Justyna Jablonska

Cello and Electronics, Multimedia work

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.

I am passionate about improvisation, cross-disciplinarity, and experimental performance. My versatility and diverse repertoire have become my signature, and I regularly perform at classical and non-Western music events across the UK and Europe. In June 2024, I had the incredible opportunity to perform for the Dior Cruise 2025 fashion show at Drummond Castle in Scotland, streamed live worldwide. In 2022, I released my first cross-cultural album with Carnatic violinist Jyotsna Srikanth, titled "Songs for Cello and Carnatic Violin," funded by Creative Scotland. That same year, I premiered my first multimedia solo work, "Lost and Found: A Cellist's Journey," at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, supported by the Made in Scotland showcase. This year, I was honoured to present it at the New Directions Cello Festival.
In October 2023, I completed my PhD in creative music practice at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. My research focused on collaborative work with a South Indian female violinist, exploring Carnatic traditions and free improvisation. I am grateful that the Carnegie Trust PhD Scholarship fully funded my studies.


I am passionate about working with Scotland-based composers and collaborating with musicians and artists from various disciplines. My long-standing duo with violinist Emma Lloyd saw us debut our album "Strata" at The Night With… festival last year, and it was also aired on BBC Radio Sounds. Additionally, I was featured on Gareth William's album "Songs from the Last Page," which toured across Scotland and was part of the Made in Scotland showcase in 2023.
Since my appearance at the Lucerne Festival Academy in 2014, where I focused on contemporary music under the guidance of Sir Simon Rattle, Barbara Hannigan, and Matthias Pintcher, I have had the privilege to study privately with Eric-Maria Couturier, cellist of Paris' Ensemble Intercontemporain. These experiences have profoundly shaped my approach to music and continue to inspire my artistic path.

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.

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