1. Tell us about yourself.
Jack Cherry, a professional double bassist and bass guitarist. I graduated from ARU in 2013 with a first-class BA Hons in Music and went on to gain an MMus in Music Performance from Trinity Laban Conservatoire in 2014. Since graduating, I have enjoyed a diverse career as a freelance musician working in orchestras, musical theatre and as a session musician. I have been fortunate to work with internationally acclaimed performers in renowned concert venues across the world including the O2 Arena, the Royal Albert Hall, the London Coliseum, Dubai Expo and Guangzhou Opera House. I currently live with my partner Vinny in our home in North London.
2. What is your fondest memory of Anglia Ruskin University?
I have many happy memories from my time at ARU, in particular the various music department concerts at West Road Concert Hall in Cambridge. My personal favourite was playing The Elephant double bass solo, as part of a performance of Saint-Saën’s Carnival of the Animals.
3. What has been your favourite job?
I love working as a freelance musician. There is a huge amount of variety in my work and no two days are the same! My career highlights so far have been touring a musical in China, performing the music from Harry Potter in Saudi Arabia with the National Symphony Orchestra, touring the UK with Andrea Bocelli and the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and performing last year at the BBC Proms. I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to do a job that I love that offers so many great experiences.
Diverse.5. How did your time at ARU help you?
When I started at ARU, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to go on to do and arrived on the first day with an open mind. I’m so grateful to the various lecturers who demonstrated such a wide range of musical knowledge, as it was instructive in helping me navigate a path to a career in music.
It was also great to be based in Cambridge and take part in musical ensembles and orchestras across the city. Playing regularly in different styles and with different groups helped prepare me for life as a freelance musician.6. What did you love about your chosen course?
There was always a creative and supportive atmosphere in the music department at ARU with musical performance at its centre. I really liked the breadth of the course, which gave tasters of so many different areas in the field of music. It was also fantastic to have one-to-one instrumental tuition included as part of the course.7. What advice would you give to current students as they’re preparing to graduate?
Students who are coming to the end of their courses should be proud of what they have achieved and certainly deserve to celebrate upon graduation. They now have an excellent foundation in their area of study, but they should also be aware that the real hard work is about to begin!
To students who have a career in mind, I would certainly recommend speaking to people in that field and asking for as much advice as possible. I would also encourage those who are going into a competitive field of work to consider further study; it certainly helped me hone my craft and gave me more time to make inroads into the industry.8. What do you know now that you wish you had known whilst studying?
I wish I had been more aware of the importance of effective networking sooner in my career. University is a great time to make friends but also a fantastic opportunity to meet other creatives, share ideas and seek advice from lecturers and professionals. Looking back, I now realise it is never too soon to start reaching out and making connections into the professional world.9. Who was the biggest influence on your career?
My double bass teacher at Anglia Ruskin, Daphna Sadeh-Neu was the one who encouraged me to focus on the double bass as a serious career option. While her career is very different from the one I have now, I was certainly inspired by her creative drive. She was the one who suggested that I apply for a postgraduate course which gave me the skills and contacts to launch my career. There are many performers that I admire but my teachers definitely influenced me the most.10. What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self not to be afraid to reach out to professionals and ask for advice and feedback. The worst that could happen is they could ignore you but the chances are they’ll be only too happy to help and point you in the right direction.11. Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
A few years ago, I wrote a one-man comedy show called Jack Cherry and Friends from the Fruit Bowl which I performed to a sold-out crowd in London. I then decided to take the show to Brighton Fringe Festival, which was a great experience. However, there was one night where I had sold no tickets and instead of calling it quits for the night, I ended up performing the entire show literally to one man and his dog who had just wondered in from the street!12. What’s next?
Coming up, I’m really looking forward to touring the UK with Titanic the Musical and joining the National Symphony Orchestra aboard the Queen Mary II for a musical transatlantic crossing in September. Beyond that, I will be continuing to practise and learn new music for engagements with numerous orchestras over the next year and I hope to spend more time writing, planning and performing my own projects too. I am also looking forward to tying the knot with my partner Vinny in July!