Since joining the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1973, Martha Babcock has served as the BSO's assistant principal, associate principal, and acting principal cello, as well as principal cello of the Boston Pops Orchestra. Born in Freeport, Illinois, she began her musical studies at the age of six; at ten she chose to study the cello and made her solo debut with orchestra at fourteen. Ms. Babcock graduated cum laude from Harvard University; her cello teachers included Lowell Creitz, Aldo Parisot, and George Neikrug. Winner of the Piatigorsky Prize at the Tanglewood Music Center, she began her professional career as a cellist at the age of nineteen, when she became the youngest member of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.
Ms. Babcock has been a soloist with the Boston Pops on many occasions, collaborating with conductors Keith Lockhart, John Williams, Ronald Feldman, and Erich Kunzel in concertos by Antonín Dvořák, Luigi Boccherini, Edward Elgar, Robert Schumann, and Eugen d'Albert. Active in solo and chamber music performances in the Boston area and at Tanglewood, she has been a frequent guest artist with the Boston Symphony Chamber Players and recorded Dvořák's String Sextet with the group for Nonesuch. She has also recorded contemporary works for CRI and chamber music of Rebecca Clarke for Northeastern Records. Her recording of Camille Saint-Saëns's The Swan is on the Boston Pops CD "Pops in Love," conducted by John Williams; her solo recording of James Yannatos's Sonata for Solo Cello was released by Albany Records. Ms. Babcock's cello, the "ex-Feuermann," was made in Rome in 1741 by David Tecchler.