Born into a family of musicians, affectionately known as 'The Von Trapp's of Sydenham', I took up the cello age 9 and pretty soon set my heart on a musical career. After graduating from The Royal Northern College of Music, where I studied cello with Raphael Sommer (a student of Tortelier ) restricted by tendonitis from pursuing a classical path, I 'crossed-over' and, until 1998, was a performer and session cellist in

London's vibrant music scene.

In order to cope as a performer I explored the Alexander Technique, Tai Chi, Kinesiology, Yoga and Pilates whilst also following in my mother's footstep's teaching music in primary school's on the Old Brompton Road and at Brixton. I studied the Kodály Solfege method of teaching with David Vinden and completed a Whippersnappers pre-school music course.

Meanwhile, I joined Miró. The band ran a weekly 'acoustic' club at The Troudadour Coffee House, released records on our own label 'Secret Heart' and, with a cult following in the country, regularly toured Italy from top to toe. I also performed all over Europe and recorded with, among others, Hollywood beyond, The Dinner Ladies, Billy Bragg, Natalie Merchant, The Rainbirds (Germany) and Friday-Seezer Ensemble (Ireland). When Miró parted ways I began to write songs, became a 'street performer' and busked Portobello and Covent Garden. This lead to the forming of my band the Big Love Orchestra Om and the recording of an album, Early ~ BLoom, and playing Earth Spirit, The Big Green, Big Chill and Glastonbury Festivals

In 1998 I took over for a cellist on maternity leave, at the Brighton and Hove Music Service, and found myself teaching a version of the Susuki method to around 100 pupils at all levels for several months. I thoroughly enjoyed bombing round Brighton in a little grey van full of baby cello's and was particularly taken with the technical progression through the Susuki repertoire. I discovered I had a talent for recruiting beginners, who would ALL eagerly stick their hands up to start, after a demo that included Bach, Beethoven, Boogie Woogie and Batman!

 

Then, following a phonecall, in 1999, I found myself in an 8-piece chamber ensemble, on a whirlwind World tour, playing Jimi Hendrix with Nigel Kennedy. The pinnacle of a colourful career and perfect vehicle for my, at that time unusual, improvisational skills. This brought me to Malvern where I fell in love with the hill and a gentleman called Phil. Getting wed, I relocated and started a family. Further professional engagements took me back to Dublin, playing in Kurt Weil's Ich Lieber Dich at the Art Festival and to America, where a magnificent live version of our recording of Peter and the Wolf (illustrated by Bono!) happened in a Spiegel Tent narrated by the late Fergus O'Farrell. Closer to home I played The Big Chill Festival, now huge, held in the deer park of Eastnor Castle.

My late husband, Philip, owned a town mansion that boasted a concert hall and for a decade we hosted performance arts events and house concerts at The Grove Malvern. As my children grew up I concentrated on my own compositions while, bringing a variety of different methods together, I began to build my Cello'ScooL. Astounded there were no cellists at The Chase, I recruited regularly from Y1 in my children’s primary school, and currently have a spike of 'accidental' cellists in the local high schools. I also have a growing collection of technically graded top tunes arranged for 3 cellos, which are the result of my Cello'ScooL CLass that meets regularly. Meanwhile I took 2 students through to Grade 8 which they both passed with high distinctions and went on to 'mentor' Edward to do his LRSM, which he also passed with flying colours.

When my husband died suddenly in 2011 my children, Aletéa now 17 and Harry 15, and I were thrown a massive curved ball. Forced to move on, sadly, our home was sold to the highest bidder. We determined to transform the tragedy and fortunately the new owners have fulfilled Our Phil’s vision for the, now Elmslie, house and, beautifully restored, it thrives as The Taylor’s family home and an official Arts venue. After a time of transition our lives have also settled back down. Happily I have a wonderful new man to whom I am engaged to be married! My fiancée Owen and I have bought a cosy house together where I continue to raise my offspring, develop my Cello’Scool and look to release my own music out into the World by 2020!

Being primarily an acoustic musician, as well as concerts, I LOVE playing in gardens, at mind body spirit festivals and ceremonially for gong baths and blessings, farewells and wedding celebrations! With my 16” yurt, me and my cello are a regular feature at the ONE World Summer Camp, The Malvern Spring Garden Show and at Hellens Manor, Much Marcle. Meanwhile I session locally for artists and bands notably Babajack. I am passionate about the role of the arts in the 21st Century and committed to keeping playing music ‘live and kicking’. I am fascinated by pedagogy and promote the value of physically learning to play an instrument as a vital part of ALL children's education; while endeavoring to champion creating, as well as future musicians, well balanced and nobel citizens on planet Earth.

With this in mind, and wondering how to find more beginners, in November 2016 I launched SongS P A C E for-all-sorts. The class was conceived to create mini musicians with the added bonus of forming a community of family singers for my soulful sing-a-long songs. Always intended as a tonic! I have been astonished by my singers individual and collective progress as, harmoniously, they unleash their unique voices. Touchingly I have been gifted the name JuliLa!

Classes begin by connecting with ‘the season’ and where we are at via a breath or 3; after tuning in with carefully chosen chants.. gentle movements, designed to get energy flowing, are added; then, Sol-fa (so good!) is introduced to train the inner ear and refine listening and pitch control; we have fun learning well or little known, fave tunes, old and new, often with my own compositions thrown in for good measure; till relaxing maybe with a meditation to finish and leaving with a smile on our face! Each SongS P A C E session is an experience in itself or.. Classes can also lead to a grand performance!

Julia Palmer-price

 

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