British born cellist, Julia MacGregor began her musical studies with piano lessons at the age of five and started the cello two years later. She was awarded a music scholarship at the age of 10 to study at Watford School of Music with Malka Cossack until she began her studies at the age of 17 at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester with Raphael Sommer. After three years of study with Raphael Sommer she began further schooling with Ralph Kirshbaum and graduated with a first class honours diploma. A further two years of study with Ralph Kirshbaum included two solo performances of Elgar’s cello concerto with the R.N.C.M. Symphony Orchestra. During this time, she was accepted as a member of the European Community Youth Orchestra and its Chamber Orchestra conducted by Claudio Abbado and Herbert Von Karajan. In Julia’s final year at the R.N.C.M., she held the position of principal cellist in the newly formed R.N.C.M. Sinfonia, formed in conjunction with the BBC to give advanced chamber orchestra experience at the highest level. Visiting conductors included Sir Edward Downes, Sir Charles Groves and Rudolph Schwartz.
Julia participated in masterclasses with the Vermeer String Quartet and Sir William Glock at the R.N.C.M., Christopher Bunting at Dartington, Zara Nelsova at International Music Seminar in Prussia Cove, as well as performing in Aldeburgh Festival with Hugh Maguire directing. She was awarded the Brodsky and Henry Fielding scholarships by the R.N.C.M. and the Martin Trust Scholarship for two years, administered by the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. Throughout this period her chamber music mentor was Terence Weil who was the original cellist of the Melos Ensemble of London.
Upon completion of graduate studies in Manchester, Julia was offered an assistantship to study with Marc Johnson, cellist of the Vermeer String Quartet and Raya Garbousova at Northern Illinois University, U.S.A. While studying at NIU, Julia coached chamber groups and taught undergraduate cellists the fundamentals of teaching the cello. She gained a Masters degree in Performance before returning to London England where she gained valuable orchestral experience performing with BBC Concert Orchestra, London Soloists Chamber Orchestra, London Sinfonia and Manchester Camerata.
Following her marriage to Iain MacGregor in 1983, Julia relocated to South Western Ontario where she has enjoyed a varied and exciting musical career. She has performed the Boccherini B flat major concerto and Rodrigo’s second cello concerto (premier performance in Canada) with Orchestra London Canada, the Elgar and Monn concertos with London Community Orchestra, Bruch’s “Kol Nidrei” and Dvorak’s “Silent Woods” with the London Concert Players. Other solo work includes working with the Gerald Fagan Singers, performing “Svyati” by John Tavener and the “Yiddish Suite” by Glick.
Julia currently performs with the newly formed London Symphonia, (formerly Orchestra London Canada) and the Stratford Festival, as well as being principal cellist of the Bach Festival Orchestra.
Teaching the cello has always played an integral part throughout Julia’s musical career. She teaches students from beginner to diploma level and many have represented London at the Provincial Finals of Kiwanis Music Festival, been finalists in the Canadian Music Competition, and members in the National Youth Orchestra of Canada.
Julia plays a Carlo Guiseppe Testore cello made in 1703 in northern Italy.