Growing up in St Anne’s-on-Sea, Lancashire, meant that the sea and the beach were constant companions for Jackie until she left for college in her late teens. A piano-player from the age of four she began playing the cello at 12. Inspired by the wealth of music that surrounded her as a member of the Lancashire Schools Symphony Orchestra, Jackie soon made the choice to pursue a career as a professional musician.
As a teenager Jackie had lessons with Robert Glenton at Lancaster University before going on to study at the Royal Academy of Music under Florence Hooton. She’s since continued having lessons with various cellists including Radu Aldulescu, Bruno Schrecker and, for the baroque cello, Richard Tunnicliffe.
Jackie joined the CBSO as she left the Royal Academy of Music and just as Sir Simon Rattle began his 18 year tenure with the Orchestra. She says she couldn’t have wished for a better beginning to her career here and ‘I never tire of sitting amongst the wonderful music we play’.
Very early on Jackie became involved with the CBSO’s education work, which quickly became a very important part of her work here as she is ‘deeply committed to helping children experience, create and perform music of their own.’ Through the orchestra’s “Music and Ability” projects, Jackie has worked for many years with children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities and in particular with PMLD students. ‘Music is an amazing way of connecting with those who have no speech and very limited movement. It can have a transforming effect.’ More recently she has worked with people living with Dementia in our “Music Exchange” programme as well as devising concerts for older people for our “Cuppa Concerts.”
‘All these settings have been a great influence on my life and my playing.’
Jackie also enjoys taking part in the Centre Stage chamber music series and is a founder member of the CBSO Baroque Ensemble, playing on period instruments. In June 2020 she joined Julia Åberg to form the Driveway Duo, playing short concerts outside for local residents.
Jackie was awarded an MBE in the 2019 New Year’s Honours for her services to music and music education in Birmingham.
In her spare time she enjoys countryside, hill and mountain walking and helps to run a walking group in the region. She is a volunteer for the Heart of England Forest, helping to maintain their broadleaf woodland, planting trees and supporting their biodiversity programme.
Supported by Valerie Lester