15 Most Inspiring Jacqueline du Pré Quotes

Jacqueline du Pré is arguably the greatest talent to ever play the cello. She combined mind, heart, body and soul to produce the most expressive tones ever to emanate from the instrument. Shy and at the same time bold, she was not only expressive, but played with precision, fullness and purity of tone. Here are some of her most inspiring quotes on music and life:

jacqueline du pre

“I’ve never been a career demon. I love playing cello, playing to people, but I’ve never wanted to do it every day and every hour of my life.”

jacqueline du pre

“I began to play it and to love it and I really loved it. … When I put the bow on the strings, it made a beautiful sound. … I got a little older … and wanted to go to play with other children as any normal child would, but practicing was never too much an effort and when I came to Bill Pleeth then I became very studious and worked extremely hard.”

Jacqueline du Pré & Daniel Barenboim at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on August 13, 1967
Jacqueline du Pré & Daniel Barenboim at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on August 13, 1967

 “I have the same feeling when I walk in a very beautiful place that I have when I play and it goes right.”

jacqueline du pre

“Playing lifts you out of yourself into a delirious place.”

The opening chords of Elgar's Cello Concerto, played by Jacqueline Du Pré
The opening chords of Elgar’s Cello Concerto, played by Jacqueline Du Pré

 “I love the physical thing of being on the earth that bore you. I have the same feeling when I walk in a very beautiful place that I have when I play and it goes right.”

jacqueline du pre

“The intense perfumes of the wild herbs as we trod them underfoot made us feel almost drunk.”

jacqueline du pre

“We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity. We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion.”

jacqueline du pre

“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.”

Jacqueline du Pré playing Beethoven
Jacqueline du Pré playing Beethoven

 “We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.”

Jacqueline Du Pre and Daniel Barenboim. Photo by Sefton Samuels / Rex Features
Jacqueline Du Pre and Daniel Barenboim. Photo by Sefton Samuels / Rex Features

 “The greatest thing is, at any moment, to be willing to give up who we are in order to become all that we can be.”

Jacqueline du Pré, cello. Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Sergiu Сеlibidache, conductor 1967
Jacqueline du Pré, cello. Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Sergiu Сеlibidache, conductor 1967

 “The signs of outstanding leadership appear primarily among the followers. Are the followers reaching their potential? Are they learning? Serving? Do they achieve the required results? Do they change with grace? Manage conflict?”

jacqueline du pre

“In some South Pacific cultures, a speaker holds a conch shell as a symbol of temporary position of authority. Leaders must understand who holds the conch that is, who should be listened to and when.”

Jacqueline du Pré and Mstislav Rostropovich in 1967.
Jacqueline du Pré and Mstislav Rostropovich in 1967.

“I played him the “Swan” … He took me as his pupil and I was very very happy, because I was so small and he was a great cellist. Anyway, from there on we had an enormously relationship for 7 years. He was a marvellous teacher and formed completely the spine of my cello play.”

jacqueline du pre

“Off all the cellists I’ve ever met of this generation you are the most interesting, you can go the farthest – farther than me.” (Mstislav Rostropovitch to Jaqueline Du Pre)

Du Pré died in London on 19 October 1987 at 42, and is buried in Golders Green Jewish Cemetery, London, UK.
Du Pré died in London on 19 October 1987 at 42, and is buried in Golders Green Jewish Cemetery, London, UK.

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