is taking a long holiday from playing on metal strings. She studied modern cello at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama with William Conway
, and has him to thank for still being a cellist. She loves playing bass lines, and loves the feel and sound of gut strings. She has been tempted away from the bass line a few times in her career so far – to play concertos by Haydn, CPE Bach and Vivaldi with The Academy of Ancient Music
- but this recording represents her longest sojourn on the top line for many years. She studied baroque cello with Jennifer Ward Clarke at the Royal Academy of Music, partly to avoid associating with the ultra-competitive world of modern cello-playing, but mainly to spend time delving into facsimiles and historical bowing technique.
She hasn’t looked back – a sideways glance to the gamba has led her to play with the viol consort Concordia, and she picks up that instrument in the group Ricordo too (see Linn Records CD "Virtuoso in the Making" – music of H Biber). After many years as principal cellist with The Academy of Ancient Music, she now plays principal with The English Concert, and is due to record CPE Bach’s A major cello concerto with them in 2006. Working with David McGuinness’s Concerto Caledonia has taken her not only into the world of Scottish baroque music but also into the world of folk/baroque/contemporary crossover.
Alison spends time teaching the baroque cello privately and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Her most famous student is Paul Bettany, who learned to play the cello with her for the film ‘Master and Commander’.
Alison McGillivray is an imaginative and stylish interpreter of Geminiani's six cello sonatas op. 5.more >>The Financial Times
Awarded Best Classical CD of 2005more >>Music-Web International
She offers sensitive, committed playing...more >>The Whold Note (Toronto)
...richness in embellishment...more >>Early Music Today
...superbly expressive and imaginative playing...more >>International Record Review
I have enjoyed this CD very much, and shall return to it often.more >>The Herald
...the disc, with its endless stream of stylish and imaginative performance strokes, is absolutely convincing.more >>ClassicalSource.com
This is imaginative playing of the first rank.more >>The Dominion Post (Wellington, NZ)
The sound is breathtakingly natural, making this a release that, while mandatory for baroque specialists, should be owned by all music lovers.more >>Early Music Review
Alison and her trio of co-conspirators have that something special in buckets.more >>The Daily Telegraph
Her warm, rich sound has a sunny autumnal maturity...more >>The Times
The music swings from sighing movements to cheerful jigs.more >>The Sunday Herald
Alive and stylish.more >>MusicWeek
A recording full of "expressive and imaginative sounds"more >>