Biography

Performer, recording artist and writer with plans to collaborate with violinist Fenella Humphreys in 2020, and to release a third volume of piano works by Sibelius in 2021.

Joseph Tong regularly commissions new music, in addition to teaching at Wells Cathedral School and acting as piano coordinator at Wells International Summer School.

A versatile and imaginative pianist, much in demand as a soloist, duo pianist and chamber musician, Joseph Tong has played at Wigmore Hall and gives regular recitals throughout the UK and abroad.

His recent Sibelius recording project has seen two CDs released on the Quartz label to widespread critical acclaim.

He regularly tours Finland and has played recitals at Sibelius’s home Ainola, the 2019 Korpo Sibelius Festival, the Sibelius Museum in Turku, Helsinki Music Centre (Camerata Hall) and Hämeenlinna Town Hall. He has recently given recitals at the Sendesaal in Bremen and St Blasien, Germany as well as in Spain.

Joseph studied with Hilary Coates at Wells Cathedral School and Christopher Elton at the Royal Academy of Music, after reading music at Christ’s College, Cambridge. He also studied privately with Piers Lane.

Broadcast appearances and recordings

Joseph Tong has broadcast for BBC Radio 3 ahead of his St John’s Smith Square all-Sibelius recital in London in 2015, marking the composer’s 150th anniversary. 

Other highlights have included recitals at the 2018 Presteigne Festival where he gave the World Première of a new work by Cydonie Banting alongside contemporary works by Huw Watkins and David Matthews, St David’s Hall Cardiff, St George’s Bristol, Fairfield Halls Croydon and the Jacqueline du Pré Hall in Oxford.

Joseph’s recent Schumann CD recorded at the Sendesaal in Bremen was Instrumental Choice in BBC Music Magazine with a double 5 star review and also drew praise in the Sunday Times.

Piano 4 Hands 

He has worked extensively in the piano duo Piano 4 Hands with the Japanese pianist Waka Hasegawa, in recitals at Wigmore Hall, performances at Bridgewater Hall Manchester, St George’s Bristol, The Lighthouse Poole and major UK festivals including Buxton, York, Guildford, Oundle and Presteigne.

The duo has also appeared at the Cheltenham Music Festival, co-commissioned new works by Dai Fujikura, Daniel Kidane and David Matthews, Nicola LeFanu, Rob Keeley, Edwin Roxburgh and the late John McCabe, giving their premieres at Wigmore Hall and the Purcell Room in London. Their latest project is a new commission from Edwin Roxburgh for the 2020-21 season.

Piano 4 Hands has made a series of critically acclaimed CD recordings on the Quartz label of Debussy, Schubert and John McCabe.

Chamber music

As a chamber musician, Joseph has taken part in concerts and study sessions with his brother Daniel Tong, the musicologist Richard Wigmore and violinist Sara Trickey in Oxford as part of the ongoing Music Discovery Live series.

He has a regular piano duet partnership with Daniel, which has appeared at the London Purcell Room in a performance of Schubert’s Fantasy in F minor and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.

Joseph has also been a regular performer at the Wye Valley Chamber Music Festival since its inception in 2000 and is a member of the New Street Ensemble with Marie Lloyd (clarinet), Simon Smith (violin) and Penny Driver (cello).

Music of Sibelius

As a result of their shared interest in Sibelius, Joseph has recently collaborated with the British violinist Fenella Humphreys on a recording for Resonus Classics in Cedars Hall, Wells followed by a series of recitals next year.

Teaching and Festivals

Joseph Tong was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM) in 2008 and is one of the senior piano tutors at Wells Cathedral School.

He is the founder and co-director of the Bristol International Piano Duo Festival (2008-2017), held biennially at St George’s Bristol and the University of Bristol.

He is currently a music adjudicator for the British and International Federation of Festivals. Joseph also holds teaching and accompaniment posts at two all-Steinway schools in London, and is regularly invited to adjudicate and give classes at conservatoires and junior colleges.

Future plans

Future projects include a collaboration with the Sibelius Museum in Turku on a new exhibition and CD recording, concerts with Piano 4 Hands and the Bath Camerata performing the Brahms German Requiem, and solo recitals in Germany and Finland. Joseph will be commissioning a new set of pieces from David Matthews as be performed alongside Sibelius’s ‘The Trees’ in 2021.