Anna Shuttleworth

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Anna Shuttleworth (born 1927) is a cellist from the United Kingdom. She studied cello with Ivor James and Harvey Phillips at the Royal College of Music and later became a professor at the same college. Her pupils have included Alexander Baillie, Martin Johnson, Natalie Clein, František Brikcius and Kathy Hampson (née Jewell).

Family background[edit]

Anna Shuttleworth was born in Bournemouth on 2 May 1927, the only child of a retired Indian Civil Service father and a Polish-Irish mother.

Studying the Cello[edit]

In 1943, Shuttleworth went to study the cello at the Royal College of Music (RCM) as a scholar. There she learned with Ivor James and Harvey Philips. While at the RCM, Anna became a founding member of the Vivien Hind String Quartet, an ensemble that she played with for a number of years. After leaving the RCM her friend Joan Dickson organised for the cellist Enrico Mainardi to give lessons in London for which Anna took part. She also continued her studies with Franz Walter in Geneva.

Shortly after leaving college, Anna was invited to play at the Newbury Festival with the Newbury String Players, both in the orchestra and later as a soloist. This initiated a long friendship with the family of Gerald Finzi and their musical circle, including Ursula and Ralph Vaughan Williams. This period also witnessed a richly varied freelance career, playing in a number of festival orchestras, as a chamber musician and soloist. She was once affectionately referred to as “The Swellest Cellist” by Vaughan Williams.

In 1953, at the recommendation of the composer Herbert Howells, Anna entered for the Boise scholarship and in 1954 was awarded a substantial sum to further her cello studies. This she used to study with Mainardi in Salzburg and Rome, and with Pablo Casals in Zermatt and Prades.

Personal life[edit]

Anna Shuttleworth has been married twice, first time to Noel Taylor, a fellow cellist, in 1957, and the second time to David Sellen, a biophysics researcher, since 1973.

Professional life[edit]

In the 1960s, Anna’s career took off and she became a member of several ensembles and performed for many BBC broadcasts. In 1964 Novello published “Learning the cello” which Anna wrote jointly with Hugo Cole. Anna had a lesson with Rostropovich who complimented Anna on her beautiful cello sound and musicianship. This is also the year when she is invited to teach the cello at the Junior Department at the RCM, followed by the appointment to the Senior Department in 1967. In 1968 she is approved as an Associated Board examiner and also buys her very first Renault 4, the car that was to become her habitual transport, travelling around the country.

The 1970s was Anna’s golden period and through the connection with Hilary Finzi, Jacqueline du Pré’s sister, Anna was allowed to play on Jacqui’s Davidov Stradivarius for two years. She became a “sought after” cello professor at the RCM and taught many of today’s well-known musicians, including Adrian Brendel, Alexander Baillie, Clare Finzi, Elizabeth Wilson and Jonathan del Mar. But, as Anna felt like she had neglected her academic career, and partly to better understand David’s work at the Leeds University, she took an Open University course 1971-75 and was awarded a BA (Hons) degree in 1975. In 1972 Anna put Stuart Lowe (a keen amateur cellist) in contact with Sue Jennings (one of Anna’s cello students at the RCM) and later Stuart and Sue married. Later Anna taught Matthew, Daniel and Time Lowe at Sue’s request. Anna and Sue developed a longstanding teaching relationship and together, and with the Lowe family members and Alexander Baillie, they created “Gathering of the Clans”, a long running cello course with teachers such as Baillie and Johannes Goritzki as well as Alexander teachers/cellists Vivien Mackie and Rhuna Martin. Other cellists included Joan Dickson, Amanda Truelove, Sasha Boyarsky, Lowri Blake, Andreas Burzik, Melissa Phelps, Louise Hopkins, and Moray Welsh.

Since the 1960s Anna has performed many successful piano and cello recitals with some of the leading pianists in Britain, including Bernard Roberts, Ian Brown, Martin Roscoe and John Thwaites. Since leaving the RCM in the late 1940s Anna has been a member of numerous chamber music ensembles including a string trio with Elisabeth Watson (viola), Georgian String Quartet, Leonardo Trio (first with David Roth, later with Maureen Smith, violin and with Ian Brown, piano), London Harpsichord Ensemble, Glickman Trio and Aulos Ensemble. When in London she knew Sylvia Cleaver who in 1964 asked Anna to become the principal cellist of the Midland Sinfonia Orchestra (later renamed the English Sinfonia). She held this post until she retired from the orchestra in 1996. Apart from this, Anna has worked with many orchestras over the years such as the Alexandra Orchestra (founded by Denys Darlow) which later became the Tilford Bach Orchestra, Chelsea Opera Group, Kalmar Orchestra, Sadler’s Wells Opera Orchestra (now English National Opera) and Orchestra d'Amici.

Music Courses and Travel[edit]

Anna has always loved to travel and has spent many holidays around the world with a particular fondness for Scandinavia. In the early seventies, at Jacqueline du Pré's suggestion, the Swedish cellist Frans Helmerson stayed at Anna’s house and they became friends. Then while teaching at the Great Missenden Summer course in Berkshire, Anna met the Swedish musical Frankmar family who brought her over to Sweden for various summer courses. There she met cellists Ludwig Frankmar and Tomas Sterner who came to study with her in London. In 1979 Tomas became her cello student at the RCM and, in 2009, has published her memoirs. Tomas and Anna also helped to organise two string courses in Guernsey in the early 1980s.

In 1985, while on tour with the Associated Board in Malaysia, Anna met Toya, a Batik artist living in Penang, and his nephew Kia. Anna helped both of them, firstly by organising exhibitions of Toya’s work in England and secondly by sponsoring Kia to study at Leeds University, where he is now on the staff. In 1986 she again worked for the Associated Board, examining in New Zealand.

Teaching the Cello[edit]

Anna’s teaching career evolved over the years. From initially teaching at independent schools and later being appointed a professor at the RCM she eventually took on many teaching positions in England, including Canterbury, Leeds and students from York University, as well as at Leeds Girls High School. On top of this she had many private pupils. In 1994, Anna’s teaching became more widely known when her pupil, Natalie Clein, won both the UK and European Young Musician of the Year competitions. Although this was at a time when Anna was near retirement, she was now very much a sought after teacher. Much later she taught the very talented Czech cellist Frantisek Brikcius, who came to Leeds University as an Erasmus scholar.

In retirement Anna has slowed down but not yet stopped. She made her final cello and piano duo recitals in 2003 and now plays the Treble and Bass Viols and sings early music. She teaches the cello if requested.

In 2008 Anna was awarded an Honorary Membership of the Royal College of Music from Prince Charles. This follows a number of years when she has supported the RCM and also created a cello prize in her own name.


Anna Shuttleworth has co-written a cello method for young cellists aged 10 and upwards ,[1] and her memoirs were published in July 2009 .[2]


Anna Shuttleworth has made several recordings with Alfred Deller (counter-tenor). For example, Purcell's Ode for St. Cecilia's Day and Purcell's Te Deum and Jubilate Deo .[3]


  1. ^ Cole, Hugo; Shuttleworth, Anna (1971), Playing the Cello, Music Sales Head Office, 14 -15 Berners Street, London W1T 3LJ. United Kingdom: Novello & Co Ltd
  2. ^ Shuttleworth, Anna (2007-05-02). "Anna Shuttleworth". Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  3. ^ Purcell Te Deum and Jubilate Deo - CD, Musique d'abord, 1999

External links[edit]