BPO announces new Music Director

Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra (7th September 2020)


Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra announces new Music Director


Joanna MacGregor CBE, one of the world’s leading musicians, has been appointed as Music Director of the Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra as it approaches its centenary in 2025.   She becomes only the fourth person to hold the principal post in its history.

As a concert pianist, Joanna has performed in more than 80 countries with the world’s leading orchestras and with eminent conductors including Pierre Boulez, Colin Davis, Valery Gergiev and Simon Rattle.  Joanna has premiered many landmark works and is a regular broadcaster on TV and radio, making numerous appearances at the BBC Proms.

Joanna has been the Artistic Director of Dartington International Summer School and Festival, Bath International Festival, and of Deloitte Ignite at the Royal Opera House.  She has released over 40 solo recordings – many of them on her own award-winning record label SoundCircus – ranging from Chopin and Piazzolla to Bach and John Cage.  Her collaborative projects encompass jazz, film, visual art, contemporary dance and electronica.  Since 2015 she has chaired the Paul Hamlyn Composers Awards and was a 2019 Booker Prize Judge.  Known as an exceptional mover and shaker in the arts world, Joanna has a brilliant reputation for bringing outstanding classical music and artistic programmes to all audiences.  She was appointed CBE in 2019 for services to music.

On her appointment as Music Director, Joanna said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining this wonderful orchestra, who have been giving concerts for over 95 years.  I’m extremely excited to be part of their long, illustrious history, and to build audiences during this challenging time.”

Despite the Covid-19 situation currently seriously impacting the Arts, there is no stopping Joanna.  While the current orchestral season in Brighton has sadly had to be postponed, she has revealed that next season’s programme (2021/22) will include not only Mozart, Brahms, Elgar and Shostakovich but also film, folk, tango and jazz.  She is already planning a smaller series of chamber music concerts for 2020 as soon as performances can resume, and this Autumn launches BPO+, a new online series of ‘at home’ talks and recitals with leading musicians around the globe.

Andrea Cifelli, Director of the Brighton Philharmonic Board said:  “We’re so excited to have Joanna join us, as we plan for our centenary celebrations.  We may have had to postpone the 2020 programme, but it will be worth the wait.  The enforced ‘break’ has given us an opportunity to work with Joanna to develop creative new approaches to programming.  We already have incredibly loyal supporters, but turning to online platforms should also give us a chance to reach potential new audiences.”

On 11 September at 19.30 Joanna MacGregor appears on BBC4 introducing the BBC Proms from the Royal Albert Hall with Tom Service, for the broadcast of Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason’s Proms recital.

She will perform Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas live at Canterbury Festival, 22-25 October.