Louise McMonagle is a versatile cellist with wide musical interests. She thrives on playing repertoire that goes beyond the mainstream, and creating exciting programmes including many commissions and premieres. Recent solo performances include Wigmore Hall, Schleswig Holstein Music Festival (DE), Open Music Graz (AT), KM28 Berlin, Brighton Festival, HCMF, Kings Place London, and the Scottish Arts Club. Fascinated by the contrasts found within the music of today, Louise curates concerts spanning a cutting edge array of music, where repertoire such as the Berio Sequenza can be programmed alongside Bach, jazz, minimalism, or modernist re-imaginings of ancient Gaelic psalms.
A number of composers have written solo pieces for Louise: Skydance (2020) by Ailie Robertson won the Dorico Award for Solo Work at the 2021 Scottish Awards for New Music. Louise’s video premiere was also featured in The Strad magazine. Tuxedo: Hot Summer No Water (2020) by Hannah Kendall resulted in numerous performances across Europe. Round by the Ness (2020) by Trish Clowes led to a feature at the London Jazz Festival 2022. Masts, Trees, Tunnel (2022) by Colin Riley comprising cello, electronics, and film premiered at the Royal Academy of Music and was subsequently released on Squeaky Kate Music. Madrigali (2022) by Philip Cashian, a song cycle on Lorca poetry written for mezzo soprano Rosie Middleton and Louise, was premiered at Folkestone New Music. Also in 2022, Louise premiered Laura Bowler’s new chamber opera The Blue Woman scored for four singers, cello quartet and percussion at the Royal Opera House and Snape Maltings.
Louise was recently invited to give a lecture recital at the Royal Academy of Music (London), where she showcased forty excerpts from innovative contemporary cello repertoire and many extended techniques. Louise has also delivered workshops at Trinity Laban, RNCM, RCM Juniors, University of Southampton, Royal Holloway University, Crossroads Festival at the Mozarteum (AT), Austrian Cultural Forum and the Zagreb Biennale.
Louise is a member of UK contemporary music group Riot Ensemble who perform regularly around Europe, including Wien Modern (Austria), Arctic Arts (Norway), Time of Music (Finland), Wigmore Hall (London), and Dark Music Days (Iceland). Described as “volcanically creative” (The New Yorker), “the supergroup of top soloists playing new music” (The Guardian), and “Always impeccable; Entrancing and highly seductive” (The Times), Riot Ensemble have given around 250 World and UK Premieres by composers from more than 30 countries. Their discography includes releases on HCR/NMC Recordings and Coviello Classics, and in 2020 they were awarded the Ernst von Siemens Ensemble Prize.
Louise loves to collaborate with many inspiring artists. For more than a decade she has worked with jazz saxophonist Trish Clowes, and the pair have recently recorded a set of duo improvisations of which Fiona Talkington (BBC Radio 3 presenter) writes “This is a warm, playful, exquisite partnership which has the perfection of Bach and the physicality of dance.” Further ensemble highlights include performing alongside jazz musicians Kit Downes, Lauren Kinsella, Chris Montague, Alex Hawkins, and Evan Parker, at venues such as Cafe Oto, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, The Vortex and the Purcell Room, and performing in string quartet alongside renowned folk musicians Kate Rusby and Emmy nominated Sarah Jarose at Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow.
Louise is also a very experienced orchestral player, including performing as principal cello in the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Opera North and Ulster Orchestra. She records regularly for film and TV in her home studio, and in groups including Philharmonia, London Symphony Orchestra, London Contemporary Orchestra, and Chamber Orchestra of London.