Born: May 11, 1966 Primary Instrument: Piano
Virtuoso pianist, bandleader, composer, arranger and broadcaster, Julian Joseph is the undisputed heir to the global house of jazz. Acclaimed by critics and audiences the world over, Julian never fails to inspire with his mastery of the keyboard, the versatility of his musicianship, and the seemingly limitless scope of his creative imagination. Always relaxed and self-assured, Julian is completely at home on any stage and in front of any band. His passion for the music is palpable, and his desire to communicate that passion compelling.
Over the past two decades Julian has developed and expanded his musical capabilities in a staggering array of formats. As a solo performer he holds audiences rapt from the minute he sits down at the piano, undaunted by either the vastness or intimacy of the platform. He is to be seen at all the major international festivals, has toured the globe with his Trio and Quartet, Electric Band and Forum Project band, directed and performed with his All-Star Big Band at some of the grandest venues in the UK to audiences of thousands and premiered two operas ~ Bridgetower (2007) and Shadowball (2010).
A feature of a Julian Joseph concert is the wide-ranging repertoire of original compositions and arrangements upon which he draws. Challenging and innovative, they are deeply rooted in the jazz tradition and, as with all great jazz music, combine his own unique voice with those of his predecessors.
Julian's musical ideas reflect the eclectic influence of all forms of music in the history of jazz: from classical to rock and pop, everything is relevant. Jazz has always been an inclusive art form, and Julian is particularly concerned that it never become exclusive, either in its construction or its execution.
Julian has also established himself as a jazz pioneer in the classical world. He was the first jazz musician to be invited to give a series of all-acoustic concerts at London's most prestigious classical venue, the Wigmore Hall. He has recorded duets by Milhaud, Stravinsky and Poulenc with Brazilian pianist Marcelo Bratke, combining them with his own arrangements of music by Duke Ellington, Chick Corea and Bill Evans, and collaborated with concert violinist Viktoria Mullova on her fusion project, 'Through the Looking Glass'. As a soloist, he has given recitals of Bartók and Prokofiev sonatas and performed Gershwin's Piano Concerto in F and the Rhapsody in Blue with some of the most renowned symphony orchestras in Europe. At the same time, Julian's own classically-oriented work never ventures too far away from his jazz focus. This is particularly evident in his writing for big band and strings, full symphony orchestra and opera, in which he demonstrates an exceptional ability to orchestrate complex textures of rhythm and sound without losing the essential groove that is at the heart of jazz. In this way he is ever pushing the boundaries, whilst building on the legacy of the great jazz composers ~ Duke Ellington, Gil Evans, Herbie Hancock and Jaco Pastorius.
Julian is greatly respected and much sought-after by other musicians in both the jazz and classical worlds. He has a generosity of spirit that is both infectious and reassuring. He brings to projects an enthusiasm and commitment that guarantees success. His collaborations are varied and dynamic, and his contribution to these projects always significant and highly valued.
Off the concert platform, Julian is in constant demand as a broadcaster and presenter. His weekly radio show, 'Jazz Legends' for BBC Radio 3, ran for six seasons, from April 2000 to February 2007. In 2007 he joined BBC Radio 3's 'Jazz Line-Up' team. He has made two series for Meridian TV in the UK, 'Jazz with Julian Joseph', and a jazz series for Sky TV's 'Artsworld' channel. He is the recipient of numerous music awards, including the 2006 Parliamentary Jazz Awards' Broadcaster of the Year, and was recently invited to become a 'Creative Industries Luminary for London' by Mayor Ken Livingstone.
Julian also plays an important role in jazz education. He was central to the launch of a jazz syllabus for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music ~ the UK's primary music examination board ~ which includes some of his own compositions and always keen to pass on his knowledge and skills to aspiring players, regularly builds into his touring schedule time to advise and nurture students of all ages. He is a patron of the Jazz Development Trust, Pembroke Music Academy, Band on the Wall and the Firebird Trust.
Julian Joseph has reached the peak of his profession but only just begun to demonstrate the scope of his potential. The multi-faceted dimensions of his artistry are plain. As a pianist he is unsurpassed, as a composer he has brought new vitality to the music, and as a descendant of the jazz greats, he is not only fulfilling their legacy, but promises to become a seminal figure for the twenty-first century.