Joanna Ward

Award: Develop Your Skills (Transmission)

Year: 2020

Genre: Experimental

Instrument/voice type: Composer

Location: London


Joanna Ward is a London-based composer, performer, and curator/producer, from Newcastle upon Tyne. She has recently started a Masters in Composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she learns with Cassandra Miller. She previously studied Music at Cambridge University. Joanna’s compositional practice ranges across genres, encompassing conventional forms/media as well as multimedia pieces in collaboration with creators from other artforms, and experimental electronic/ambient music. She is interested in collaged and collaborative sonic aesthetics, with her scores combining conventional notation with intimate, hand-drawn graphic elements, and her work is embedded in her deep love of pop music. Joanna’s approach is inherently political, with an overarching focus on how to compose in a way which is also engaged with contemporary feminist, queer, and decolonial thinking. As a performer, Joanna is especially interested in contemporary and experimental repertoires for solo voice, having given several recitals in the past year with a focus on contemporary works by women. She is also one half of the mermaid café, a creative performance collaboration duo (with Ruari Paterson-Achenbach) who improvise and devise the core of their delicate, ambient performances. They also commission new works and re-imagine existing ones, as well as curating events and collaborating with other musicians and artists.
Being awarded the Transmission Fund will make it possible fo me to attend the Darmstadt International Festival this year. I am at a stage in my career, as well as my creative development as both a composer and a performer/improviser, where I think attending Darmstadt - with its richness of musical happenings, across courses, lessons and performances - will be an invaluable opportunity.