Sophie Harris, Cellist


Since I was a small child I have loved the thrill of the creative, the exuberance of expressing something intangible. Whether it was making up plays and crazy dancing with my siblings or singing the song of my magical cello. I feel that this thread forms the narrative of my life. The description of the humane and our fascination with what we are and are not.

Sophie Harris portrait, holding cello

In our time we have seen incredible advancement in science and technology but I wonder whether our emotional intelligence has taken a less important role, our kindness and humility? I feel that listening to our instinctive selves through the creative passion is essential to the flourishing of mankind. Remembering our connection to each other and the universe.

I had the privilege of studying with William Pleeth for many years as a child. His sense of freedom and awe have been a life long gift enriching my time as a musician. I have travelled with an open heart to the many amazing ensembles and individuals with whom I have worked and collaborated over the years.

Sophie Harris is a great cellist and her approach to the instrument comes closest to my ideal…

Gavin Bryars

In 2014 I embarked on fresh explorations, a CD of my improvised compositions realized with the help of my dear friend Rick Koster (with whom I play in the Duke Quartet) and live performances of these compositions alongside recitations of my poetry. It is a deeply personal experience and unlike any other that I have so far had as a performer. I have been lucky to work with wonderful young cellists both in the UK and abroad, collaborating on extended cello technique and improvisation to perform my music. Encouraging them to leap into the unknown and witnessing their stories unfold makes me feel hopeful for the future language of music.

I am currently conceiving a multi media piece, a sort of film art sculpture, to augment my music and spoken text.

My professional life started as a founder member of The Smith Quartet with whom I travelled the world and gave acclaimed performances and premieres of new work. This wonderful beginning fuelled my primary passions for chamber music and working with composers.

To say that Sophie Harris is a fabulous cellist and an extraordinary musician is, in her case, merely to state the obvious and scratch the surface. Sophie simply isn’t interested in ‘impressing’ with her formidable gifts. What Sophie is interested in is using these gifts to explore the language of music, as both composer and cellist…

Julian Marshall, composer

I have been gifted with a series of amazing cello works written for me by Gavin Bryars, Django Bates, Graham Fitkin, Rolf Hind and Isidora Zebeljan, Jocelyn Pook to name a few. I have worked with the finest artists and ensembles Duke Quartet, Brodsky Quartet, Balanescu Quartet, Gavin Bryars Ensemble, Hilliard Ensemble, Ensemble Moderne, Michael Nyman Band, Jocelyn Pook Ensemble, Sam Rivers, Pierre Boulez, Melody Gardot, and given many world premieres.

The most profound gift of my life has been meeting my husband, the remarkable musician Ian Belton, and our two amazing children are the blessings of our life together.