Jacqueline du Pre
- Favourite Briton.

Born in Oxford, Oxfordshire
Born on 26th of January 1945
Died on 19th of October 1987

At the age of four Jacqueline du Pre heard a cello on the radio and asked her mother for “one of those.” She was to dedicate her short life to this instrument and to display a consummate mastery of technique and expression which for many has never been equaled since.
Born in Oxford on January 26, 1945 Jacqueline’s outstanding talent soon manifested itself in local music competition successes. From 1955 she was tutored at Guildhall School of Music, going on to participate in Pablo Casals’ master class in Switzerland (1960) and to study in Paris (1962) and Russia (1966). Mstislav Rostropovich, her tutor there, modestly declared her “the only cellist of the younger generation that could equal and overtake my own achievement.”

Jacqueline du Pre made her full concert debut aged 16 and a year later was playing in the BBC concert orchestra. Her playing of the Elgar Cello Concerto in the 1963 proms with Sir Malcolm Sargent was so popular that she reprised the work three years in succession and was to perform at the Proms every year until 1969. However it was her performance with the London Symphony orchestra conducted by Sir John Barbirolli in 1965 that bought her worldwide recognition. Her recording of the Elgar Concerto has arguably never been bettered. Jacqueline went on to play with the greatest orchestras and conductors in the world.

In 1967 Jacqueline du Pre married the pianist Daniel Barenboim and converted to Judaism. They performed together, the relationship proving inspirational for their music. However a nervous breakdown and an affair with her sister Hilary’s husband cast a shadow and seemed like a premonition of the devastation of the multiple sclerosis with which she was diagnosed in 1973. This wasting disease ended her performing career, although she was able to teach occasionally. Her health deteriorated over the coming years and she was to die on October 19, 1987, only 42 years of age.

Links: Official web site

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