Dr Joseph Spooner
BA Classics (Cantab), MA Classics (Cantab), MA Greek (UCL), PhD Greek (UCL), ARCM Performance Diploma, LRAM Teaching Diploma, DipRAM Performance Diploma (Royal Academy of Music)
Joseph Spooner’s performances and recordings have garnered high praise from audiences and critics alike. This is recognition not just of the passion and beauty of his playing, but of his success in rediscovering works previously abandoned through ignorance and changing tastes. Yet Joseph’s repertoire encompasses also mainstream classical and contemporary works, facilitating an exceptionally broad and flexible approach to programming.
Joseph Spooner came to the cello indirectly, via a degree in Classics at Cambridge, and a doctorate in Greek papyrology at London and Florence universities.
During subsequent postgraduate study at the Royal Academy of Music, he embraced traditional repertoire and developed a taste for contemporary and non-standard works. Since then, he has pursued a diverse career, principally as a soloist and chamber musician, and this work has taken him across the UK, from the Baltic to the Atlantic, and from the recording studio to France, Austria, the Netherlands, New York and Russia. As a soloist, there have been performances of familiar and less familiar concertos (including Dvořák, Leighton, Korngold, Shostakovitch and Moeran); broadcasts from his recordings on BBC Radio 3 and Radio New Zealand; and recital series featuring the complete works for the cello by Bach, Beethoven, Bloch, and the Mighty Handful.
Joseph has worked extensively as a chamber musician, currently with the Summerhayes Piano Trio, and was a founder member of the mixed ensemble Camarada. His work with contemporary-music ensembles (notably Continuum and New Music Players) has included performances at major festivals (among them Huddersfield), broadcasts (BBC Radio 3, Channel 4), several premieres, and recordings of works by Errollyn Wallen and Roger Smalley. Joseph’s deep delving into the cello repertoire has led to the rediscovery of unjustly neglected works. Audiences have greatly appreciated hearing this music, and critics have offered high praise for Joseph’s recordings, noting the initiative entailed and agreeing that these works – by composers as diverse as Alan Bush, Alexander Krein, Michael Balfe, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Edgar Bainton, Aaron Copland, George Dyson, and Percy Sherwood – were indeed worth rehabilitating.
Joseph was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in 2012, and in 2013 was made an honorary member of the International Felix Draeseke Society. He is proud to be the dedicatee of Alwynne Pritchard’s Danaides, Errollyn Wallen’s Spirit Symphony: Speed Dating for Two Orchestras, and Martin Read’s Troper Fragment. His instrument was made by Nicholas Vuillaume in c.1865
Fame's Great Trumpet (EM Records, EMR CD015, 2013), with David Owen Norris and Mark Wilde: including Norris’s Think Only This (tenor, cello and piano)
Percy Sherwood: Complete Works for Cello and Piano (Toccata, TOCC 0145, 2012), with David Owen Norris: Sonata no. 1, Sonata no. 2, Drei Stücke, Fünf kleine Stücke
Romantics in England: Music for Cello & Piano (Dutton, CDLX 7225, 2009), with Michael Jones and Kathryn Mosley: sonatas by Walter Macfarren, Michael Balfe and Edgar Bainton, the Variations by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, and works by Rosalind Ellicott and Roger Quilter
English Romantic Trios (Meridian, CDE 84478, 2005), with Adam Summerhayes and Catherine Summerhayes: piano trios by Thomas Dunhill, Alice Verne-Bredt, Ernest Austin and Rosalind Ellicott
George Dyson, Chamber Works (Dutton, CDLX 7173, 2004), with David Owen Norris: including the Cello Sonata
Songs from the Ghetto: Chamber Music by Alexander Krein (ASV, CD DCA 1154, 2003), with various artists: including Mélodie (cello and piano), Élégie (piano trio), Poème-Quatuor (string quartet), Esquisses Hébraïques (clarinet quintet)
Roger Smalley: Poles Apart and Other Chamber Works (NMC, D083, 2003), with members of Continuum: including the Piano Trio, Crepuscule (piano quartet), Poles Apart (ensemble)
Alan Bush, Chamber Music Volume 1 (Meridian, CDE 84458, 2002), with Adam and Catherine Summerhayes: including the Concert-Piece, Summer Valley and Two Easy Pieces (cello and piano), Three Concert Studies (piano trio)
Errollyn Wallen: The Girl in my Alphabet (Avie, 0006, 2002), with members of Continuum: including Are You Worried About the Rising Cost of Funerals? (voice and string quartet)
A Canticle of Man (ASC CS CD 46, 2002), with members of Camarada: including Alan Rawsthorne’s Oboe Quartet no. 1 and String Trio
Aaron Copland 1900 - 1990 (Meridian, CDE 84436, 1999), with Adam and Catherine Summerhayes: including Lament and Poème (cello and piano), Vitebsk (piano trio)
Editions of various works for cello and piano, published by Fountayne Editions: Anton Arensky (1861–1906): Petite Ballade, Danse Capricieuse, Op. 12 (FE 65); Anton Arensky (1861–1906): Quatre Morceaux, Op. 56 (FE 66); César Cui (1835–1918): Ten Works for Cello and Piano (FE 72); Michael W. Balfe (1808–70): Sonata for Cello and Piano (FE 56); Iosif Genishta (1795–1853): Sonata no. 1 Op. 6 for Piano and Cello (FE 130)
Dream of Germany: Music’s War-Torn World, a day of concerts curated with David Owen Norris, examining the cultural links lost with the outbreak of the Great War (presented in various forms in Carlisle, Oxford and London, 2014)