"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 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. 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 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.

Recent and forthcoming seasons have included concertos with Philharmonia Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic (Ilan Volkov), BBC Symphony Orchestra (Sakari Oramo), Aurora Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia and Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie. Guy continues to play chamber music and recitals at prestigious venues and festivals across Europe including Wigmore Hall, Queen Elisabeth Hall, Louvre Museum, the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Three Choirs Festival and MusicFest Aberystwyth. He is also presenting programmes with Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Melvyn Tan. 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. He gave weekly outdoor impromptu recitals in his home village in Dorset, which was featured by BBC during the UK lockdown.

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

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 and forthcoming seasons have included 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. 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. He gave weekly outdoor impromptu recitals in his home village in Dorset, which was featured by the BBC during the UK lockdown.

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 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 2021

A 10TH ANNIVERSARY : WEDNESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER – SUNDAY 3 OCTOBER 2021

The Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary this autumn with five full days of concerts, masterclasses, talks, schools events and a family concert.

Artistic Director Guy Johnston is delighted to announce his programme for this special year looking back at the past 10 years whilst also celebrating the present and looking to the future with contemporary works and new commissions. The line up of performers features both regular Festival artists sitting alongside new additions to the rostra of international chamber musicians who come to visit Hatfield each year. Musically the Festival plans span the wealth of musical history connected with the House with performances of pieces from the archives right through to the present day with two new commissions specially written for this anniversary.

Guy comments:

“I am absolutely thrilled to announce the plans for our 10th anniversary year. I can’t wait to celebrate this momentous occasion for the Festival. The Festival has come such a long way over the last decade, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the wonderful administrators, board of trustees, sponsors, volunteers, friends of the Festival and audiences. We of course owe a huge debt of thanks to Lord and Lady Salisbury for continuing to open their doors and for enabling us to share music in their beautiful and historic home.  What started as a seed of an idea has grown beyond what I could have imagined back in 2011 with such an array of esteemed artists appearing and performing many memorable concerts during that time.”

The Festival opens on Wednesday 29 September with a piano quartet line-up of cellist Guy Johnston and Festival regulars Magnus Johnston  violin, Brett Dean  viola and Tom Poster piano. The programme includes works by Schumann, Brahms and is also as a platform for a world première of a cello sonata by Joseph Phibbs.

The other new commission in 2021, a solo cello suite written specially for Guy by Matthew Kaner, will be performed as part of a performance in the Armoury on Saturday 2 October. The juxtaposition of old and new will be very evident in this concert with this new piece alongside an organ recital performed by William Whitehead which explores Hatfield House’s musical archives.

The 2021 Festival resident musicians also include the Carducci Quartet, the Orsino Ensemble, featuring star wind players and Festival regulars flautist Adam Walker and oboist Nicholas Daniel. Another regular performer in Hatfield, clarinettist Julian Bliss, will appear in the 2021 Festival in his other guise as he brings his quintet for a Saturday evening of jazz in the Marble Hall.

Guest artists coming for the first time to Hatfield in 2021 include world-renowned but locally-based soprano Carolyn Sampson in a song recital accompanied by pianist Joseph Middleton and we are delighted to host a performance by IMS Prussia Cove musicians as part of their annual concert tour. On the final day of the Festival vocal ensemble VOCES8 will be joining the line-up, inspiring local young choral singers in a singing masterclass in the morning and performing as part of the Finale concert in the Old Palace. Not only will VOCES8 enjoy a solo spot displaying a huge range of vocal repertoire in this final concert, but they will be joining the Festival resident musicians for performances of Britten’s Rejoice is the Lamb and Lili Boulanger’s Vieille Prière Bouddhique.

Running alongside the public concerts there will be plenty of activity for local schoolchildren – to listen, take part and perform themselves – and on Saturday afternoon families are invited to come to experience Holst’s Planet Suite being wonderfully brought to life through storytelling and painting by artist, James Mayhew.

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

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

"Johnston seems to have it all" Review from recital in Atlanta

Guy performed the opening concert for the classical season at Music at St Luke's, Altanta with pianist Chiao-Wen Cheng.

Strad BBC Proms 2021 Review Round-up

Guy's BBC appearance in the BBC Proms 2021 is highlighted in Strad's review round up by Peter Quantrill (See here) "Johnston's relaxed and flexible phrasing"

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.

Contact

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Guy Johnston