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Joanna Wallfisch

“Ushering you into a magical sound world that references everything from The Third Stream stylings of Chick Corea to the songs of Kurt Weil...★★★★” - Jazzwise Magazine

About Me

Described by Downbeat Magazine as “an exquisite singer-songwriter”, London born Joanna Wallfisch's music conveys a beauty of a many-coloured sort that speaks to straight to the human condition. Her songs reveal personal truths about love, loss, adventure, home and hope. World Music Report described it as “quintessential heart-music by a vocalist who seems to have connected with the deepest recesses of her being emerging into brightness again with songs of haunting beauty.” ​ Joanna is a master in the art of live vocal looping and as a multi-instrumentalist plays baritone ukulele, piano, flute, Indian shruti box, kalimba and melodica. Her music defies genre classification as she effortlessly imbues her songs with nuances of jazz, classical, art-song, and folk, carrying her “clear-eyed poetry” (Boston Globe) and ”striking vocals” (Hothouse). Her songwriting extends beyond just lyrics and melody - Joanna also arranges for ensembles including string quartets, winds, a cappella voices and more. ​ Joanna's career has taken her around the globe. She first studied to be a painter at Central Saint Martins, London. This led her to Paris, where she sang on the bridges of the Seine with the “Rene Miller Wedding Band”. Following this formative time she did a masters in jazz at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. In 2012 she moved to New York City where she forged an indelible musical path, appearing and collaborating with musicians including Dan Tepfer, Wynton Marsalis, Kenny Werner, Sam Newsome, Lee Konitz, to name a few. She released her debut album, Wild Swan in 2011, featuring Joe Martin, Sam Newsome, Rob Garcia and Art Hirahara. In 2015 she signed with Sunnyside Records who released The Origin of Adjustable Things: an intimate duo project with pianist Dan Tepfer. As a follow up to this success she recorded Gardens In My Mind, her third album of self-penned songs and arrangements, featuring the award winning string ensemble The Sacconi Quartet, and Dan Tepfer on piano. In 2018 she self-released her fourth record Blood and Bone, which London Jazz said, “overflowed with creativity and musical resources.” 2019 marks the release of her fifth record entitled Far Away From Any Place Called Home. Joanna’s unique musical background shines through in her own compositional style, evoking her classical routes with her love of jazz, art-song, folk and pop, pushing boundaries of genre and stylistic expectations. Her musical heritage is something to behold. Raised by classical musician parents, Australian violinist Elizabeth Wallfisch and London born cellist Raphael Wallfisch, her grandmother Anita Lasker Wallfisch, now 94, survived Auschwitz because she played the cello in the camp’s women's orchestra. Post liberation she became a founding member of the English Chamber Orchestra. Brother Simon is a renowned cellist and opera singer, and eldest brother Benjamin is an Oscar and Grammy nominated film composer.

The Great Song Cycle: An adventurer at heart, in August 2016 Joanna embarked on a solo concert tour of the West Coast of the USA, by bicycle. Over the course of 1,154 miles she performed 16 solo shows between Portland and Los Angeles carrying her instruments, camping gear, and everything else she needed upon her bike. In her inimitable way she turned this once-in-a-lifetime experience into a 60-minute song-cycle, a recorded album and a memoir. She has performed the live iece in theatres including: National Sawdust, NYC, Boston Court Performing Arts Centre, LA, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, UK, Phoenix Theatre, UK and Joe's Pub, NYC. In June, 2019 Joanna celebrates the release of her fifth album Far Away From Any Place Called Home, and her debut memoir “The Great Song Cycle; Portland to Los Angeles on Two Wheels and a Song”, which is being published by Australian Publishers UWA Press. ​ Alongside Joanna’s musical career she is a passionate educator and takes her songwriting and teaching skills to outreach programs, schools and colleges. In 2016 she travelled to Mumbai to volunteer with charity organisation Songbound, an outreach initiative that brings the transformative power of music to some of India’s poorest and most marginalised children. She has also worked in Los Angeles with non-profit organisation Urban Voices Project, bringing music education and choir to theSkid Row Community. Joanna helped pilot an early childhood program named Family Sing, aimed at the children and parents who are experiencing homelessness. Of this work Joanna says, “bringing music to people in need keeps me grounded and inspires everything I do. It reminds me how powerful music is beyond the concert stage. Music saves lives. It saved my grandmother’s life, and I am compelled to bring my musical skills into a situation that can truly heal and inspire those who need it most, and to help them find a way through their darkest times through singing.”

NOTABLE APPEARANCES INCLUDE: National Concert Hall, Dublin IE | Bowraville Theatre, Woodford Folk Festival, MONA, Paris Cat, AUS | London Jazz Festival, UK | Boston Court Arts Performing Centre, LA | Pizza Express, UK | Salisbury International Festival, UK | The Sunflower Theatre, CO | National Sawdust, Joe's Pub, Smalls Jazz Club, NYC | The Blue Whale, LA | Sundance Film Festival, SLC | The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, UK | SING! A Capella Arts Festival, TOR | The Great Song Cycle Tour, Coming to a city near you!

My Jazz Story

I love jazz because... it is freedom I was first exposed to jazz... when I was 11 - to an album of Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass I met [musician name]... The best show I ever attended was... The first jazz record I bought was... My advice to new listeners... Or whatever else you have in mind.

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