Jo Cole ARAM FRAM – Chair

Jo Cole won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music aged 16, to study with Florence Hooton and David Strange. After further private study with Ralph Kirshbaum, classes with Pierre Fournier and William Pleeth and a period as Principal Cello of the European Union Youth Orchestra she embarked on a freelance career, playing as a member of the Academy of St Martins for over twenty years and as Co Principal Cello of the City of London Sinfonia and the Orchestra of St Johns.

Jo has played regularly with the London Symphony Orchestra since 1984 and has appeared as Guest Principal at the Royal Opera House, Opera North, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. She has also regularly been invited to take prominent chairs in many other major prestigious orchestras and ensembles including over twenty world premieres as cellist in both the Goldberg Ensemble, and in the chamber group Gemini, many of which have been recorded. Chamber music figures substantially in her performing experience and she has recorded English Cello Sonatas and Piano Trios for the BMS label and the Roberto Gerhard Cello Sonata and Piano Trio for Métier, as well as featuring as a soloist on several award-winning discs with the City of London Sinfonia.

After over two decades of high-level professional playing, in 2006 Jo took the position of Deputy Head of Strings at the Royal Northern College of Music, with special responsibility for orchestral training. She joined the staff at the Royal Academy of Music as Head of Strings in September 2010. Jo continues to perform as both an orchestral musician and in smaller ensembles when her teaching commitments permit.

Jo regularly receives invitations to teach in international conservatoires and on advanced level summer courses. She uses these opportunities to share her thinking not only on cello playing but her strong belief that musicians should have a broad grasp of all forms of performance and be immersed in all of the arts in order to have fulfilling careers and be communicative artists. Jo has spoken at UCAS [University and Colleges Admissions Service] conferences and Higher Education training events on conservatoire auditioning and has been an external examiner at the RCM, the RNCM, Birmingham Conservatoire, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the Royal Irish Academy, the Purcell School and St Mary’s Music School. Jo has been a member of the ESTA Council and is currently a Trustee of both the Tillett Trust, which supports young professional musicians at the start of their careers and also of the Pierre Fournier Award – a competition for the promotion and support of exceptionally gifted young cellists.

Jo was appointed Visiting Professor in Cello at Shanghai University, China, in November 2015, and in March 2016 she was appointed Professor of Music by the University of London and made a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music.

Jo stepped down as Head of Strings at the Royal Academy of Music in July 2022 embracing the opportunity to expand her activities externally in both performing and writing but remains as Professor of Cello there with a large studio of undergraduate and postgraduate students. Many of her former students hold prominent positions in major orchestras worldwide.

February 2024