Bethnal Green to host cellist’s return to grace

Cellist Jo Quail is set to perform at St John in Bethnal Green on February 7

Cellist Jo Quail is set to perform at St John in Bethnal Green on February 7 - Credit: Archant

Cellist Jo Quail’s unorthodox live return takes the form of her new show, Nocturnes.

It follows second album Caldera and premieres her piece This Path With Grace.

“I hope people will enjoy it – we had a super time rehearsing for it – this show came together really naturally,” says Jo, who plays St John in Bethnal Green on February 7.

After studying performance at the University of Leeds, Jo’s feelings toward strings soured.

“I didn’t play for seven years following my graduation,” she reveals. “When I went to university, I found that I didn’t respond very well to the teaching – I felt very discouraged. By the time I finished I absolutely loathed playing the cello.”


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Jo was reintroduced to performing playing keyboard in a covers band and, when somebody asked about her cello-playing past, found herself performing for Strawberry Switchblade’s Rose McDowall.

“I was terrified,” she says. But the show gave her a route back into cello recitals – an environment she had felt isolated from.

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“I spent a lot of time feeling fraudulent when I got on stage,” she expands. “Because I have never played the things you’re supposed to play. But that’s good – it makes me want to raise the bar.”

Jo’s planned set is an eclectic departure from a standard recital.

As well as promising well-known pieces by Bartok and Schein, it has Hindi poet Mohan Rana performing pieces from Jo’s first album. She will also be joined by violinist Daniel Merrill of Dead Rat Orchestra, percussionist Al Richardson and singer Robyn Sellmann of Autorotation.

And any doubts about performing have evaporated.

“It’s a real novelty for me to love performing – I have always felt like a square peg in a round hole but now I’m really enjoying it,” she says.

The show starts at 6.45pm. Tickets cost £15 on the door or can be bought for £13.20 at wegottickets.com/event/298154

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