Moray Welsh has had a very distinguished career as soloist and chamber music player, following his two years of study with Rostropovich at the Moscow Conservatoire. Born in 1947 into a musical family in Longniddry, East Lothian, and educated at George Watson’s College, while subsequently a student at York University the quality of his playing was recognised by Benjamin Britten, who then arranged an introduction to Rostropovich.
In Britain he has played concertos several times at the Proms, in all the major concert halls and with all the major symphony orchestras. He has toured abroad as a soloist with several British orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia, the RPO, and BBC Scottish Symphony, and appeared as a soloist in Scandinavia, Europe, the USSR and the USA.
His musical interests are extremely wide, and his records range from a disc of Baroque Concertos, to several records of contemporary music, including the Hugh Wood Concerto, which was selected as a Record of the Year by the Sunday Times. A recent disc of Herbert Howells pieces with the LSO was selected as Editor’s Choice in Gramophone Magazine, and his CD of cello music by Rachmaninov with Martin Roscoe was an Amazon Record of the Month.
Also very active in the chamber music field, Moray Welsh has directed his own string sextet – THE ARIENSKI ENSEMBLE – which won the 1992 Music Retailers Award for Best Chamber Music CD – but has also been a guest with numerous groups, including the Amadeus Quartet and all the major British String Quartets. He has recorded Bach Trio Sonatas with James Galway and Kyung Wha Chung, and has several times performed the complete works of Beethoven for cello and piano. Recent chamber music partners have included Andre Previn, Martin Roscoe, Yuri Bashmet, Midori, and Leif Ove Andsnes.
Highlights in past seasons have included appearances as a soloist with the ECO under Sir Yehudi Menuhin, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, and in November 1991 with the Hong Kong Symphony Orchestra, where his playing of Frank Bridge’s ‘Oration’ was praised for its ‘sense of passionate conviction and wonderful tone’.
For eighteen years Moray Welsh held a teaching post at the Royal Northern College of Music but relinquished that in 1992 in order to take up a new appointment as joint Principal cellist of the London Symphony Orchestra, with whom he has since several times been soloist in Don Quixote, the Tippett Triple Concerto, the Elgar Concerto and the Brahms Double Concerto, both in this country and abroad. Most recently with the LSO and Bernard Haitink he has played Don Quixote three times, and plays the Elgar Concerto again in October 2003 under André Previn at the Barbican. In July 1993 he gave the world premiere of the David Blake Cello Concerto at the Cheltenham Festival with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and in December 1995 the premiere of the Ronald Stevenson Concerto with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, adding to an impressive list of first performances and works which have been dedicated to him.
When not sitting behind a cello, Moray Welsh also enjoys skiing, gardening, 20th century British art, and has himself dabbled in painting and silversmithing. Another interest in recent years has been writing.
Moray Welsh plays on a cello made by Matteo Gofriller in Venice around 1720.