Dismay at sad death of a principal cellist, aged 53

Dismay at sad death of a principal cellist, aged 53


norman lebrecht

January 29, 2016

The music world awoke in sadness today to reports of the death of Christine Jackson, a livewire of the orchestral scene in Britain and far beyond.

Christine played principal cello in the Royal Philharmonic, Royal Ballet, Halle and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic orchestras. Latterly she played for Welsh National Opera.

Then she moved to Australia, where she was dubbed the Barefoot Cellist, playing with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and such pop musicians as Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan. She also worked with a didgeridoo artist.

But a brain aneurysm in June 2009 left her disabled down one side and her life since then was a struggle.

christine jackson2


As a teenager, Christine was regarded as one of Britain’s most promising soloists since Jacqueline Du Pre.

In an ABC interview, she said: ‘I can still remember my first concert, with a tiny chair, and a tiny cello. I was six and I never knew the meaning of the word ‘nerves’. I just played and I loved it. It’s opened up a whole world to me…

‘Through music I’ve managed to see more places in the world than most people ever dream of … we’re always on the road. It’s given me the opportunity to meet people from many different cultural backgrounds.’


Christine Jackson1

May she rest in peace.


  • Robin Del Mar says:

    Christine was a huge presence in the RPO but never principal cello. Really sad to hear of her death.

    • Holly Golightly says:

      Being in one’s early 50s seems far too young to die. Horrible. We never know what’s around the corner and must make the most of every day!

    • Stephanie Niemira says:

      Whilst it is true that Christine didn’t hold the post of principal at any time, she certainly did play principal on several notable occasions.I recall one specific time when she played one of the big solos;either William Tell or 1812, and for weeks after people were talking about what a beautiful sound she made.

      R.I.P. dear friend – forever in my heart.

  • Anne Stephenson says:

    She didn’t need to be principal cello so what she was a better player than them all ,she was brilliant,one of a kind,a star

  • Adrian Keating says:

    Vale Christine Jackson

    An original person, a genuine friend to all who were close, and a rare musical talent.
    I had the great honour to play the Swan Lake solos with Christine in 2007 in Leo Schofield’s Australian tour of the Paris Opera Ballet to Sydney.
    I always had the sensation her hands moved like water when she played – and the feeling of complete unity and acceptance in the way we played. She always said how much she loved my sound – a compliment I can truly cherish.

    and boy howdy she loved a Wine.


  • Helen Rowlands says:

    I had the great privilege and pleasure of growing up with Christine in my young cello playing days with Len Stehn. She was the most amazing talent and there was never even a glimpse of self importance or of knowing just how good she really was. We spent time together whilst she played in the BBCSO. She will be greatly missed. x

  • Patrick Jones says:

    I’m gutted – I connected with Christine as soon as I started in the profession and throughout our time in London she was an unlimited source of guidance, practical help and, of course, fun. She had so much personal generosity that I know that she did the same for so many and she was also an inspirational talent.

    RIP Jacko…..there’ll never be another like you!

  • Kate Walpole says:

    Yes gutted, totally gutted. Christine gave me my first cello lessons when I was 25 living in London. She was so encouraging and always told me what a natural cellist I was. Such kind words, she didn’t care I was starting too late, all that was important to her was to love playing the cello and to love bringing joy to people. Twenty years later I’m still a beginner cellist and I love it so much, she gave me that gift and love. My cello has even helped me be cured of Borderline Personality Disorder and Bi Polar.
    RIP Christine, you are always in my heart.

  • Marie Clarke says:

    I was at school with Christine and we used to have a scream avoiding teachers and cookery classes, trying to sunbathe in breaks, obsessing about boys, generally getting up to all sorts as teenagers do. I lost contact over the years but always kept an eye on her progress and occasionally bumping into her. A true eccentric, creative, classy and beautiful and an absolute tragic denouement to a short, sweet life. Our little life is rounded with a sleep. Rip Christine.