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

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Biography

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, Ulster Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, NHK Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony, Britten Sinfonia, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de Sao Paulo, Moscow Philharmonic and St Petersburg Symphony. Read Complete Biography

Biography

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, Ulster Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, NHK Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony, Britten Sinfonia, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Orquestra Sinfonica do Estado de Sao Paulo, Moscow Philharmonic and St Petersburg Symphony.

Recent and forthcoming seasons have included concertos with BBC Philharmonic (Ilan Volkov), BBC Symphony Orchestra (Sakari Oramo), Philharmonia, Aurora Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia and Rheinische Philharmonie. Guy continues to play chamber music and recitals at prestigious venues such as Wigmore Hall, Queen Elisabeth Hall, Louvre Museum and the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory and in festivals across Europe and is presenting programmes with Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Melvyn Tan. He was privileged to perform as part of the Wigmore Hall and 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 Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, where the cello was made. The 2018/19 season saw the release of his recording Themes and Variations with Tom Poster, comprising works by Beethoven, Grieg, Chopin, MacMillan, Schumann 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 Richard’s ‘Until a Reservoir no longer remains’ with Sheku Kanneh-Mason at the Southbank Centre in 2020. He has recently commissioned works by composers such as David Matthews, Mark Simpson and Joseph Phibbs.

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 a board member of the Pierre Fournier Award for young cellists.

He 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 plays a 1714 David Tecchler cello, generously on loan from the Godlee-Tecchler Trust which is administered by The Royal Society of Musicians.

Full Biography to download

 

 

Charity

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

Charity

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
Festival

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Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival 2020

Guy Johnston announces the 9th Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival will take place online with behind-the-scenes tours by Lord Salisbury.

Concerts will be premiered free on the Festival’s YouTube channel
Fridays 11, 18, 25 September & 2 October 2020

Guy Johnston Artistic Director, cello
Melvyn Tan piano
Iestyn Davies countertenor
Elizabeth Kenny lute
William Whitehead organ
Katherine Broderick soprano
Kathryn Stott piano
Navarra Quartet
Julian Bliss clarinet

Filming of private concerts at Hatfield House will take place in late July 2020.

Artistic Director Guy Johnston announces the 9th annual Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival, with four chamber concerts to be made available as free online streams. The private concerts will be filmed in late July in the historic rooms of Hatfield House, and will premiere on the Festival’s YouTube channel on Friday evenings during September, with forewords by Lord Salisbury.

Each concert will offer a rich cultural feast with programmes augmented by exclusive interviews with artists, curators, historians, and the Salisbury family who have owned Hatfield House since 1607. While maintaining local support, filming opens the Festival up to a new audience worldwide for a truly unique experience, going behind the scenes at one of Britain’s most celebrated historic houses, the childhood home of Elizabeth I.

Artistic Director Guy Johnston has devised a stimulating programme spanning 400 years from John Dowland, who appears in the House’s archives, to the world premiere of a new work by composer Matthew Kaner. The repertoire for each concert will be introduced by Stephen Johnson.

Guy Johnston

 

Projects

  • 2017
    #tecchler300

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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Press

News & Reviews

Guy Live In The Woods

https://youtu.be/Hi-TgNdtaDI Guy was joined by Lydia Lowndes to perform this magical rendition of The Swan by Saint Saens in the magical Minterne Gardens for Live In The Woods.

Guy's thoughts on Bach D minor Courante on Chamber Studio

Following a recent online discussion with Steven Isserlis about recordings of the Bach D Minor Courante, Guy shares his experiences with Chamber Studio.

Blog

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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Guy Johnston