Michael Shaffer, Berlin, 1967

When I was growing up in Connecticut I was a fairly serious music student -- in composition and conducting and I was also lucky enough to have played the french horn well enough to be admitted into the local semi-pro symphony. One of the first concerts was the Schumann cello concerto played by Aldo Parisot. A few years later, in 1966 or 67, I was stationed in Berlin with the US Army and went to a concert being conducted by Leonard Bernstein's protegé Seiji Osawa -- I had been acquainted with Bernstein for a few years and I was curious how a conductor under his wing would fare out in the real world -- the concert featured "Pictures at an Exhibition" and I wasn't aware that the concert would also present the Schumann Cello Concerto performed by a player I'd never heard of: Jacqueline du Pré. My recollection of her entrance was of this tall, dramatically beautiful creature who looked like a great swan -- she took her seat, the concerto started and she waited patiently thru the short intro and her long arms wrapped around her instrument for the first note almost as if she was attacking it. With a lot of soloists, sometimes the piece controls them and they have to work to keep up with it -- with her it was exactly the opposite: her control and concentration was that of a much more seasoned player. The performance I remember well was as close to perfect as it needed to be -- the typically staid Berlin audience were surprized by the performance and didn't hold back their enthusiasm -- anyway, the bottom line for me was after that concert, I always had a crush on Jacqueline du Pré.


If you have a personal recollection of a concert or a meeting with Jacqueline, please let me know. Thank you.

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This tribute and all related pages are conceived and designed by Miguel Muelle purely as a labor of love, meant solely for the pleasure of all those who are interested in Jacqueline Du Pré. All photographs are credited where possible, and all recordings and corresponding photographs used are assumed to be copyright and property of EMI Records, Ltd., unless otherwise acknowledged.