Polly is a professional freelance cellist based in the UK, where she performs as an improviser, chamber musician, soloist and session musician, alongside working as an educator, facilitator and composer. She is a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, where she studied cello with Emma Ferrand.
In 2016, Polly travelled to The Banff Centre, Canada, where she worked as a musician in residence, collaborating with other musicians from around the world and writing her own music for multitrack cello. She now writes and performs her own compositions using a loop pedal and other effects pedals. Performances include Lancaster Jazz Festival, Manchester International Festival, Aldeburgh Festival, Just So Festival, supporting Manchester Collective, Matt & Phreds and Band on the Wall. Polly also writes and records music for film/TV, working as a composer for Exodus Music.
As a session musician, Polly has played with artists including Bill Laurance, Everything Everything, The Charlatans, Fenne Lily, Slow Readers Club, Palace, Island and Drift Chamber, amongst others.
Polly passion lies in improvising and experimenting with music in an abundance of different styles and genres. She plays the role of “lead cello” in an indie/rock band called Ideal Forgery; in a folk cello trio called Rowan; and in a classical guitar/cello duo called Ithoni Duo. Polly is an active session musician, recording as a soloist and as part of different ensembles. She plays with orchestras including the Kaleidoscope Orchestra, Street Orchestra Live, the Untold Orchestra, Gatecrasher Orchestra and Joe Duddell’s No.6 Ensemble.
Alongside a busy freelance career, Polly has worked as a teaching artist with Opera North’s In Harmony project, which takes music into primary schools in deprived areas of Leeds. Throughout the pandemic, Polly also taught for Liverpool Philharmonic’s In Harmony program. Currently Polly works holds the role as cello tutor for Olympias Music Foundation based in Manchester.
Polly has also led various workshops in creative music making on behalf of Opera North’s education department and now delivers her own workshops in improvisation, creative composition, how to use loop pedals, as well as sessions in overcoming performance anxiety to organisations across the UK, including Sheffield Music Hub, Peak District Music Service, Leicester Music Service and Music in Secondary Schools Trust. In 2021, Polly was a proud mentor for Sheffield’s Hubfest Momentum.
Another huge passion of Polly’s is for taking music into healthcare settings. She has worked for a number of years as a musician on the wards of Manchester Children’s Hospital, making music with the patients, staff and families on behalf of LIME Music for Health, now Songbirds Music UK.