A page from the series, "Great Cellists of the Past"


Contributed by
David Sanders, president of the Chicago Cello Society and owner of Montagnana Books

Sister of May and Margaret Harrison

English cellist, born Roorkee, India, December 9, 1892, died Smallfield, 

Surrey, March 10, 1965.

Beatrice was taken to England as an infant.  At a young age she entered the 

Royal College of Music in London, studied for four years with Whitehouse 

where she won a prize at the age of 10, and was 14 when she made her first 

public appearance as a soloist with an orchestra (London, May 29, 1907, 

Henry Wood conducting).  

She went to Berlin where she studied with Hugo Becker at the Berlin 

Hochschule für Musik, and became the first cellist, and the youngest 

competitor, to win the Mendelssohn Prize.  She gave a European debut 

performance at Bechstein Hall in 1910, and made many European tours, 

often with her sisters.  She toured the United States in 1913 and 1932.  

Delius wrote his double concerto for Beatrice and her sister May, after 

hearing them play the Brahms double concerto.  He became a close family 

friend, and Beatrice gave the first performance of his Cello Sonata, with 

Hamilton Harty (1919), and under Eugene Goossens she gave the British 

premiere of his Cello Concerto, as well as the first radio performance.  

Delius also dedicated his Caprice and Elegy to her.  

Other British premiers were those of Ravel's sonata for violin and cello 

(with her younger sister Margaret in 1923), and Kodály's unaccompanied 

sonata.  She gave the first radio performance of the Elgar concerto, with 

Elgar conducting; she also recorded it with him.  She played a great cello by 

Peter Guarneri, formerly in the Knoop collection.

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CopyrightŠMarshall C. St. John, 1996