Clein started playing the cello at the age of six, and studied with Anna Shuttleworth and Alexander Baillie at the Royal College of Music where she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Scholarship. She has also studied with Heinrich Schiff in Vienna.
Clein came to prominence after winning the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition in 1994 with her performance of the Elgar Cello Concerto. She was the first British winner of the Eurovision Competition for Young Musicians in Warsaw, playing the Shostakovich Sonata and Elgar's concerto. Her other awards include the Ingrid zu Solms Cultur Preis at the 2003 Kronberg Academie and the Classical BRIT Award for Young British Performer of 2005.
In 1999 she was invited as one of the first artists to join the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists scheme. She is also a regular chamber musician with such musicians as Julius Drake, Charles Owen and Kathryn Stott, as well as the Belcea Quartet, Jerusalem Quartet, Takács Quartet, and the Nash Ensemble.
Clein has collaborated with author Jeanette Winterson on a performance piece which utilises Bach's Goldberg Variations in conjunction with Winterson's text. Clein played at the ceremony of Winterson's wedding to Susie Orbach in 2015. She has also worked with choreographer and dancer Carlos Acosta.
Clein released an all-Kodály recording in 2009 on Hyperion Records. Previously, she recorded for EMI Classics where her debut recording, a recital disc of Brahms and Schubert cello sonatas with Charles Owen was released in October 2004 on the EMI 'Classics for Pleasure' imprint and her recording of the Chopin and Rachmaninov Cello Sonatas with Charles Owen was released on 25 September 2006. Her EMI recording of the Elgar Cello Concerto, in honour of the 150th anniversary of Elgar's birth, was released in September 2007.
- 1994: Duruflé: Requiem. Hyperion
- 2004: Brahms/Schubert: Cello Sonatas, with Charles Owen, piano. Classics for Pleasure
- 2006: Chopin/Rachmaninov: Cello Sonatas with Charles Owen, piano. EMI Classics UK
- 2007: Elgar: Cello Concerto with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vernon Handley (conductor). EMI Classics UK
- 2009: Kodály: 'Sonata for Solo Cello, Adagio, Sonatina, Epigrams, Romance lyrique for cello & piano with Julius Drake, piano. Hyperion
- 2012: Bloch/Bruch: Schelomo, Kol Nidrei & other works with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Ilan Volkov (conductor). Hyperion
- Laura Barnett (28 April 2009). "Portrait of the artist: Cellist Natalie Clein". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-10-04.
- Charlotte Higgins (2005-05-26). "Terfel hits right note at Brit awards". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-10-04.
- Rowena Smith (17 October 2007). "Schubertiad (Perth Concert Hall)". The Observer. Retrieved 2009-10-04.
- Lucasta Miller (22 October 2005). "A mind of one's own". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-10-04.
- Luke Jennings (12 July 2009). "Carlos Acosta (The Lowry, Manchester)". The Observer. Retrieved 2009-10-04.
- Rick Jones (2007-09-22). "Natalie Clein: Elgar Cello Concerto". The Times. Retrieved 2009-10-04.
- "Natalie Clein Joins Trinity College of Music Staff" (Press release). Trinity College of Music. 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-04.
- Natalie Clein official website
- Natalie Clein official MySpace music page
- VIDEO: Elgar Sospiri performed by Natalie Clein and conducted by Vernon Handley
- Natalie Clein on EMI Classics
- Natalie Clein on Rayfield Allied Management