JdP Music Building
St Hilda's College


The Jacqueline du Pré Music Building

The best modern music venue in Oxford.

The Jacqueline du Pré Music Building (JdP) is a beautiful, modern, and intimate music venue specifically built for chamber music performance and dedicated to the memory of the extraordinary cellist Jacqueline du Pré. The JdP is a part of St Hilda's College, Oxford and is located within its beautiful grounds on the banks of the River Cherwell. St Hilda’s College is committed to sustaining and developing the JdP Music Building as a centre for the learning, teaching, performance, and experience of music at all levels, at all ages, and for people from all backgrounds.


The Building

The Jacqueline du Pré Music Building was the first purpose-built concert venue in Oxford since the Holywell Music Room, which dates from the time of Handel. A joint fundraising campaign by St Hilda’s College, of which Jacqueline du Pré was an Honorary Fellow, and the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund raised over £1 million with the support of a wide range of institutions, trusts, and very many private individuals. The Music Building was opened in September 1995 with a gala concert given by the Medici Quartet and the English Chamber Orchestra, in the presence of HRH the Duchess of Kent. Steven Isserlis became the JdP patron in 1998 and regularly performs to a packed Edward Boyle Auditorium.

Designed by architects van Heyningen and Haward, with acoustics by Arup Acoustics, the Music Building boasts the 168-seat Edward Boyle Auditorium - now equipped with Steinway D concert grand piano - four practice rooms and an electro-acoustic studio, all with excellent disabled access for performers and audiences alike. The enduring spirit of Jacqueline du Pré is reflected in a striking glass engraving by Laurence Whistler and other works of art around the building.

Thanks to a legacy from the Rev. Brian Duke in 2002, the Brian Duke Foyer was added, also designed by van Heyningen & Haward. This elegant glass structure complements beautifully the original music building and is a great asset, serving both audiences and musicians. From 1994 to 2006, the College devolved responsibility for the Music Building and its programmes to a subsidiary charity, the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building Company. Its Board of Trustees, which included Fellows of the College and others with knowledge of the musical world, oversaw the establishment of the Music Building as a respected venue hosting performances by artists of international reputation, providing a base for prestigious Festivals, and promoting a range of educational and community events.

In 2001, the Belcea Quartet became the JdP Quartet in Residence - returning in 2015 for a special concert at the building's 20th anniversary weekend celebrations - and a long and distinguished line of performers continue to accept the invitation to perform in the JdP’s own series of concerts. Recent performers include Nick van Bloss, Michael Collins, Bernard d'Ascoli, Jonathan Biss, Joby Burgess, Brodsky Quartet, Richard Casey, Cavaleri Quartet, Natalie Clein, Nicholas Daniel, Mahan Esfahani, Fitzwilliam Quartet, Clare Hammond, Steven Isserlis (JdP Patron), Loré Lixenberg, Joanna MacGregor, Ian Pace, Piatti Quartet, Jonathan Powell (15-16 Featured Artist), Zoe Rahman, Connie Shih, and the Villiers Quartet.


Jacqueline du Pré

Born in Oxford in 1945, she studied under William Pleeth and made her debut at Wigmore Hall at the age of 16.

The following year she gave her first performance of Elgar’s Cello Concerto – a piece she played throughout her career to great acclaim. Aged 20 she recorded the concerto with EMI, which propelled her onto the international stage; she subsequently worked with several prestigious orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic. In 1971 she began to lose sensitivity in her fingers and other parts of her body, and was later diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Her last performance was in February 1973 and she died on 19 October 1987 aged 42. Jacqueline Du Pré was an Honorary Fellow of the College and the building is a memorial to her.

Jacqueline du Pré

Steven Isserlis

Steven Isserlis became Patron of the JdP in 1998, and each year he plays a recital to a packed Edward Boyle Auditorium.

Acclaimed worldwide for his profound musicianship and technical mastery, British cellist Steven Isserlis enjoys a distinguished career as a soloist, chamber musician, educator, author and broadcaster. He recently performed the complete Bach Cello Suites at the JdP and continues to enjoy performing in this unique space built in honour of a cellist who was very dear to him.

As a concerto soloist, he appears regularly with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors, with recent engagements including performances with the Berlin Philharmonic, Budapest Festival, Philharmonia, Cleveland, Minnesota, Zurich Tonhalle and NHK Symphony Orchestras. He gives recitals every season in major musical centres, working with pianists such as Jeremy Denk, Kirill Gerstein, Stephen Hough, Alexander Melnikov, Olli Mustonen, Mikhail Pletnev, Sir Andras Schiff, Connie Shih, Ferenc Rados and Dénes Várjon; and plays with many of the world’s leading chamber orchestras, including period-instrument ensembles.


Steven Isserlis
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