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Principal Cello

A woman playing the cello

Caroline Dearnley studied at the Royal College of Music with Joan Dickson and subsequently with William Pleeth, winning every cello prize.

A full and varied career quickly followed. While Caroline’s career encompasses many aspects of music-making, she is best known as a chamber musician and soloist, performing and recording chamber music with many leading ensembles.

She has been principal cello with Britten Sinfonia since 1993 and has seen it grow into the vibrant and hugely successful ensemble it is today. She gave the British premiere of Poul Ruders’ Cello Concerto with the orchestra in 2001 and is a member of the Britten Sinfonia Soloists with groundbreaking residencies in Norwich, Cambridge and at the Wigmore Hall. She has also played guest principal cello with many orchestras including the Philharmonia, London Sinfonietta, English Chamber Orchestra, ENO, RLPO and BBCNOW.

She was a founder member of the Joachim Trio, which recorded extensively for Naxos, ASV and Hyperion and was well known to BBC Radio listeners. Their first two CDs of French music both won the “Editor’s Choice” accolade from Gramophone magazine and CDs of the complete Dvorak, Saint-Saëns trios followed.

As a chamber musician she has taken part in all the country’s major festivals, including the International “Artists in Residence” series at the Bath Festival, the festivals at Aldeburgh and Edinburgh, and Robert Cohen’s summer festivals at Charleston Manor. She is cellist in the Britten Oboe Quartet with Nick Daniel and other principal players in Britten Sinfonia with recitals throughout Europe.

In the studio she has played on the soundtrack for many iconic films including Harry Potter, James Bond and The Hunger Games series.

Caroline plays a Milanese cello, dated 1740.