Dorothy Bishop, 'cellist
Though I've played the cello most of my life, I spent my early years playing strictly classical repertoire: in solo recitals, orchestras, and chamber music groups all over the world. When we started Allegra (see links on left), in 1982, all that changed. With two violins, a viola, and of course the cello, we play about 100 "gigs" per year, and we've found that people especially like our lighter music - show tunes, jazz, the Beatles. I started writing arrangements for the group, and I became hooked.
In the last few years, I started to do more solo playing - from the Bach Marathon, which I love, to background music for parties of hundreds (yes, you can hear the cello from across the room). I'm still playing on stage, but now I've added programs of lighter music that encourage the audience to sing and dance along.
My horizons are still expanding - I've done "gigs" with harpists or guitarists, I've improvised cello parts for CDs of gospel music or folk guitar, I've arranged quartet parts to back up a rock group. I'm fortunate to live in a booming city, where every year brings exciting new projects and opportunities.
about my cello
In the mid-nineties I was introduced to a beautiful old cello, made by Joseph Hill Sr. in 1757. The first note I played on it stole my heart, and I have hade the incredible good fortune to "own" it ever since. Its sound was made to share with the world - something this extraordinary can never be owned in the true sense of the word.
This cello has been with me all over Western Canada, and is heard throughout the world on various recordings. Everywhere the reaction is the same: whether in a large noisy room, in a concert hall, or in the most intimate setting, the sound wraps itself around the listener and works its magic . It does not intrude, but fills the spaces between us. I am thankful every day to have it entrusted to me
reviews and comments
"You are a great musician and a full-blooded cellist!" -Wilfried F., Germany
". . .it is great to dance while you are playing cello!" -Lisa D.
"It is always a very special musical event when you play." -Christine A.
"Dorothy's rendition of Mendelssohn was unpretentious, yet gracefully lyric." -Calgary Herald
"...whoever says a 'cello can't sound like a stand-up bass should listen to Dorothy Bishop..." -Jasper Booster
"Bishop's cello is a subtle, near perfect element in several of the songs. It is understated and gorgeous." -Vox Magazine
*Two Sides of Allegra (45 rpm single) 1984
*Eckhardt-Gramatte Concertino and Britten Sonata in C (LP with pianist Delores Keahey) 1985, Discopaedia
*Baroque n' Beatles n' Blues (CD, Allegra String Quartet - see link on left), 1996, Black Bear Records,
*Cello Dreams (CD - see link), 2001, Black Bear Records. Available on iTunes and cdbaby.
Bishop King Castle (CD with Peter D'Amico, 2015(?), Black Bear Records. Available on iTunes and cdbaby.
You can also hear me on tracks of numerous recordings by other artists, for instance:
Dream On (Barton Wallace Ministries), She Can't Cook or Sew and She Won't Scrub Your Floors (Mark David Stewart), Dancing on the Moon Contigo (Oscar Lopez), Living for the Stars (Cathy Miller), One Stitch at a Time (Cathy MIller), Plus de Frontières (Crystal Plamondon), Ani Ma'amin (Rebecca Levant), Edge of Shadow (Curt Young), Wishlist (Phyllis Sinclair). I've also played the mandatory improvised cello solo for the death-remembrance scene in a locally-produced film.
Allegra is also featured on the EMI classical album made to commemorate CKUA's 70th year of broadcasting, and on albums by such artists as Deborah Nyack and Deanne Matley, as well as on locally-produced films.
for sound bites:
I taught cello through Mount Royal College, but I've semi-retired. For private lessons, email me at
If you are interested in hearing me play, or if you want leads to other musicians, please email me.