Celebrated musician, Professor Joanna MacGregor CBE, delivers lecture at City, University of London explaining why collaboration is so important for young musicians

Published (Updated )

Marking the third instalment of the Distinguished Lecture Series, the Department of Music invited innovative solo pianist, Professor Joanna MacGregor, CBE to address an online audience.

Professor MacGregor, who is currently the Head of Piano at the Royal Academic of Music, has premiered many landmark works - from Harrison Birtwistle to John Adams and James MacMillan – and is a regular broadcaster, making numerous appearances at the BBC Proms.

She has performed with world leading orchestras in over eighty countries and released over 40 solo recordings – many of them on her own award-winning record label SoundCircus.

City, University of London: Department of Music 2020 Distinguished Lecture, Professor Joanna MacGregor CBE

Introduced by Dr Ian Pace, Head of the Department of Music, Professor MacGregor titled her talk ‘Pianists of the Future,’ focusing on how in the midst of a pandemic it is vital for academics to help prepare young pianists to be ready for the new contemporary world.

Speaking on the vital role that music academics play, Professor MacGregor said: “The most important thing we can do as teachers during this era of a pandemic is to help and support the careers of young musicians.

“We must play through live streams or to an audience of six, promote the work of other musicians and commission music for online shows or series.”

During the lecture, she performed her favourite pieces from composers including JS Bach, Thelonious Monk, Freya Waley-Cohen, Eleanor Alberga and more.

Inspiring the next generation of pianists, Professor MacGregor runs two annual piano festivals for young musicians. In her teaching, she encourages her students find new ways to collaborate with other musicians.

It is easy for musicians to think that they must be on their own – especially pianists who want to practise all the time, but we must try to work collaboratively. The landscape is tough for artists, but we must continue to create and curate opportunities for younger musicians.

– Professor Joanna MacGregor CBE

Echoing Professor MacGregor’s thoughts, Dr Pace said: “Despite the difficulties of the present time, music-making will continue in various forms and it is as important as ever for pianists and other musicians to study and train.

“It is also just as important for institutions like City and the Royal Academy of Music to support these musicians and encourage them to be creative in both their playing and approaches to their careers.”

For more information see the Department of Music.