• Born 1948
Often appears with
Anthony Pleeth has been one of the leading cellists of his generation devoted to historically informed performance practices. He has been conspicuous in his versatility, playing in orchestras, chamber ensembles, and concertizing as a soloist. Pleeth's choice of repertory has had a more narrow focus, however, taking in mostly Baroque and Classical music, with the names of J.S. Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Caldara, Gluck, Corelli, Alessandro, and Domenico Scarlatti, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven prominent on his concert programs and recordings. But Pleeth has occasionally performed on the modern cello in such repertory as Villa-Lobos' Bachianas Brasileiras No. 1 and No. 5 and in contemporary film and television scores by Nigel Hess, Nick Glennie-Smith, and others. Pleeth has made countless recordings over the years, with a good fifty or more available on such major labels as Chandos, Decca, DG, EMI, RCA, Hyperion, and Virgin Classics.
Anthony Pleeth was born in London in 1948. His father was the celebrated cellist William Pleeth and his mother the acclaimed pianist Margaret Good. Pleeth first studied with his father and became a virtuoso performer by his teens, making his first recording at age 13.
Pleeth later studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, winning the Gold Medal in cello performance in 1966. In 1965 he formed the Galliard Trio with Trevor Pinnock serving as harpsichordist and Stephen Preston as flutist. In 1969 Pleeth joined the faculty at the Guildhall School of Music as professor of cello.
The Galliard Trio disbanded in 1972, the year Pleeth joined Christopher Hogwood's newly formed period-instrument orchestra the English Concert. Pleeth would serve as principal cellist with the EC until 1985, but continued playing with the ensemble's adjunct group, the English Concert Chamber Group, until 1991. In 1986 Pleeth was appointed professor of cello at the Royal College of Music in London. Pleeth joined pianist Melvyn Tan in 1988 to record the complete sonatas for cello and piano by Beethoven for Hyperion Records.
Pleeth has remained busy in the new century most conspicuously performing on several notable film tracks: he was soloist for the 2000 film score to Gladiator by Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard and for the 2002 We Were Soldiers by Nick Glennie-Smith. Among Pleeth's more acclaimed recordings is the 2008 reissue of the Op. 5 Cello Sonatas of Geminiani on L'oiseau Lyre, with Pleeth and Richard Webb on cellos and Christopher Hogwood on harpsichord.