Jacqueline Du Pre

Born in Oxford, England, on 26 January 1945, Jacqueline du Pré was the second child of Derek and Iris du Pré. Derek du Pré was born in Jersey, where her family had lived for generations. After having worked as an accountant at the Lloyds Bank in St Helier and London for eleven years she became assistant editor, and later the editor, of The Accountant. Her mother, born Iris Greep, was a talented pianist, and taught at the Royal Academy in London. ...show more

Born in Oxford, England, on 26 January 1945, Jacqueline du Pré was the second child of Derek and Iris du Pré. Derek du Pré was born in Jersey, where her family had lived for generations. After having worked as an accountant at the Lloyds Bank in St Helier and London for eleven years she became assistant editor, and later the editor, of The Accountant. Her mother, born Iris Greep, was a talented pianist, and taught at the Royal Academy in London.

At age four du Pré is said to have heard the sound of the cello on the radio and asked her mother for "one of those". She started with lessons from her mother, who composed little pieces accompanied by illustrations, before beginning study at the London Violoncello School at age five. Her first teacher was Alison Dalrymple. Before long she was entering and winning local music competitions alongside her sister, flautist Hilary du Pré.

Du Pré's main teacher (her 'Cello Daddy'), from 1955 to 1961, both privately and at the Guildhall School of Music in London, was the celebrated cellist William Pleeth. Subsequently she also participated in a Pablo Casals masterclass in Zermatt, Switzerland in 1960, as well as short-term studies with Paul Tortelier in Paris in 1962, and with Mstislav Rostropovich in Russia in 1966. So impressed was the legendary Rostropovich with his young pupil that at the end of her study with him, he declared her "the only cellist of the younger generation that could equal and overtake [his] own achievement". Career In March 1961, at age 16, du Pré made her formal début at Wigmore Hall, London, and she made her concerto début in 1962 at Royal Festival Hall playing the Elgar Cello Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Rudolf Schwarz. ...show less