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, the results of which appeared as a book on Homeric minor scholia. The Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation was kind enough to support his postgraduate study at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he embraced traditional repertoire, but also developed tastes 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 concert platform to the classroom, 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 concertos from Haydn and Dvorák to Leighton and Korngold, broadcasts from his recordings on BBC Radio 3 and Radio New Zealand, and recital series featuring the complete solo suites by Bach and Bloch, the complete music for cello and piano by the Mighty Handful, and the complete works of Beethoven for the instrument. As a chamber musician Joseph was a founder member of the mixed ensemble Camarada, and he subsequently worked regularly with a piano trio, a clarinet trio, and a string quartet.
Joseph's 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. Deep delving into neglected repertoire has led to the rediscovery of unjustly neglected works. Audiences have greatly appreciated hearing the music and critics have offered warm praise for Joseph's recordings of repertoire by Alan Bush, Alexander Krein, Michael Balfe, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Edgar Bainton, Aaron Copland, and George Dyson: 'Other cellists, please copy!' (International Record Review), 'all the expressive power needed' (Gramophone), 'a joy to listen to' (The Times). The initiative entailed in these recordings has also attracted attention: 'This is a fine and enterprising cello and piano recital that is worthy of wider notice from more than just the cello fraternity. The dedicated research and willingness to devote valuable time to mastering obscure repertoire, both of which underpin it, deserve a rich reward ...' (International Record Review).
Joseph was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in 2012. 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.
Joseph's instrument was made by Nicholas Vuillaume in c.1865.
Spooner's web site
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Last updated: 22 July 2012