Joely Koos
Principal Cello

When did you join the ESO?

I joined the ESO in late August 2020. It was the most wonderful surprise to be asked; I feel very blessed and excited!

Tell us about how you became a professional musician

I come from a family of musicians – music resounded in the house every day. Both my parents were so animated about their work that I couldn’t help but be drawn into the family business. My mother is a pianist and my father was the principal cellist of the BSO for 28 years. I went to his concerts every week from a very young age (bribed with promises of icecream in the interval) and was fed a nutritious diet of symphonies. At first I would daydream through this feast, but in time I developed an avaricious taste for it – not unlike my gradual love of wine, spinach and watercress. My grandmother (a jewish refugee from Berlin) was also a huge influence on me. She adored classical music and was never happier than when she listened to me struggling through some Chopin on the piano or squawking through a Schubert song. I benefited from the fantastic system in the 70s of music education for all in state schools. So everyone in my little primary school learnt to play an instrument. I started, aged 8, as a violinist in a group of 15 and was so excited to play with others. A couple of years later I changed to the cello and so began quite a tempestuous relationship with this box of expressions! For my 6th form I went to Chethams school of music and then won a choral scholarship to Cambridge University. Having won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of music for my postgraduate studies, I finished at the Banff International Music Centre in Canada with a Countess of Munster award. I now enjoy a stimulating mix of solo, chamber and orchestral playing and am hoping for the music scene in the UK to regain its unique vibrancy. I love teaching too and am professor at Trinity Laban Conservatoire and run my own cello course – “Cello Dynamo”.

Any hobbies? 

I am addicted to Pilates and try to practice every day. It keeps me strong and mentally focused. I make sure I spend 10/20 mins each day for mindful meditation. My father is Hungarian and I am finally learning this crazy language through a brilliant app on my phone. I can now say “csellotok, es szeretek zenelni”. I sneak off every year to participate on a conducting course – I find it utterly fascinating and so very difficult. Hats off to Ken!

Favourite piece(s) of music?

I find this question quite unbearable – like choosing your favourite child!! I just love music in all forms. But if I was forced to choose only one composer or type of music then it would have to be anything by Bach.