Joanna-MacGregorThe Hugh Wood piano concerto still suits MacGregor perfectly…her performance had drive, wit and glittering precision.

BBC Proms, The Guardian
An exceptional disc, both for the work itself (Lou Harrison Piano Concerto) and the remarkable performance….  MacGregor matches the music’s ebb and flow seamlessly, from the glittering shower of clusters in the Stampede to the intense introspection of the slow movement.
BBC Music Magazine 
This piece by the iconoclastic American composer Lou Harrison (CV includes forest fire-fighter, animal nurse and calligrapher) was written for the jazz pianist Keith Jarrett in 1983-85. It challenges any player¹s technique with its virtuosic demands. No one is better equipped to cope than Joanna MacGregor, who embraces the whirl of styles and influences (prairie, dance, Asian as well as Western classical and jazz) with grand passion and admirable precision. The first movement nods at Brahms and the Midwest. The second, entitled Stampede, scatters tone clusters like hailstones with a Latin beat; airy serenity takes over in the third movement and an intricate, featherweight canon dances through the last.

CD of the Week, The Observer 

Another welcome CD, this time of Hugh Wood’s recent Piano Concerto brilliantly played by the pianist for whom it was written, Joanna MacGregor. She was a student of Wood’s at Cambridge and the composer has tried to put something of her personality and musical attributes into the concerto. The extrovert character of the outer movement is, he says, a response to her platform manner and athletic technique while the more lyrical music reflects the gentler side of her personality. There are also jazzy elements deriving from the use of an old Nat King Cole number, Sweet Lorraine, which pervades the whole work. These may be odd confessions coming from a composer who is an unrepentant serialist, but behind the human face of his music beats a romantic heart….The concerto is in the classical three-movement form with a very beautiful slow movement, marked Adagio mesto, and a lively toccata-like finale which fairly zips along. While it is the remarkable pianism of Joanna MacGregor that catches the ear, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, under Andrew Davis, prove themselves to be able partners. Ultimately, though, it is the concerto itself that lingers in the mind.
Gramophone Magazine

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