Justyna Jablonska is a Polish-born cellist based in Edinburgh. During the past decade, she has carved out an exciting career at the forefront of both Western contemporary classical and fusion music. A virtuoso cellist and an improviser, Jablonska is passionate about cross-disciplinarity, and experimental performance. An avid performer, Jablonska is recognised for her talent, versatility, and diverse repertoire. She regularly performs at classical and world music events across the UK and Europe. In 2022 she released her first cross-cultural album with Carnatic violinist Jyotsna Srikanth "Songs for Cello and Carnatic Violin" funded by Creative Scotland. In the same year she premiered her first multimedia solo work "Lost and Found: A Cellist's Journey" funded by the Made in Scotland showcase.
Justyna is currently in her final year of a PhD programme in creative music practice at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, focusing on collaborative work with a South Indian female violinist, drawing on Carnatic traditions and free improvisation. She is a recipient of the Carnegie Trust PhD Scholarship.
Justyna holds a Masters Degree from the RNCM, taught by Peter Dixon (Principal Cello, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra).
Since her appearance at the Lucerne Festival Academy in 2014 where her focus was on contemporary music (working with Sir Simon Rattle, Barbara Hannigan, Matthias Pintcher) she went on to study privately with Paris’ Ensemble Intercontemporain cellist – Eric-Maria Couturier. Her journey with Lucerne Festival let to ongoing performances as part of Lucerne Festival Alumni, which she thoroughly enjoys.
Her album releases include:
Karmana – with guitarist Simon Thacker (funded by Creative Scotland).
Strata - with violinist Emma Jane Lloyd
Songs for Cello and Carnatic violin - with Carnatic violinist Jyotsna Srikanth (funded by CS)
2023 -Upcoming album with guitarist Simon Thacker
I am a cellist using improvisation and electronics to create richly layered soundscapes. In my work, I explore the juxtaposition between freedom and constraint and the realities of everyday life and nostalgia. I was born in Poland and grew up in the aftermath of the communist regime, attending a music school still in the Soviet mould. My career as a classical musician was formed by that training - and a search to escape its constraints.
Free improvisation has been pivotal in avant-garde movements over recent decades. Yet, creating sound sequences that break free from established musical idioms often leads to the dilemma of 'excess freedom.' My approach aims to reinvigorate improvisation, blending idiomatic expressions with freer forms of spontaneous musical creation. Since 2014, I have been collaborating with non-Western musicians, and in 2019, I was among the first cellists to improvise within the stringent confines of the raga in the Carnatic tradition. My collaboration with Jyotsna Srikanth, "Songs for Carnatic Violin and Cello," deconstructs Carnatic music in an innovative way, featuring improvised passages and layered cello sections to create harmonic interplay.
Today, my art is a personal journey to the roots of my musical upbringing. It's a tapestry woven with threads of the Polish avant-garde, the soulful narratives of Roma and Jewish melodies, the defiant spirit of punk, and an array of eclectic influences. Each piece is a conversation with the past, a dialogue with the present, and a bold gaze into the future of musical expression.