockdown, which was premiered at the Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival soon after and now recorded on Delphian Records.

Review: Let’s Get Classical: discover a love for classical music watching the Hallé Orchestra

A young reviewer went to see a Hallé concert at The Bridgewater Hall for the first time - this is what she thought of her first experience of a full symphony orchestra
  Read full review here.  


Jane Cowan Remembered, Royal Academy of Music 26/2/17

Jane Cowan Remembered, Royal Academy of Music 26/2/17

I’ve come to know Jane through the stories I’ve heard. My Uncle use to go to the cello centre here in London and I was fortunate enough to study with a number of her students including Nicholas Jones, who is sorry not to be here today, Steven Doane, David Waterman and Steven Isserlis. All of them are sitting on my shoulders here at the Academy where I have the honour of teaching a vibrant class of cellists – Joel was playing in the ensemble just now – and I like to think that Jane’s influence continues to live on from the wisdom I have picked up along the way through these extraordinary people. If they are anything to go by, Jane clearly must have been a one off! I was having dinner with Steve and David the other night and we were considering the order of events for today. The stories of Jane were out in all their glory – Steve talks of Jane as a kind of saviour to him during a crossroads in his latter student years and David remembers one of his first experiences in Scotland when Jane apparently shrieked, “Fake!” and “Boring!” at him. If anything sounded unnatural, there were consequences! But these stories, and there are many more that we can look forward to hearing in a moment, also helped me to make sense of some experiences during Steven’s classes at IMS Prussia Cove. As a young aspiring cellist keen to make an impression on my childhood idol, I would often take criticism deeply personally particularly in front of peers who would be watching. “Why do you do that?” “What does it say in the score?” “Vibrato should not be automatic!” “Relax!” and one of the biggest insults of all, and similar to Jane’s outbursts, “Cellist!” In fact, it was not necessarily an attack on me, but rather more about a desire to serve the music first. It was about getting beyond ones instrument in search of the essence of the music and not just about playing the cello. All of these formative experiences studying with Jane’s protégés makes me realise what an impact she had on all their lives and that her influence continues to shine through them and all those for whom her passion, uniqueness and, dare I say it, eccentricities have rubbed off on. Steve, today is an inspired idea and as always the London Cello Society and the Royal Academy have been so enthusiastic in their willingness to make such an event happen. Bringing everyone together in this way to reminisce and share these moments with all of us makes it a particularly special occasion, and so without further ado I’d like to invite our panel of past students to the stage to share their memories of Jane with us.


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