Jacqueline du Pré

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Sculpture by Croatian artist Drago Marin Cherina in the "Kensington Park Community Center" in Kensington, Sydney

Jacqueline du Pré (born January 26, 1945 in Oxford , † October 19, 1987 in London ) was a British cellist .


Du Pré was born in Oxford, England, the second child of Iris Greep, a pianist and piano teacher, and Derek du Pré. She showed an interest in the cello at the age of five. When she was ten, she took lessons from William Pleeth . She subsequently studied with Pablo Casals , Paul Tortelier and Mstislaw Rostropowitsch . In 1961 she received a Stradivari cello from 1673, which is now called "Du-Pré-Stradivari". Since 1964 she played on the " Dawidow Stradivarius" from 1712 (now owned by LVMH , played by Yo-Yo Ma ). Both instruments were gifts from her godmother Ismena Holland. In 1965, the first recording that established her fame was made: Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto with Sir John Barbirolli and the London Symphony Orchestra . Further recordings of important cello concerts and extensive concert activities followed.

The friendship with Daniel Barenboim , Itzhak Perlman , Zubin Mehta and Pinchas Zukerman resulted in the famous film by Christopher Nupen about Franz Schubert's trout quintet . In 1967 Jacqueline du Pré married the pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim. Their marriage was the basis for a fruitful musical collaboration, which is evidenced by many recordings with Barenboim as a pianist or conductor.

Because of the difficulty of playing the Dawidow cello, she looked for other instruments. From 1969 to 1970 she played on a cello made by Francesco Goffriller . In 1970 she switched to a Sergio Peresson cello , which she stayed with until the end of her career.

Jacqueline du Pré's grave in Golders Green Jewish Cemetery, London, March 2006

In the fall of 1973 she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis . Occasionally she worked as a teacher until her health deteriorated so that she could no longer do any activity. She passed away at the age of 42.

Alexander Baillie and Claudia Schwarze are among her few students .


In 1998, the film Hilary & Jackie , in which Emily Watson played the cellist, was made on the basis of conversations with Jacqueline du Pré's siblings . This role earned her, among other things, nominations for an Oscar and the British BAFTA Award . The film was criticized by musicians friends with du Pré and Daniel Barenboim for creating problematic behaviors and an affair for the artist.

A rose (descent “Radox Bouquet” x “Maigold”) and a clematis (Clematis alpina, Jacqueline du Pré ') are named after Jacqueline du Pré.

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