1st March 2022 0 By Jon Deaux

By Norse is proud to announce the signing of the internationally acclaimed composer and virtuoso cellist from London, Jo Quail. Equally at home on stage as a solo performer, with bands, or in collaboration with a choir and orchestra – she combines an eloquent mastery of her instrument with innovative looping techniques, to realize her complex, evocative music for audiences worldwide.

Inspired by the visual arts as much as by fellow composers, Jo cites Barbara Hepworth and Georgia O’Keefe as key influences, alongside the diverse music of Debussy, Pärt, Tool, and Cardiacs. As a result, she freely crosses the boundaries between genres, awakening listener emotions, and taking audiences into uncharted territory with each concert. Her exuberant, celebratory performance style has won her a fan base in the contemporary classical world as well as among enthusiasts of post-rock, metal and electronica.

Jo Quail comments on the signing: “I am thrilled to be signing with By Norse Music for the release of the Cartographer. I have such enormous respect for their willingness to support those of us who are not easily categorized, or who work across different genres. They work with some amazing musicians that I really admire and take a lot of inspiration from, and it is an honor for me, for The Cartographer, to be welcomed into this prestigious family.”

Now at a stage where she is touring throughout Europe and internationally, Jo enters 2022 with her most ambitious project yet.  In April, she will appear at the internationally renowned Roadburn Festival performing a piece of work commissioned by the festival. The piece, titled The Cartographer, was originally scheduled for the 2020 edition, but will now be performed at the 013 venue in Tilburg, the Netherlands this coming April. The Cartographer explores the space where classical instrumentation and contemporary heavy music intersect.

In Jo Quail’s words: “What makes music heavy? In my opinion, as an artist and composer straddling both classical and contemporary genres the concept of heaviness in music is experienced via the intention of the composer, and then the delivery of the performance. Arguably heaviness is an emotional concept, reaching far beyond the confines of volume, speed and instrumentation.”

Due to delays in the live premiere of the commissioned project, Jo was afforded the opportunity to record The Cartographer with the assistance of the PRS ‘Women Make Music Award’. The Cartographer was recorded in Holland at Groenland Studios with the full ensemble of contributing musicians, and will be released as a studio album in May this year. An incredible landmark, but one from which there is so much more coming into view for the future.

“The Cartographer” is set for release on May 6th, and will be available as CD digipack with 8-pages booklet, limited colored 2×12” LP (online exclusive), regular black 2×12” LP and digital. The album can be pre-ordered at: 


North America:

When composing the piece, Jo Quail decided almost immediately to write for trombones, specifically eight members of the acclaimed Dutch ensemble The New Trombone Collective. The first thing she envisaged was the juxtaposition of a solo violin accompanied by a huge wave of brass, and the form of “The Cartographer” emerged from this sound world. She scored for extensive orchestral percussion (including the largest TamTam she could get hold of!) and included herself on electric cello with her usual set up incorporating live looping, a pianist, and two vocalists, both parts written with and specifically for these individual singers.

“The Cartographer” is a piece composed of prose of five phrases, each phrase containing an intention for the different movements. Each of these musical phrases is pared through the artist’s pitch system and created the musical motif on which the whole work is based. This motif is presented in full in the first solo violin entry.

Jo Quail comments: “The music I write tends to evolve even after I’ve recorded and released it and having, unexpectedly, had the extra time to spend with The Cartographer has allowed me to deepen my connection to it. It has grown in a way that means whilst the dots on the page remain unchanged, it’s somehow not quite the same piece I would have presented in 2020 but it tells the same story – I hope, better!

I tend to have a very particular structure in mind when I begin writing, and this was especially true for “The Cartographer” – I can then work more intuitively to paint the narrative within that framework. There is always a narrative or story that I’m telling, and those listening will create their own story from what they hear – I love that.”

The first episode of the documentary series on “The Cartographer” can be watched at this location: 

The “Cartographer” tracklist: 

  1. Movement 1
  2. Movement 2
  3. Movement 3
  4. Movement 4
  5. Movement 5

Jo Quail – Tour dates 2022

04.03.22 – Lafayette – London (UK) w/ A.A. Williams

17.03.22 – Royal Festival Hall London (UK) w/ Wardruna

18.03.22 – Manchester Albert Hall (UK) w/ Wardruna

20.03.22 – Corn Exchange Cambridge (UK) w/ Wardruna

21.03.22 – Symphony Hall Birmingham (UK) w/ Wardruna

22.03.22 – Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow (UK) w/ Wardruna

23.03.22 – Vicar Street Dublin (UK) w/ Wardruna

01.04.22 – L’Etage – Rennes (FR) w/ Amenra

02.04.22 – Elysée Montmartre Paris (FR) w/ Amenra

04.04.22 – Rockhal Luxembourg (LU) w/ Amenra

05.04.22 – Tivoli Ronda Utrecht (NL) w/ Amenra

06.04.22 – Essigfabrik Cologne (DE) w/ Amenra

07.04.22 – Meetfactory Prague (CZ) w/ Amenra

08.04.22 – Dürer Kert Budapest (HU) w/ Amenra

09.04.22 – Kruhnen Musik Halle (RO) w/ Amenra

11.04.22 – Klub Kwadrat Krakow (PL) w/ Amenra

12.04.22 – Astra Kulturhaus Berlin (DE) w/ Amenra

13.04.22 – Freiheizhalle Munich (DE) w/ Amenra

14.04.22 – Post Tenebras Rock – L’Usine Geneva (CH) w/ Amenra

15.04.22 – Le Rex de Toulouse (FR) w/ Amenra

16.04.22 – Shôko Madrid (ES) w/ Amenra

17.04.22 – Atabal Biarritz (FR) w/ Amenra

18.04.22 – CCO Lyon (FR) w/ Amenra

19.04.22 – L’Aéronef Lille (FR) w/ Amenra

23.04.22 – Roadburn Festival

27.05.22 – Dunk! Festival

20.08.22 – Arctangent Festival

07.10.22 – Amplifest 2022

17.12.22 – Bataclan, Paris (FR) w/ Alcest

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