Alexander Baillie


Born: January 6, 1956
Alexander Baillie is one of those rare musicians who began playing his instrument at a relatively late age -- 12, in his case -- and developed quickly enough to win second prize in a major competition by age 22, the prestigious Casals Competition (1978). Baillie has since become one of the leading English cellists of his generation, performing with equal success as a soloist and chamber music player. He has also become a prominent recording artist, and his repertory is broad, taking in standards by Beethoven, Brahms, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and Britten, as well as contemporary works, which he has premiered, by Lutoslawski, Penderecki, Henze, Schnittke, Takemitsu, Richard Rodney Bennett, Colin Matthews, and Mark-Anthony Turnage. Baillie was a member of the now-defunct chamber orchestra Fires of London and is a member of the Villiers Piano Quartet. He has recorded for a variety of labels, including Naxos, ASV, Nimbus, Lyrita, Regent, Unicorn-Kanchana, and Cala Records.

Alexander Baillie was born in Stockport, England, on January 6, 1956. As a late bloomer he quickly advanced and enrolled at London's Royal College of Music when he was 16. His teachers there included Joan Dickson and Anna Shuttleworth. From 1975-1978, he studied at Vienna's Hochschule für Musik with André Navarra, and later teachers included Mstislav Rostropovich and the cellist who first inspired him to take up his instrument, Jacqueline du Pré.

Baillie's debut recital was in prestigious quarters, London's Wigmore Hall, in 1978. Three years later he gave an acclaimed account of Dutilleux's Tout un monde lointain, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, under Mark Elder, as his orchestral debut.

In 1982 Baillie took second prize in the Bavarian Radio ARD competition in Munich. By the mid-'80s, he was an international figure, regularly appearing with major orchestras and in recitals, often paired up with pianists Piers Lane, Kathron Sturrock, and (later) James Lisney. Among his earliest recordings was a CD of cello sonatas (with Lane on piano) by Prokofiev (Op. 119) and Shostakovich (Op. 40) on the Unicorn-Kanchana label.

Baillie joined the faculties of two prestigious music schools: the RCM (1994) and the Bremen-based Hochschule für Künste (1995). Throughout the 1990s and early years of the new century he has continued to regularly concertize, often as a member of the Villiers Piano Quartet. Among Baillie's newer recordings is the ambitious 2008 Regent CD set of the complete Beethoven Works for Cello and Piano with pianist James Lisney.