A celebration of early music in July. Founder: Vanessa Coode

Jonathan Rees: Baroque Cello

Jonathan Rees, baroque cello

Darkness & Light, Crucifixion & Resurrection, Despair & Joy

Performance date: 16th July 2017, 3.30-4.30pm

Jonathan Rees plays J.S. Bach’s C minor and D major suites on four-string and five-string cellos.

Tickets £12, £10 concessions. Buy on the door, from Bridgewood and Neitzert at 146 Stoke Newington Church St, or on-line at wegottickets.com (with a 10% booking fee)

Jonathan Rees plays J.S. Bach’s C minor and D major suites on four-string and five-string cellos.

The last two suites in his set of six for solo cello, J.S. Bach explores the great expressive potential of altering the cello from its normal 4-string tuning. Writen for a cello with the a string tuned down a tone, the dark sonorities and tortured chromatic language of the fifth cello suite in c minor evoke the desolation of Bach’s St John and Matthew Passions. By contrast, the sixth suite, written for a five-string cello with a top e string, is a transcendent expression of light and joy which displays the most florid, improvisatory writing to be found in any of the solo suites for cello.


I’m originally from Bristol and have done time as a German and French student in Cambridge and Berlin, then as a cello and viol student in London. This is where I currently live with my wonderful psychologist cyclist wife Esther, two fluffy and amusing cats and a generous selection of large musical instruments.

I play cello and viol with lots of groups and enjoy a varied musical life. I have been a guest principal and viol soloist with the Academy of Ancient Music and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, continuo gambist / bass violinist with ENO in Indian Queen, and performed with the viol consorts Fretwork and Phantasm. I have also performed Stockhausen’s Mittwoch Aus Licht on a swinging perspex platform in a Birmingham Chemical Factory attended by two camels.
I am principal cellist of excellent group La Nuova Musica; here’s one video promoting the group’s recent Couperin disc on Harmonia Mundi USA, and here’s another for Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with Lucy Crowe and Tim Mead. I am a founder member of exciting new viol consort Newe Vialles. I’m also principal cellist of Faust Chamber Orchestra which is conducted by long-standing conductor/pianist friend, colleague and recent best man Mark Austin.

I play with fellow cellist Vladimir Waltham in prize-winning Duo Domenico, which has played in the London Baroque Festival, York International Early Music Festival and many venues across Europe.

I am intensely involved in music education work, and in addition to giving classes at the Royal Academy of Music I have also devised and led creative projects with primary schools in London. I am also the founder and director of Bristol’s Really Classical Relay.
I am delighted to have been elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music.