A native of the Wirral, Jo was captivated by the clarinet when she heard it played by her music teacher in primary school-Alan Thompson. ‘He looked a bit like Compo from Last of the Summer Wine and made and smoked his own roll ups...in the classroom! Each morning, instead of ticking names off the register, we would have to sing our names!’ Jo says she was quite a shy child who surprised her parents by pestering them to learn the clarinet. She started having lessons with Mr Thompson when she turned ten and says ‘he was worried I was too small, even though it turns out I didn’t get any bigger!’
Jo then had lessons with John Fuest – Oliver Janes’ grandfather and ex CBSO first clarinet – who was first clarinet at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra at the time. John encouraged Jo to go to Chethams for her sixth form studies before continuing to study at the Royal Northern College of Music with John Reynolds.
After college Jo embarked on a busy and enormously varied freelance career which enabled her to work with many of the UK's finest orchestras. Jo joined the CBSO in 2006 and says there have been many musical and social highlights and her top three concerts so far are: ‘Sakari’s final concert playing the Janacek Sinfonietta, Andris’ Der Rosenkavalier and, of course, the ABBA concert!’
Inspiring young players and sharing her passion for music is very important for Jo outside of her work with the orchestra: ‘I really enjoy my teaching as it’s so challenging and exciting to try to prepare young players for a career in this brilliant industry. I feel there has never been a better time to be truly imaginative and creative when it comes to the challenges we are all facing; involving and educating young people, being central to our diverse communities and generating audiences and income for our future aspirations’.
Jo's other interests include running, skiing and being outside as well as reading, travelling, eating and drinking lovely wine...oh and most things Spanish!
Supported by CBSO Chorus Tenors and an anonymous donor