Supported by Patrick and Tricia McDermott
Helen was born in East Sheen, London and began playing the cello aged just 5. Her first teacher was Julia Pringle – ‘brilliant at inspiring young children’. Helen went on to study Cello with Margaret Moncrieff, and later with Dougie Cummings, Derek Simpson and Lionel Handy at the Royal Academy of Music where she won solo and chamber music prizes before graduating with the Academy's highest award, the Dip. R.A.M. in both solo and ensemble playing. Scholarships enabled her to continue her studies at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada, Britten-Pears School with William Pleeth and at Prussia Cove with Steven Isserlis.
As cellist of the Hellier String Quartet, Helen performed widely throughout Europe and Asia, including a private recital to the Princess of Wales. The Quartet studied with the Amadeus, Alberni and Borodin Quartets and were Ensemble in Residence at the Britten-Pears Foundation in Aldeburgh.
Helen played with the BBC Concert Orchestra for 9 years, and also worked as a freelance player with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, City of London Sinfonia and Irish Chamber Orchestra.
Since joining the Cello section in 2006, Helen has made regular appearances in the CBSO’s chamber music series, Centre Stage. She has particularly enjoyed the chance to perform with visiting artists including Baiba Skride, Sakari Oramo, Peter Donahoe and Simon Trpeski.
Outside the CBSO, Helen is Teacher of Cello at Birmingham Conservatoire and collaborates with fellow CBSO musicians Catherine Arlidge, Bryony Morrison and Amy Fawcett in the quartet 'The Stringcredibles'. As well as taking live performances and creative music making workshops into schools, their project 'Stringcredibles Apprentices' encourages young instrumentalists to create vibrant, interactive performances for primary age children, supporting classically trained musicians to engage more effectively with new audiences.