Joanna Ward is a composer, pianist and choral singer from Newcastle upon Tyne, currently reading undergraduate Music at at Jesus College, Cambridge. She began composing through taking lessons with Dr Chris Randall at Sage Gateshead's Centre for Advanced Training, and now studies in Cambridge with Darren Bloom.
Her compositional process is often a response to a stimulus which engages and moves her; this could be anything from prose, to found sounds or others' music, to current affairs in the wider world or her own life. This means that her music is often an exploration of a personal response to something external. The concept of 'beautiful' sounds in a contemporary context is something which she often considers, however she sees no need for the music she writes to fit within any given stylistic parameters. She is also interested in how we can break with conventions in and limitations to writing, and also in questioning how far this is necessary or important and therefore thinks about and experiments the intrinsic limitations of conventional notation, the issues of tradition in the form of instrumentation, and the use of electronics.
Achievements thus far include being selected to be a composer with the NYOGB in 2016, resulting in various performance opportunities, workshops with the orchestra, and intensive tuition from professional composers; successfully premiering several works at Sage Gateshead, including a Dream in Winter, a piece she was commissioned to write for their Youth Orchestra, Young Sinfonia; winning the Gesualdo Six's Composition Competition 2016, resulting in her work For a Number of Coins being performed at St John's Smith Square and on tour around the country; commissions from the St Andrews Voices Festival 2016, Cambridge Chorale, St Salvator's Chapel Choir and the Oxfordshire Festival Orchestra Chamber Series; her work being workshopped by professional ensembles such as the Royal Northern Sinfonia and Voces8; receiving an honourable mention for her entry to the Frost School of Music International Composition Competition.
Other musical interests include playing the piano, both giving solo performances and playing as a part of a piano trio, and singing, in the Jesus College Choir, the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, and whatever opera choruses she can get in to. She works in front of house at Sage Gateshead, which exposes her to a wide range of performance arts, and her interests in photography, literature, as well as keen engagement with political issues, compliment her composing and also inevitably affect her creative processes.