Iris du Pré

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Iris du Pré
Born Iris Maude Greep
(1914-06-06)6 June 1914
Devon, England
Died 27 September 1985(1985-09-27) (aged 71)
Occupation musician

Iris du Pré (6 June 1914 – 27 September 1985) was an English pianist, composer, conductor and educator. She was also the mother of Hilary du Pré and Jacqueline du Pré.

Life and career[edit]

She was born in Devon, the daughter of Maude (née Mitchell) and William Greep, a ship builder. She graduated from the London School of Eurhythmics in 1935 and trained at the Royal Academy of Music.

Her career was disrupted by the events of World War II, when she was unable to perform as often. She then started teaching and travelling. Iris married Derek du Pré in 1940, an accountant whom she met by chance when he was travelling in Poland. She was already a professional musician, her own compositions including part of the Ballet de la Jeunesse Anglaise performed in 1941.

In 1942 their first daughter, Hilary du Pré, was born, and in 1945 they had a second daughter, Jacqueline du Pré. Their son, Piers, was born in 1948.

As a music teacher, she recognized her daughters' talents, and Iris started the education of her two daughters early with the flute and cello. She taught music in the public sector as well at places like Apsley Grammar School in Hemel Hempstead during the 1970s.

Her daughter Jacqueline became a world-renowned musician until she was struck with multiple sclerosis which ended her life in 1987.[1]

In the 1998 Oscar-nominated film Hilary and Jackie, Iris is portrayed by Celia Imrie.


  1. ^ du Pre family history accessed 5/26/2015

Further reading[edit]

  • Wilson, Elizabeth A. M. (1999). Jacqueline du Pré: Her Life, Her Music, Her Legend. London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 0-571-20017-6. 
  • Easton, Carol (2000). Jacqueline du Pré: A Biography. Cambridge: Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80976-1. 
  • Du Pré, Piers; du Pré, Hilary (1997). A Genius in the Family: An Intimate Memoir of Jacqueline du Pré. London: Sinclair-Stevenson. ISBN 1-85619-753-0.