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Cellist Natalie Clein burst into the spotlight in 1994 with victories in the BBC Young Musician of the Year contest and the Eurovision Competition for Young Musicians. She was just 16 when she won the former competition and was the first British musician to win the latter. Clein has fulfilled the promise these victories augured, appearing on acclaimed recordings for EMI and Hyperion, and regularly performing as soloist with major orchestras in the U.K., Europe, the Americas, Australia, and New Zealand. She has appeared in recital with pianists Stephen Kovacevich, Kathryn Stott, and Charles Owen, and in chamber ensembles with such keyboard titans as Martha Argerich and Melvyn Tan. Clein plays a broad range of repertory, taking in works by J.S. Bach, Haydn, Schubert, Brahms, Elgar, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich, Tavener, and many others. Clein dedicates much of her time to young musicians, regularly conducting workshops and master classes. Since 2009 she has taught at the London-based Trinity College of Music.
Natalie Clein was born in Poole, U.K., on March 25, 1977. Her mother was a professional violinist and her father an amateur violist. From age six she studied cello, having earlier tried the violin. Her advanced studies were at London's Royal College of Music with Alexander Baillie and Anna Shuttleworth. She had later studies in Vienna with Heinrich Schiff.
In the midst of her studies the 1994 competition victories afforded her valuable career opportunities: she played the cello part in Duruflé's Requiem in an acclaimed 1995 Hyperion recording, and she debuted at the Proms in Royal Albert Hall in 1997 in a performance of the Haydn C major Cello Concerto, Roger Norrington conducting.
Clein continued to build her career throughout the turn-of-the-century era. She performed Tavener's Thrinos, for cello and choir, on a 2003 Decca CD. Her first major recording was an EMI disc of the Brahms cello sonatas in 2005, with pianist Charles Owen. That same year Clein was given the Classical Brit Award for Young British Performer.
In 2008 Clein formed a piano quartet with pianist Polina Leschenko, violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky, and violist Krzysztof Chorzelski. Around this time she was also becoming more active in contemporary music: in 2009 she performed several works she had commissioned, including Thomas Larcher's Solo Cello Sonata, which she premiered at London's Wigmore Hall. Among Clein's more acclaimed recordings is her 2009 Hyperion CD of Zoltán Kodály's Sonata for solo cello and other works, with pianist Julius Drake.