Andre Navarra was born in Biarritz in 1911 into a musical family. At the age of seven he began studying singing as well as cello. When he was only nine years old, he was accepted as a student at the Toulouse Conservatory, from where he graduated with first prize in 1924. He then studied for two more years with Jules Leopold-Loeb at the Paris Conservatory, where at the age of fifteen he took first prize.
In 1929, at the age of eighteen, he joined the Kretly String Quartet, and performed with them for the next seven years. His solo debut was with the Colonne Orchestra in Paris in 1931, when he performed the Lalo Concerto. In 1933 he became principal cellist of the Grand Opera Orchestra.
World War II halted his career from 1939 to 1945, when he left his cello in its case, and served in the French infantry. After the war he continued concertizing, and toured the world, playing with the great conductors of the era. His recording of the Elgar Concerto with Barbirolli and the Halle Orchestra is considered a classic.
In his youth, Navarra was an athlete as well as a cellist, being an expert middle-weight boxer and swimmer.
He became professor of cello at the Paris Conservatory, and also taught in London and Vienna. Many of his students have become well-known cellists, for example, Schiff and Goritsky.
A series of recording's from the French label Calliope has been published and there is some good playing on these disc's (Bach Suites, Saint-Saens Sonata's, Schubert, etc.) He also produced LP's for the Capitol label in the 1950's (not yet re-issued on CD). The French label Dante has brought out four very excellent disc's from the 1940's.