Biography for programmes
“A stunningly flexible voice, flawless musicianship and, as if that wasn’t enough, a lovely personality too!”
(Will Todd, composer of Mass in Blue)
Joanna L’Estrange is an English soprano and jazz vocalist, specialising in modern amplified music. A Master of Arts Music graduate of Oxford University and a former soprano and Musical Director of The Swingle Singers, she is renowned for her exceptional stylistic versatility, three-octave vocal range and consummate musicianship. Joanna is the daughter of composer Sebastian Forbes, niece of Edinburgh-based opera singer Rupert Oliver Forbes and was the granddaughter of the famous Scottish viola player/arranger Watson Forbes.
Joanna enjoys a full diary of engagements as an international solo artist, sharing the stage with the world’s leading orchestras and contemporary music ensembles. Her concert repertoire includes Howard Shore’s Lord of the Rings, Will Todd’s Mass in Blue, Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concerts, Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians, Desert Music and Tehillim, Stockhausen’s Stimmung, John Adams’ Grand Pianola Music and Luciano Berio’s Sinfonia, which she has performed forty times. Joanna has toured every continent and, closer to home, has appeared as a soloist at the Proms, Edinburgh Festival and Glastonbury. She also sings for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s popular Symphonic Rock concerts and for the Royal Ballet’s acclaimed production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. One of London’s busiest studio singers, Joanna has recorded approaching 150 film soundtracks, including numerous Hollywood blockbusters. She has sung with Take That, Sir Paul McCartney, Jarvis Cocker, Bryn Terfel, Susan Boyle, Katherine Jenkins, Yusuf Islam and Florence + the Machine, to name but a few. Her discography includes around fifty choral CDs, many with acclaimed chamber choir, Tenebrae, and a solo jazz album with her band L’Estranges in the Night.
Aside from singing, Joanna is an accomplished arranger, lyricist, choral conductor, workshop leader and adjudicator: she is judge on the Sky 1 TV show, Sing: Ultimate A Cappella, presented by Cat Deeley. She has worked for the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, the Association of British Choral Directors, the American Choral Directors Association, Eton Choral Courses, BBC Choir of the Year, the Ingenium Academy, Sing Up, Sing A Cappella and Voice Festival UK, of which she is a patron. Joanna lives in Hertfordshire with her composer/jazz musician husband, Alexander L’Estrange, and their two musically-gifted sons.