Guy JohnsTon, Cello
Guy Johnston is one of the most exciting and versatile British cellists of his generation. Born into a musical family, Guy joined his brothers in the world-renowned choir of King's College, Cambridge, where he recorded the famous carol Once in Royal David's City, under Stephen Cleobury. He went on to achieve important early successes through the BBC Young Musician of the Year title, the Guilhermina Suggia Gift, the Shell London Symphony Orchestra Gerald MacDonald Award and receiving a Classical Brit Award at the Royal Albert Hall. His mentors have included Steven Doane, Ralph Kirshbaum, Bernard Greenhouse, Steven Isserlis and David Waterman.
He has made many important debuts including at the First Night of the BBC Proms playing the Elgar Cello Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra/Slatkin, the Brahms Double Concerto in the Philharmonie with the DSO Berlin/Valchua, Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations with the St Petersburg State Capella Orchestra/Dmitriev in St Petersburg, Elgar Cello Concerto with the Osaka Philharmonic/Otaka in Tokyo, and the Schumann Concerto in the Barbican Centre with the English Chamber Orchestra/Tilbrook. Other collaborations in the UK have included ‘Don Quixote’ with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain/Tortelier, the Walton Cello Concerto with the BBC Philharmonic/Tortelier, Dvorak Concerto with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Seal, Britten’s Cello Symphony with the Northern Sinfonia/Ticiatti, and Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 2 with the RTE National Orchestra/Altschuler in Dublin.
In recent seasons Guy has worked on an education project with the Wigmore Hall, where he performs regularly. He was Principal Guest Cello of the Australian Chamber Orchestra on tour in Australia and Guest Principal Cello of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. Concerto performances have included the Elgar Cello Concerto with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Michael Seal, Tchaikovsky’s ‘Rococo Variations’ with the Royal Northern Sinfonia at the Sage, Gateshead, the Elgar Cello Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Alexander Shelley at Cadogan Hall and in the St Magnus Festival with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Sian Edwards, and works by Tavener and MacMillan with the Britten Sinfonia in King’s College, Cambridge, among others. More recently he has performed the Elgar Concerto with Sir Roger Norrington, Shostakovich’s 1st Cello Concerto with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Rumon Gamba, the Walton Cello Concerto with the BBC Philharmonic and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestras, both conducted by John Wilson. Future performances include concerti with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir John Tavener’s ‘The Protecting Veil’ with BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Concert Orchestra and the Ulster Orchestra and a BBC Proms commission.
A founding member of the Aronowitz Ensemble, Guy is an enthusiastic chamber musician and has enjoyed appearances abroad at the Delft, Moritzburg, Spoleto, Gaia and Bad Kissingen Festivals as well as Cheltenham, Bath, and City of London Festivals at home with numerous musicians including Alison Balsom, Janine Janssen, Lawrence Power, Anthony Marwood, and with the Belcea, Endellion and Navarra String Quartets. Guy is also the founding Artistic Director of the Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival.
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. Guy is a patron of several charities which promote music education with schoolchildren and young people including Music First, and he also works in collaboration with the Musicians' Benevolent Fund. He is a Professor of Cello at the Royal Academy of Music.
Guy’s debut recital CD on Orchid Classics was released to widespread critical acclaim. The disc includes works by Bridge, Britten, and a new work by Mark Anthony Turnage with pianist, Kathryn Stott. The New York Times review of this disc refers to 'Mr. Johnston's burnished and varied sound...'. Other recordings include concertos by David Matthews and Edward Gregson for Chandos with the BBC Philharmonic/Gamba and BBC Concert Orchestra/Tovey. Recent releases include the Moeran Cello Concerto with the Ulster Orchestra/JoAnn Falletta, two works by Frederic d'Erlanger – Ballade and Andante Symphonique with the BBC Concert Orchestra/Wildner and David Matthews’ imagining of Vaughan Williams’ unfinished cello concerto Dark Pastoral with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Martin Yates. These recent recordings of relatively unknown cello works have been overwhelming well-received in the press; ‘Gramophone’ described Guy as 'an impeccable soloist' and ‘BBC Music Magazine’ observed: 'Guy Johnston's playing is searchingly beautiful and accurate'. Guy plays a 1714 David Tecchler cello.