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 Magazine as ‘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 and had the title Fellow conferred upon him by the Royal Academy of Music.
Joseph enjoys recitals with internationally established singers including Sir Thomas Allen, Louise Alder, Ian Bostridge, Benjamin Appl, Dame Sarah Connolly, Lucy Crowe, Iestyn Davies, Wolfgang Holzmair, Christiane Karg, Katarina Karnéus, Angelika Kirchschlager, 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. Signum Records released their début CD ‘Songs to the Moon‘.
Recent seasons have taken him to London’s Wigmore Hall, Royal Opera House and Royal Festival Hall, the Vienna Konzerthaus, Amsterdam Concertgebouw and Muziekgebouw, Köln Philharmonie, Strasbourg, Frankfurt and Gothenburg Opera Houses, Paris Musée d’Orsay, Zürich Tonhalle, deSingel Antwerp, Luxembourg Philharmonie and Tokyo’s Oji Hall. He made his New York debut at the Alice Tully Hall accompanying Dame 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 New York’s Park Avenue Armoury, Toronto’s Koerner Hall, Vancouver’s Chan Centre, San Francisco’s Nourse and Herbst Theatres and Chicago’s Ravinia Festival. He is a regular guest at Festivals in Aix-en-Provence, Aldeburgh, the BBC Proms, Brighton, Cheltenham, Edinburgh, Munich, Oxford Lieder, Stuttgart and West Cork.
His critically acclaimed discography includes ‘Fleurs’ and ‘A Verlaine Songbook’ and with Carolyn Sampson for BIS Records (the former nominated for a Gramophone Award & Radio France’s Disc of the Month, the latter winner of an Edison Award); ‘Lost is my Quiet’ with Iestyn Davies and Sampson (Editor’s Choice in Gramophone and BBC Music Magazines and nominated for an International Classical Music Award); ‘Strauss Lieder’ with Louise Alder for Orchid Classics (Sunday Times Disc of the Week, Gramophone Magazine Editor’s Choice, nominated for an International Classical Music Award); 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. 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.