February 2016 saw Joe once again entertaining the Royal Family. The venue this time was St James’s Palace, playing through dinner and also accompanying the fabulous opera singer, and member of the Royal Opera House’s young artist programme, Lauren Fagan singing Puccini, Catalani and Gershwin.
Joe’s latest opera misdemeanour has been his collaboration with the versatile Celinde Schoenmaker currently dazzling audience’s in the West End’s production of Phantom of the Opera. Joe has been encouraging Celinde to unleash “her soul singer within” – not that she means much coaxing. Like the Phantom, Joe hopes to lure her, and as many other operatic voices as he can find, across to the dark side i.e. performing in cabaret!
On 18 October, (and again on 29 November) Joe will be resuming his jazz trio sessions for young musicians at the Blackheath Conservatoire. As usual Joe will be looking at “opposites” in performance and featuring proper grown-up jazz examples in attempt to encourage performers of any age to get the most out of their instruments and the best out of themselves. Tickets £10 and £5.
More here: http://www.conservatoire.org.uk/Events/Joe-Thompson-s-Primary-Jazz-194.aspx/
Joe was interviewed recently in a nice feature on the role of the piano player in The Musician magazine. You can read the whole thing here:
On 25 April 2016 Joe will be revisiting George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, this time with the swing band of his old school King Edward’s School (KES) Birmingham.
“To return to my home town and to perform Rhapsody in Blue in one of the most prestigious venues in the country will be an absolute treat” says Joe.
Unfortunately, since this is a school event to mark the retirement of the current chief master, tickets are not available from the Symphony Hall Box office.
The Blue Drawing Room as seen from Joe’s piano (image taken from Buckingham Palace’s website) was the stunning setting for a 70-strong dinner hosted by the Prince of Wales on June 11 2015. The event was to celebrate the Prince’s Drawing School and the school said they were glad to have an artist as well as a musician playing the piano.
The Prince’s Drawing school (Previously the Royal Drawing School) helps young artists overcome difficulties and develops their skills by giving them intensive drawing tuition. At the Palace dinner, Joe was most struck by a struggling art graduate who had been drawing on grease-proof paper behind a chip shop counter when he received the text that he had been accepted into the prince’s Drawing School. A life-changing moment.
A big thank you to Caroline Towning and Blacks of Dean Street for exhibiting and promoting my paintings throughout March and April 2015. Pictured above is Caroline who curated the exhibition with Joe’s ballerina painting hanging in the background. This painting sold while at Blacks.
Joe is pictured playing the Groucho Club’s Peter Blake piano in the Blackheath gallery on their opening night (May 1st 2015). A big thank you to the Groucho club for lending me their prized piano, signed by Sir Peter Blake, for the night. It stole the show!! Joe is hoping to exhibit his own work at the gallery later this year, so was very happy to play a part in their opening night.
Update: Joe is currently preparing new works for another exhibition at The Ivy in February 2016…
Tuesday 24th February 2015 was a big night and no mistake. Joe staged his first private view as painter at The Ivy Club’s Loft – a chance for members, guests and visitors to see 22 canvasses, fresh from his workshop.
Writing in the exhibition notes Joe spoke about how an already busy pianist became an even-busier painter:
“Painting the composers came from seeing many a dull black and white photo of them, or for the earlier ones, an over-serious portrait that had no bearing on their kaleidoscopic musical output. I set about painting them as I heard them and began work on Debussy, Beethoven, Mozart (for Classic FM), Elgar, Bach, Khachaturian.
When I paint jazz musician friends it feels very similar to playing music with them. It was a short step from jazz musicians to ballet dancers. There are visual parallels between men holding double basses and men holding dancers legs. My goal is to try to paint the music and the dance rather than just the musician or the dancer. That’s my holy grail. That is why I paint.”
Needless to say the show quickly became a party. In addition to over 150 guests, Jessie Buckley dropped by to sing a few numbers, joining Joe and a seemingly endless parade of London’s jazz greatest saxophonists, double bassists, pianists, and even a marimba player. What followed was a jazz jam watched over by paintings of so many other musicians – Claude Debussy, Miles Davis, Aram Khachaturian, Ibrahim Ferrer and Ludwig van Beethoven, to name but a few.
The exhibition continues until 28th February in The Loft, at the Ivy Club.
To buy a painting or commission one, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Full list of painting dimensions:
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