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Principal cello/Treasurer: Julia Dickinson
The cello first appeared in the sixteenth century but its importance dates from the seventeenth century when composers started to use it in a continuo role to support the bass line. As its importance grew, composers from the eighteenth century onwards have contributed to the instrument's repertoire, and the concertos by Haydn, Dvorak and Elgar have achieved enormous popularity. Outstanding soloists in recent years have included Jacqueline du Pre, Pablo Casals, Paul Tortlelier and Mstislav Rostropovitch.
 
Cellos are roughly twice the size of violins, so to play a cello under the chin in the style of a violinist requires a player at least 11ft (3.5m) in height. As such players are very rare in Cheshire, England (though the problem may be less acute in America, where most things seem to be on a larger scale), the Alderley Edge cellists invariably adopt the more familiar posture whereby the cello is played the other way up, supported by a short adjustable spike at the tailpiece end of the instrument.
 
These spikes are viewed with some alarm by those who hire concert halls; and with good reason, as they can all too readily leave behind evidence of 'a good hard play' in the form of a neatly bored hole in the hitherto immaculate concert platform. The thoughtful cellist will therefore bring along his or her tiny piece of portable floor, which can be anchored to the chair for the duration of the concert.
Julia Dickinson has been a member of The Alderley Edge Orchestra for over 20 years, and has kept an eye on the Orchestra's financial affairs as Treasurer for most of that time.
 
A mathematics graduate, she spent 26 years in the computer industry, starting as a programmer but later in a senior marketing position responsible for main-frame computer systems.
 
Early retirement a few years ago has made life no less busy. In addition to her appearances as Principal Cello with The Alderley Edge Orchestra, she also plays with Wilmslow Symphony Orchestra and Stockport Symphony Orchestra along with more informal participation in a string quartet.
 
Somehow, this still leaves time for teaching assistance at a local school and mathematics tutoring at home, together with occasional voluntary work and family history research.
 
It's not surprising that Julia doesn't get as much time as she would like in her spacious garden where, as honorary Head Gardener, she can be found tending the plants while, within the Bramhall residence, clarinettist husband Gordon puts in some practice for the next concert . . .
The Alderley Edge Orchestra
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