The British cellist featured on ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ by The Beatles and was a prolific performer and pedagogue


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Cellist Joy Hall

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Born in 1920, Joy studied with Herbert Walenn at the London Cello School and the Royal Academy of Music. During the war she gave numerous concerts for armed forces personnel and performed in the entire first Proms season to take place in the Royal Albert Hall, following the bombing of the Queen’s Hall.

In 1950 she studied with Pablo Casals, acting as a sounding board as he reworked his interpretations of Bach for the first Prades Festival. She became a leading continuo player, working with many prominent early music artists and performing extensively as a member of the Julian Bream Consort. As a chamber musician Joy was co-founder of the Delmé Quartet having previously been a member of the all-female Ebsworth and Zorian quartets, and the  Amici Quartet. In the 1980s she founded the Rasumovsky Quartet. Her eclectic career ranged from international touring with classical ensembles to collaborations with The Beatles, Spike Milligan and Charlie Chaplin. 

Joy performed in the first Edinburgh Festival in 1947 and the first Aldeburgh Festival in 1948, returning regularly to both. At Aldeburgh she developed a deep friendship with Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears. Highlights included performing  and recording the complete Monteverdi madrigals with Janet Baker and Raymond Leppard and playing trios with Yehudi Menuhin and Britten. A long association with Dartington Summer School included working alongside Stravinsky for a month in 1957.  

In her later years she developed her passion for pottery and painting, her final exhibition taking place when she was 98.  

As a teacher she was an inspiration to many. A frequent comment was ‘never be dull!’ This was surely a mantra for her own life, to which all who were fortunate enough to know her will attest.

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