Ayanna Witter-Johnson

Ayanna Witter-Johnson

  • Hometown: London
  • Genre: Jazz
  • Influences:
  • Lineup: Ayanna Witter-Johnson (Cello)

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British vocalist, cellist and composer Ayanna is a pioneer of Black folk music and is the first non-American to win the legendary Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater in Harlem – and one of only a handful of people to win with an original composition.

A former emerging Artist in Residence (EAR) at London’s Southbank Centre, participant in the London Symphony Orchestra’s Discovery Panufnik Young Composers Scheme and the holder of music degrees from Trinity College of Music (UK) and Manhattan School of Music (US) Ayanna is an emerging composer/arranger/performer of versatility and depth.

She has worked alongside UK artists Courtney Pine, Nitin Sawhney, Jason Yarde, Robert Mitchell, Nick Mulvey, Gwyneth Herbert, Fraser Fifield, Devlin and Skepta and a host of international artists including Chinese folk artist Xiao Juen, Australian Indigenous musical force Black Arm Band and the legendary US string ensemble Kronos Quartet. Click here to read an outstanding review of Ayanna’s performance at decibel Performing Arts Showcase 2011. Ayanna’s recent release Truthfully – an EP produced by Marc Mac (4hero) – is available now via her website. Late last year Ayanna was awarded Special Commendation from the MBF’s Peter Whittingham Jazz Award Panel, and in 2012 she extends her relationship with the London Symphony Orchestra and LSO St Luke’s by being a participant in the first LSO Discovery Soundhub programme – an opportunity for creative artists to try out new ideas and develop existing work, which is supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. Ayanna will use the opportunity to create and develop music for a CD that will be released in 2013.


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