Joanna Ward (b. 1998) is a composer, performer, researcher, and activist, from Newcastle upon Tyne. She is currently studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she learns with Amber Priestly and is working towards her Masters in Composition. She previously studied Music at Cambridge University, graduating in 2019.
Joanna’s compositional practice ranges across genres, encompassing conventional forms/media as well as cross-media collaboration. She is interested in static, ambient, collaged and circular sonic aesthetics, and her work is embedded in her deep love of pop music. Her approach is inherently political and informed by continual learning from research and activism, with an overarching focus on how to create music whilst engaged with contemporary feminist, decolonial, queer and crip thinking. Her scores centre whimsy and subjectivity, combining conventional notation with intimate, hand-drawn elements.
Musicians, ensembles, and arts organisations she has recently worked with include: • EXAUDI vocal ensemble • Mark Knoop • Musarc • the Gesualdo Six • London Contemporary Dance School students • ensemble recherche • the Royal Northern Sinfonia • Galvanize Ensemble (with Fretwork) • Psappha • the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain • Sound and Music • NMC Recordings • Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.
She has done substantial research with and around her composition work, manifesting recently in: • a seminar to the Guildhall School Composition Faculty, "Towards decolonising (my) compositional practice." • a presentation for the eavesdropping symposium 2019 titled "Ideological methodologies: political orientations in the meaning and practice of ‘new music’." [withdrawn due to the Covid-19 pandemic] • an upcoming article in Tempo new music journal "Decentring and dismantling: an exploration of how we might take a critical and radical approach to placing diversity at the centre of music tertiary education." • an appearance on Sound and Music's podcast series discussing the politics of taste with Susanna Eastburn.
As a performer, Joanna is interested in contemporary and experimental musics for voice, as well as ‘performance art’ oriented work. She is also one half of the mermaid café, a creative collaboration which explores ambient, experimental, improvisation and pop performance. They improvise and create new work for themselves to perform, commission new works, re-imagine existing ones, as well as curate events and collaborate with other musicians and artists.