Upon hearing the Elgar Cello Concerto performed when I was 13 years old, my research on the piece immediately led me to cellist Jacqueline du Pre. At just seventeen years old, this woman was set to have a career that would challenge the conventions of what it meant to be a virtuoso cellist in the 20th century. Her achievement as a minority in that time cannot be ignored, but her achievement as a cellist in its own right regardless of her gender stands alone. Her 1965 recording of the Edward Elgar Cello Concerto with the London Symphony brought her international recognition and fame as well as propelled the Elgar concerto, which formerly sat in obscurity, to the height of its popularity. It still stands as one of the most celebrated and performed cello concertos in all of the repertoire. After 12 years, her career was cut short due to the development of multiple sclerosis in the early 1970s. Her story, as tragic as it was, is what inspired me to compose a biography in music, quoting pieces she performed over the span of her career, and communicate through performance the influence she had on me as a cellist.
Semester/Year of Award
Mentor Professional Affiliation
Restricted Access Thesis
Witt, Abigayle L., "Jacqueline du Pré: Her Influence on the Acceptance of Women in Classical Music, A Creative Thesis" (2017). Honors Theses. 516.