“… lively particularities rather than limp generalisations…” Gramophone

Notes upon Notes is run by the writer/editor Joanna Wyld, who writes programme and CD liner notes on all genres of music.

Joanna Wyld has written several hundred notes covering the spectrum of musical styles and repertoires, including: classical, pop, nostalgia, folk and music for children. Recent highlights include writing about Gity Razaz and her new commission, Mother, for the Last Night of the Proms, Joyce DiDonato’s ‘Favourite Things’ programme at Saffron Hall, and a recital to be given at the Southbank Centre by Isata Kanneh-Mason.

Notable commissions include:

  • Radu Lupu and the Philharmonia at the Southbank Centre
  • An article for the Royal Opera House’s production of The Monstrous Child
  • An article on music and war for the London Sinfonietta’s Remembrance concerts
  • Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony for the RLPO 175th Anniversary concerts
  • The UK premiere of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony orchestrated by Mahler
  • John Cage Night at the Queen Elizabeth Hall
  • BBC Proms Family Intro notes
  • BBC Radio 3 lunchtime concerts at LSO St Luke’s, including a series by Nicola Benedetti

Joanna Wyld was invited to curate a number of playlists for the classical streaming service IDAGIO including All That Jazz, East Meets West, and The Basics: an introduction to classical repertoire.

Joanna Wyld was also invited to make a Southbank Centre video introducing the music featured in ‘An Evening with Danielle de Niese’ at the QEH, for which Joanna also wrote the programme notes.

This led to the creation of a Notes upon Notes video in collaboration with Odradek Records about the Portuguese composer Luís Tinoco and his works for Drumming Grupo de Percussão:

Joanna wrote the libretto for Robert Hugill’s chamber opera, The Gardeners which was premiered at Conway Hall on 18 June 2019 and was performed again on 9 September 2019 at the Garden Museum. Conductor Will Vann described The Gardeners as “contemporary, relevant and hard-hitting, with a superb libretto by Joanna Wyld. The scoring is innovative, dynamic and flexible. This is an excellent new work that I hope will enter the modern opera repertory and receive many more performances.”

Press for The Gardeners:

“The libretto is by Joanna Wyld, with selected phrases adapted from A. E. Housman and Rabindranath Tagore. It is beautifully, artfully judged, and clearly set Hugill’s imagination alight… A beautiful piece, beautifully performed.” Seen and Heard International

“The music and Wyld’s libretto complement each other exceptionally well…” The Classical Source

“Reading Joanna Wyld’s prose libretto – which fluently incorporates selected phrases adapted from A.E. Housman and Rabindranath Tagore – I was reminded again of the poets’ voices which urge and enable the departed to carry their messages from the past to the present…” Opera Today

Other artists for whom Joanna Wyld has written include the BBC Orchestras, the Hallé, the LSO, RLPO, RPO, the Nash Ensemble, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Tamara Stefanovich, Barbara Bonney, Julia Fischer, Dame Felicity Lott, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Pascal Rogé, Stephen Fry, Joanna Lumley, Harry Enfield, Shirley Bassey and Bobby McFerrin.

Joanna was invited to fact-check the music book Playlist by pianist James Rhodes, and has conducted interviews with Elena Urioste & Tom Poster, Evelyn Glennie, Agata Zubel, Grégoire Pont, Viktoria Mullova, Lisa Batiashvili, Julian Marshall, Stephen Barlow, and the author Michael Morpurgo (Children’s Laureate 2003–5), who described her work as “wonderful.”

Joanna won the 2014 Oxford University Press spoof Grove Dictionary article competition, also winning the second and third runner-up places. She was commended by the judges for her “inspired” entries, and for making them “laugh out loud”. She has also been long-listed for the Live Canon 2019 International Poetry Competition.

Concerts for which Joanna has written programme notes can be found here.

Joanna has worked as Programmes Editor for the Philharmonia Orchestra, and during summer 2023 she was one of the Edinburgh International Festival’s commissioning editors. She is now Publications Officer at the Royal College of Music.

Notes upon Notes ®