“A truly beautiful listen from start to finish” - Pop Matters
“Bold, dramatic, powerful” - Jazz Times
“Ushering you into a magical sound world that references everything from The Third Stream stylings of Chick Corea to the songs of Kurt Weil...★★★★” - Jazzwise
“Sublime voice... truly unique performance” - The Telegraph
London born vocalist-composer, multi-instrumentalist, author and painter, Joanna Wallfisch heralds from generations of professional musicians.
However, music was not always simply a focus of work in her family, but of survival. Her grandmother, Anita Lasker Wallfisch, now 98, survived Auschwitz Birkenau as she was invited by conductor Alma Rose to play the cello in the camp orchestra (a band that entertained the Nazis in exchange for life). Post liberation Anita became a founding member of the English Chamber Orchestra. Joanna's brother Simon is a renowned cellist and opera singer, and her eldest brother Benjamin is an Oscar and Grammy nominated film composer. Her parents, Elizabeth and Raphael, are concert violinist and cellist respectively.
Since 2011 Joanna has released six albums of original music, has featured on various film soundtracks, and appears on four tracks of the 2021 chart topping record Dawn Fm, by The Weeknd.
Music and creativity have been the through line of the Wallfisch family, and integral to Joanna's life and career. World Music Report describes Joanna's songs as "quintessential heart-music by a vocalist who seems to have connected with the deepest recesses of her being emerging into brightness again with songs of haunting beauty.” Her music defies genre classification as she effortlessly imbues her songs with nuances of jazz, classical, art-song, and folk, carrying her "clear-eyed poetry" (Boston Globe) and "striking vocals" (Hothouse). Joanna’s unique musical background shines through in her own compositional style, evoking her classical routes with her love of jazz, art-song, folk and pop, pushing boundaries of genre and stylistic expectations.
Joanna is master in the art of live vocal looping, and plays the guitar, ukulele, charango, piano and flute. She composes for ensembles including string quartets, woodwinds, and choir. In the summer of 2023 Joanna's piece "Uprise Skyward" is being premiered by the Laude Ensemble at First Congregational Church, Los Angeles, as part of the NEO Voice Festival. In April 2023 she performed in a brand new opera by Olan Jones with Overtone Industries at USC.
Joanna’s gift for music encompasses her passion for both performance and for education. She strives to helps others, promoting messages of peace and community, healing and equality through the arts, via education and outreach programs.
Currently residing in Los Angeles, Joanna sings with the Laude Ensemble, is on songwriting faculty at Los Angeles College of Music, works regularly as a session vocalist, is an early childhood music educator for non-profit Urban Voices Project and owns her own company, Little Whale Music. In August 2023 she her sixth record is out on Galileo Music.
Joanna also recently became a mother - her greatest achievement yet.
Joanna's music and art has taken her around the globe. She first studied to be a painter at Central Saint Martins, London. In 2008 she lived in Paris for a formative and pivotal semester, where she fell in with a jazz band, busking along the Seine. There Joanna realised her true passion was sharing music with strangers, transforming tired commuters to joyful humans through song. Following this she completed a masters program in jazz vocals at Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
In 2012 she moved to New York City where she forged an indelible creative path, collaborating with musicians, circus artists, choreographers and photographers, developing her voice as a multi-dimensional artist. In 2013 she toured with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, performing as part of Chorale Le Chateau for the Abyssinian Mass.
In 2015 she released her second album, The Origin of Adjustable Things, on Sunnyside Records: an intimate duo project with pianist Dan Tepfer. As a follow up to this success Sunnyside released Gardens In My Mind, her third album of self-penned songs and arrangements, featuring the award winning string ensemble The Sacconi Quartet, and Dan Tepfer on piano.
Her debut album, Wild Swan was written while still a student at The Guildhall in 2011, and features Joe Martin (bass), Sam Newsome (piano), Rob Garcia (drums) Art Hirahara (piano) and Jay Vilnai (guitar).
In 2018 she self-released her fourth record Blood and Bone, which London Jazz said, "overflowed with creativity and musical resources."
2019 marked the release of her fifth record entitled Far Away From Any Place Called Home... a song-cycle depicting the events of her 1500 mile solo bicycle tour down the US Pacific Coast Highway.
2023 introduces her sixth record, All In Time, on Galileo Music. An album of 9 songs, inspired by dreams and real life, and the transformation of moving into motherhood.
Joanna is an adventurer at heart, and in August 2016 Joanna created her ongoing project The Great Song Cycle: a zero-emissions concert tour by bicycle. She first embarked on a solo concert tour of the West Coast of the USA, 1154 miles from Portland to Los Angeles, carrying her instruments, camping gear, and everything else she needed upon her bike.
Inspired by this life altering experience Joanna composed a 60-minute song-cycle, which she released as her 2019 album, and performed as a one woman show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2018. She also wrote and published a memoir (on UWA Press), entitled "The Great Song Cycle; Portland to LA on Two Wheels and a Song".
In 2019 Joanna set off on a second Great Song Cycle tour, this time cycling the Pacific Coast of Australia, from Brisbane to Hobart. She made a documentary film of this tour, which featured in multiple film festivals around the world.
Alongside Joanna’s musical career she is a passionate educator and takes her songwriting and teaching skills to outreach programs, schools and colleges. She is on the songwriting and vocal faculty at Los Angeles College of Music, and runs her own early childhood music program, Little Whale Music.
In 2016 she travelled to Mumbai to volunteer with charity organisation Songbound, an outreach initiative that brings the transformative power of music to some of India’s poorest and most marginalised children.
In Los Angeles Joanna works with non-profit organisation Urban Voices Project, working in a trauma-informed setting of music education, music therapy, and community choir for unhoused people in the Skid Row. Joanna helped pilot an early childhood program named Family Sing, aimed at the children and parents who are experiencing homelessness.
Of this work Joanna says, “bringing music to people in need keeps me grounded and inspires everything I do. It reminds me how powerful music is beyond the concert stage. Music saves lives. It saved my grandmother’s life, and I am compelled to bring my musical skills into a situation that can truly heal and inspire those who need it most, and to help them find a way through their darkest times through singing.”
NOTABLE PERFORMANCES INCLUDE:
Villa Lobos - Bachianas Brazileras - Cello Festival, Tereglio, Italy | Lima Jazz Festival, Peru. 2019 | SING! The Toronto Vocal Arts Festival, Toronto, 2019 | Joe’s Pub Theatre, New York 2019 | Zedel’s Theatre, London, 2019 | The Phoenix Theatre, Hampshire, UK. 2019 | The Henry Miller Library, CA 2020 | MONA,Tasmania, 2019 | National Concert Hall, Dublin. 2018 | Jazz Club Unterfahrt, Munich. 2018 | The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, UK. 2018 | Pizza Express Jazz Club, London UK. 2018 | The Banff Centre for the Arts, Canada, 2015, ’17 & ’18 | The Blue Whale, LA. 2015,’16 & ’18 | Astoria Tenor Guitar Gathering, Astoria Oregon 2018 | Boston Court Theatre, Pasadena, LA. 2018 | The Woodford Folk Festival, Australia. 2018 | Paris Cat Jazz Club, Melbourne, Australia. 2018 | Sunflower Theatre, Colorado, 2018 | Dazzle Jazz Club, Denver. CO. 2018 | An Die Musik, Baltimore. 2017 | Rockwood Music Hall, NYC. 2015, ’16, ’17, ’18, ’19 | Piedmont Pianos, Oakland , 2017 | National Sawdust, NYC, 2016 & 2017 | Siskiyou Jazz Series, Ashland Oregon. 2017 | Canmore Arts Place, Canmore, Canada. 2017 | Yellow Submarine, Jerusalem, Israel. 2017 | Mezzrow Jazz Club, NYC, 2016 & ’17 | Salisbury International Music Festival, UK. 2014 & ’15 | Rug Time Jazz, Osaka, Japan. 2015 | Smalls Jazz Club, NYC 2013 & ’15 | The Prague Castle, Prague. 2014 | Kennedy Centre, (with JALCO) DC, 2013 | Rose Theatre, (with JALCO) NY, NY, 2013 | The Barbican Centre, (with JALCO) London, 2012…