Joanna Leach (1937-2011)
In these Memorial pages we meet Joanna in her various roles. There are conversations, videos and audio tracks, playing her square pianos and her Steinway.
Joanna, through the eyes of her friends and family, in conversations and the Celebration of her Life, at St. Peter’s Chapel, Exeter in 2011, with recordings of Jo playing some of her favourite piano pieces.
Joanna, as “A Fantastic Natural Musician” seen through the eyes of her musician friends, with conversations, videos and some of her Steinway recordings.
Joanna, as Athene Records, Championing the English Square Piano.
with conversations, square piano tracks, and Joanna’s film debut, plus the complete Joanna Leach / Peter Katin Square Piano Discography.
Joanna, as Athene Minerva in her role as Record Producer & Sponsor with conversations, audio tracks and a complete Discography of Athene Minerva artistes.
Joanna Leach changed the lives of her close friends and enriched the lives of those who crossed her path.
Her playing touched many people she never knew. One captivated reviewer even suggested that “listening to Joanna Leach playing the Field Nocturnes, might change your life”.
It was the sale of a digital editing system that brought me into contact with Joanna Leach and her partner David Turner. It sparked a four year friendship with Dave until his death in 1993. I stepped into his shoes to help out as recording engineer. In doing so I was privileged to have my life changed and was destined to share the last sixteen years of Jo’s life.
Dave had instantly fallen in love with Joanna when hearing her play at a recital; for him it was a coupe de foudre. Perhaps the moment I fell in love was when listening to her impassioned expression in her recording of Liszt’s Dante Sonata; when a deepening working friendship turned to feelings of love and romance, and a parting kiss cast the die and changed my life.
The Joanna Leach Foundation was formed in 2012 and ran until April 2020. During this period it raised £72,000 for concerts, soloists and workshops in Shute, Honiton, Kingston-on-Thames (Tiffin School), Sidmouth, Tiverton, Exeter, Seaton and Axminster.
Its Archive of newsletters and company reports are available along with a Memorial to the Foundtion’s co-founder and first Company Secretary Liz Tirard-Beville who died in January 2014.
It’s spirit lives on with continued support for the ISCA Ensemble in the form of the annual Joanna Leach Memorial Concert that we hope will be resumed in 2021.
The ISCA Ensemble is actually an orchestra, some 65 strong, made up of retired professionals and enthusiastic amateurs, lead by Anthony Clements, conductor Roger Hendy.
Royalties from Athene sales through Divine Art Records are being donated to the orchestra.