Meet the Artist……Corinne Morris, ‘cellist

Corinne Morris

Who or what inspired you to take up the ‘cello, and make it your career? 

I believe the great pianist Samson François nurtured a love of music in me when I was only 2 as I used to be mesmerized by any of his recordings and would invariably stop all activity to listen to his wonderful playing. As for the cello and becoming a professional musician, I was 11 at the time and it was a concert at the Royal Festival Hall with Paul Tortelier playing the Dvorak Concerto. At the end of the concert, when the hall had cleared, I remember climbing onto the stage and sitting there where Tortelier had sat moments before and thinking: ‘one day I too will perform in great halls around the world’

Who or what were the most important influences on your playing? 

I have had many wonderful experiences with teachers: Raphael Sommer, a great disciple of Paul Tortelier, was a central figure in my early musical development and later I had the opportunity to have several lessons and master classes with Mtislav Rostropovich, Paul Tortelier, Bernard Greenhouse and William Pleeth – all very inspiring in their own unique way!

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far? 

By far the greatest challenge of all has been, having to ‘give up’ my performing career due to a debilitating shoulder injury. The psychological aspects of ‘losing’ your career are huge and greatly add to the physical pain. 18 months of rehab and a strong determination to perform again and I am now back on stage! What a wonderful feeling!

Which performances/recordings are you most proud of? 

My first concerto appearance after my injury was healed will always stand out as something special. For me it signified that I had overcome the injury, both physically and mentally.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in? 

Yes, one where there is an audience eager to listen

Favourite pieces to perform? Listen to? 

At the moment: Dvorak Concerto, Shostakovich Concerto No1, Strauss cello sonata, Beethoven cello sonata Op 69, Britten cello sonata

My listening tastes are very eclectic and range from chamber-music (especially with piano), and opera. I particularly love Mozart’s piano concertos. I also love listening to Jazz, popular South American music (love their rhythms) and musicals.

Who are your favourite musicians? 

In no particular order: Clara Haskil, Itzhak Perlman, Mtislav Rostropovich, Joshua Bell, Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Fournier, Isaac Stern, Jacqueline du Pré, Yo-Yo Ma, Jonas Kaufmann, Martha Argerich, Paul Tortelier, Chris Botti, Barbra Streisand, Michel Camillo, Oscar Peterson

What is your most memorable concert experience? 

Performing at the Barbican Centre for Paul Tortelier’s Commemorative concert

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians? 

First and foremost, Music should be a passion if you are considering it as a profession – otherwise, the challenges along the way will be too huge and you’ll likely give up!

To very young students, I like to teach them how to practice effectively so that they can feel a certain amount of autonomy early on which I feel is important in helping them develop as human beings.

I will always try to nurture their own developing personality rather than imposing musical ways and attitudes.

Obviously posture and position at the instrument are very close to my heart and I am always checking and talking about this with my students

What are you working on at the moment? 

I like to have ‘ongoing’ works and those which I am preparing for up-coming concerts or recordings. At the moment: Bach, Beethoven, Strauss, Schumann, Korngold, Martinu and a UK premiere which I’ll be performing soon by Nimrod Borenstein.

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time? 

Enjoying a fulfilling performing and teaching career.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? 

Being able to do what you love doing

What is your most treasured possession? 

My ‘cello, even though it is on loan to me so technically it is not ‘my’ possession

What do you enjoy doing most? 

Exploring new things, meeting new people

What is your present state of mind? 

Entrepreneurial

This autumn Corinne curates a three-concert series at the 1901 Arts Club, London, exploring French music and song of La Belle Epoque. Full details and tickets here

Links to recent articles:

International Arts Manager Magazine: http://bit.ly/1f9ZnNR

Limelight Classical Music Magazine: http://bit.ly/1owFcK3

Gramophone article: http://bit.ly/1cb6LBX

British/French cellist Corinne Morris was well on her way to enjoying a promising career performing in the major concert halls around the world, when a debilitating shoulder injury brought her dreams to a halt. Despair turned to hope after discovering a successful treatment from the field of sports medicine. She is now picking up where she left off.

Corinne proudly marked her re-launch at the end of 2013 with her album The Macedonian Sessions; an 11-piece recording with the Macedonian Radio Symphony Orchestra featuring music from Tchaikovsky, Bruch, Fauré, Saint-Saëns and Piazzolla, along with a self-penned composition.

Corinne has a long list of professional accomplishments, including being a prizewinner of the Maria Canals International Cello Competition in Spain, and the International French Music Competition in France. Corinne was chosen by Rostropovich to perform at his festival in Evian (where he affectionately nicknamed her Corinotchka). She was also invited to perform and take part in the world-famous Verbier Academy in Switzerland, as well as the international cello festival in Kronberg in Germany. Corinne has performed throughout Europe and beyond, including chamber music performances with Schlomo Mintz at the Jerusalem Conservatory. She has made several recordings for France Musique, Bayerischer Rundfunk (Germany) and ORF (Austria). Her BBC debut recital was broadcast on Radio 3, and she is on the list of solo artists for Radio 3 programmes.

Corinne started the cello at the age of 8 and was a student of Raphael Sommer, a major disciple of Paul Tortelier. At age 16, she obtained an ARCM with honours (Royal College of Music, London) and continued her training at the prestigious Conservatoire in Paris where she graduated with a first prize in both cello and chamber music. She then completed a post-graduate solo cello performing degree at the University of Music in Vienna, Austria. During her studies, Corinne had the privilege to take part in lessons and masterclasses with Paul Tortelier, Mtislav Rostropovich, André Navarra, Bernard Greenhouse, Ralph Kirshbaum and Franz Helmerson.

Corinne’s story has inspired many in the music industry and beyond. As she re-launches her career, she is passionate about changing industry attitudes towards injury through regular talks at universities and conservatoires, and interviews for publications including International Arts Manager, Classical Music Magazine and Gramophone. Corinne’s story will also be the subject of a documentary to be released at the end of this year.

Corinne plays a cello by C.A. Miremont dated 1876 on loan to her by a private investor. 

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