Rebecca McNaught is a dynamic young British cellist who has performed internationally as a soloist and orchestral musician. She has a particular affinity to Elgar’s Cello Concerto, which she has performed across the UK at Merton College’s Passiontide Festival, St. John Smith’s Square, Gloucester Cathedral and in Tewkesbury Abbey. She completed her Professional Diploma in 2020 at the Royal Academy of Music where she explored post-romantic solo and duo sonatas by composers such as Britten, Hindemith, and Crumb, under the tutelage of Hannah Roberts. Performances of this repertoire included at the Two Moors Festival, Knighton and District Concert Series, and in Guildford Cathedral. She graduated with a Regency Award, along with the Vivien Joseph Postgraduate Cello Scholarship and the Rhoda Butt Award. Since then, she has been working as a freelance musician, including recording with the Manchester Camerata, in a cello ensemble with Sheku Kanneh-Mason, as a soloist at Milton Keynes International Festival, and has started working for the Royal College of Music Junior Department this year.
Born in Cheltenham to a home alive with classical music, Rebecca began learning the piano at a very young age, and, although the piano remained a big part of her upbringing, it was the cello that became her focus and she has been playing now for seventeen years. Drawn to both academic and practical music, Rebecca studied for a BA in Music at Merton College, Oxford University where she obtained a first-class degree. Alongside her studies, she explored a wide variety of chamber music, and performed the Mozart and Brahms Clarinet Quintets with the Holywell Quintet at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London, and the Holywell Music Rooms, Oxford. During her Masters at the Royal Academy of Music, she continued to enjoy expanding as a chamber musician. At Cowbridge Music Festival, Rebecca participated in the Chamber Seminar Week, where she performed Kodaly’s Duo for Violin and Cello with Elena Urioste, and Mendelssohn’s C minor Piano Trio, with pianist Tom Poster.
During her Masters, Rebecca performed as principal cello of the Academy Symphony Orchestra, including in Shostakovich Symphonies 8 and 10, Bruckner Symphony 4 and Rachmaninov Symphonic Dances with conductors Sir Mark Elder, John Wilson, Robert Trevino and Edward Gardner, and performed at the BBC Proms 2019 in the Rite of Spring with Edward Gardner. She also toured Japan in June 2018 with the Academy Chamber Orchestra under Trevor Pinnock, taking Beethoven and Mozart to locations in Tokyo and Koriyama. Earlier that same month, she was privileged to participate in the Kyoto International Music Student’s Festival, exploring a different region of Japan. She performed solo repertoire by Schumann and Chopin with pianist Richard Gowers, as well as uniting with musicians from ten different countries from around the world in chamber music and as principal cellist in the orchestra. She has also enjoyed expanding her outreach work as an Open Academy Fellow, and has created accessible concerts for people living with dementia in the Wigmore Hall and Leighton House, providing varied programmes of short works and providing spoken information for the audience. She has a distinction in the LRAM teaching qualification, and enjoys working with students of different ages and abilities on both cello and piano.