Pianist Joseph Middleton specialises in the art of song accompaniment and chamber music and has been highly acclaimed within this field. Described in the BBC Music Magazineas ‘one of the brightest stars in the world of song and Lieder’, he has also been labeled ‘the cream of the new generation’ by The Times and ‘a perfect accompanist’ by Opera Now. He performs and records with many of the world’s finest singers in major music centres across Europe, the Americas and Far East. Joseph is Director of Leeds Lieder, a Professor at his alma mater the Royal Academy of Music, and holds the position of Musician in Residence at Pembroke College Cambridge, where he curates an imaginative song recital series as well as directing the University’s Lieder Scheme. In 2016 he became the first accompanist to win the Young Artist Award at the Royal Philharmonic Awards – the highest recognition for live classical music-making in the United Kingdom.
Joseph enjoys recitals with internationally established singers including Sir Thomas Allen, Ian Bostridge, Benjamin Appl, Dame Sarah Connolly, Lucy Crowe, Iestyn Davies, Wolfgang Holzmair, Christiane Karg, Katarina Karnéus, Dame Felicity Lott, Christopher Maltman, John Mark Ainsley, Ann Murray, Mark Padmore, Joan Rodgers, Amanda Roocroft, Kate Royal, Matthew Rose, Carolyn Sampson and Roderick Williams. He regularly collaborates with rising stars from the younger generation and in 2012 he formed the Myrthen Ensemble to further explore lesser-known song repertoire with regular duo partners Mary Bevan, Clara Mouriz, Allan Clayton and Marcus Farnsworth.
Recent seasons have taken him to London’s Wigmore Hall, Royal Opera House and Royal Festival Hall, the Vienna Konzerthaus, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Köln Philharmonie, Zürich Tonhalle and Luxembourg Philharmonie. He made his New York debut at the Alice Tully Hall accompanying Sarah Connolly in a recital described in the New York Times as ‘superlative…everything a song recital should be’. Elsewhere in the Americas he has appeared at Toronto’s Koerner Hall, Vancouver’s Chan Centre, San Francisco’s Nourse Theatre and Chicago’s Ravinia Festival. He is a regular guest at Festivals in Aix-en-Provence, Aldeburgh, Brighton, Cheltenham, Edinburgh, Munich, Oxford Lieder, Stuttgart and West Cork.
Joseph’s 2016/17 plans include his début BBC Prom with Iestyn Davies and Carolyn Sampson; three US recital tours with Kate Royal, Sarah Connolly and Carolyn Sampson taking him to New York (Park Avenue Armory & Alice Tully Hall), San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre and Atlanta’s Spivey Hall; as well as recitals with Christopher Maltman in Strasbourg and deSingel Antwerp, Katarina Karnéus in Gothenburg, Simon Keenlyside and Ian Bostridge in Leeds; and European Myrthen Ensemble débuts at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam and the Musée d’Orsay, Paris. His appearances at the Wigmore Hall include recitals with Sarah Connolly and Clara Mouriz (BBC Lunchtime series) and with Carolyn Sampson. He has also programmed a 4-part Mahler series for BBC Radio 3.
His critically acclaimed discography includes ‘Fleurs’ and ‘A Verlaine Songbook’ with Carolyn Sampson for BIS Records (the former nominated for a Gramophone Award & Radio France’s Disc of the Month); ‘Strauss Lieder’ with Louise Alder for Orchid Classics (Sunday Times Disc of the Week, Gramophone Magazine Editor’s Choice); and, for Champs Hill Records: ‘Nocturnal Variations’ with Ruby Hughes (Recording of the Month – BBC Music Magazine), ‘Elgar in Sussex’ with Dame Felicity Lott, ‘Tell me the Truth about Love’ with Amanda Roocroft, ‘This other Eden’ with Kitty Whately (Shortlisted for Best Disc of 2015 – American Record Guide), the Lieder of Ludwig Thuille with Sophie Bevan and Jennifer Johnston and the complete Purcell/Britten realizations with Ruby Hughes, Allan Clayton and Matthew Rose. The Myrthen Ensemble’s début disc – ‘Songs to the Moon’ – was recently released on Signum Records. Joseph has a special relationship with the BBC through his work with their New Generation Artists Scheme and as such has made numerous live broadcasts of solo, chamber and song repertoire for BBC Radio 3, including frequently being invited to curate his own weeklong series of lunchtime concerts.
Born in Gloucestershire, Joseph graduated with an MPhil from the University of Birmingham, studied piano on an EMI Scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music and went on to win the accompanist prizes at the Wigmore Hall International Song, Kathleen Ferrier, Richard Tauber, Royal Over-Seas League and Geoffrey Parsons Awards. He lives near London with his family.