Meet our Alumni: Ellen Baumring-Gledhill

Ellen Baumring- Gledhill was the only cellist to reach the Strings Category Final of BBC Young Musician 2020 and in the same year she won Junior Guildhall’s Lutine Prize. In March 2023 Ellen will perform the Lalo Cello Concerto with the Junior Guildhall Symphony Orchestra at Milton Court and the Elgar Concerto with members of the Glyndebourne Tour Orchestra, conducted by Ben Glassberg. In 2022 she gave two performances of the Elgar Concerto, one with the North London Sinfonia and the second with the Ernest Read Symphony Orchestra, as runner-up in their Soloist of the Year Competition.

In 2022 Ellen gave the première of and recorded Tendril for solo cello by John Cooney, composed for the Royal Academy of Music’s 200 Pieces Bicentenary Project. Earlier this year, she was invited to play alongside Thomas and Patrick Demenga for a recent London Cello Society event. In the summer, she will be giving a recital in Sittingbourne, Kent as well as a number of performances as cellist of the Regency String Quartet, under the auspices of the Royal Academy of Music’s Frost Trust Advanced Specialist Strings Ensemble Training (ASSET) Scheme.

Here YMC alumnus, Ellen shares some memories of her time at YMC and some advice for YMC’s young musicians:

How old were you when you joined YMC? Can you remember what your first day at YMC was like?

I was 10 when I joined YMC. I remember Marina greeting me when I arrived and getting slightly lost in the building as I moved from my theory lesson to orchestra, string ensemble and choir throughout the morning and of course the café during my breaks!!

What are your most special memories of your time at YMC?

YMC was my first real experience of ensemble playing.  Having grown out of ballet classes on a Saturday morning and starting to feel the cello was becoming more and more important to me, my mother and uncle suggested I audition for YMC where they both went in their youth! I remember my audition with Fiona very well (and it’s wonderful to be working so closely with her now). After hearing me play she offered me the opportunity to try for either the junior or senior orchestra and as a shy 10 year old I went for the easier option! YMC trained me very well for all aspects of my musical life – from the basics such as sitting up in orchestra and bringing a pencil to ensemble skills and the fundamentals of ensemble and orchestral playing. After YMC I moved to Junior Guildhall, where my uncle, Oliver Gledhill, teaches the cello and I learned with him there. YMC prepared me so well for the ensemble playing that was part of the Junior Guildhall timetable.

What musical opportunities have you been able to take part in since leaving YMC? Any particular highlights?

I went on to study at Junior Guildhall until I was 18, leaving with the Principal’s Prize as well as being the winner of The Lutine Prize, their most prestigious award, in 2020. As part of my prize, I will be performing the Lalo Cello Concerto with the Junior Guildhall Symphony Orchestra at Milton Court in March 2023. Over the years I was always encouraged to take part in local and national competitions.  This really helped my playing to develop, through preparing repertoire to a high standard.  Of course, there were disappointments but these outweighed the great satisfaction and enjoyment from performing in these settings which helped to motivate me to continue my cello playing (alongside all the school homework!)

When I was twelve I started to attend music courses at Pro Corda and it’s lovely to hear the current YMC students speaking excitedly about their Easter and Summer courses there. From this I developed a desire to travel abroad to masterclasses and summer courses with some of the world’s great cellists.  This included attending courses in Germany, the French Alps (in summer!) and after my GCSEs crossing the Atlantic to take part in the Young Artists Summer Program at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia. My final year at school was rather strange – not least because of the Covid pandemic but also because I spent half of it auditioning for music conservatoires and then preparing for the Strings Category Final of BBC Young Musician which took place a week before lockdown!

What are you most proud of achieving musically?

I have had so many wonderful experiences but I think I would have to say I am most proud of reaching the Strings Category Final of BBC Young Musician 2020, especially being the only cellist to reach this stage that year. I have watched the competition on television for as long as I can remember and I was so proud to be a part of it myself.

Where are you currently working/studying?

I am currently a Scholar at The Royal Academy of Music studying with Felix Schmidt and work at YMC on a Saturday morning.

Have you got any top tips for YMC’s musicians who are thinking about a career in music?

Work hard, take opportunities, enjoy the successes and learn from the challenges and disappointments along the way.

Ellen is currently a Scholar in her third year at the Royal Academy of Music, studying with Felix Schmidt.  She was awarded the Katie Thomas Memorial Prize and the Rhoda Butt Award for her achievement and contribution to the Royal Academy of Music. She previously studied with her uncle Dr Oliver Gledhill at Junior Guildhall as D’Addario Strings Cello Scholar, and was awarded the Principal’s Prize at the end of her final year. Other awards include the 2016 national Emunah Young Musician title as well as the Most Promising String Player at the Hatfield and Southend Music Festivals. Ellen has participated in masterclasses with Marc Coppey, Gary Hoffman, Maria Kliegel, Phillipe Muller, Miklós Perenyi, and in the Curtis Institute Young Artists Summer Program in Philadelphia.

We would love to hear from YMC Alumni! Please do get in touch!

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