Deirdre spent the first years of her life in Edinburgh while her mother was a member of the Edinburgh Quartet. It was after emigrating to the United States that she started having cello lessons and extensive chamber music coaching with Colin Hampton, cellist of the Grillar String Quartet and as a student in New York, she studied with both Bernard Greenhouse of the Beaux Arts Trio and Zara Nelsova. During this time as a student, she won a full scholarship to Aspen International Summer Music Festival and participated in Pierre Fournier’s master classes in Geneva.
As well as playing principal cello with European Festival Orchestra at Les Jardin Musicaux, Switzerland, Deirdre has held positions with the Scottish Ballet Orchestra as principal cellist, and as number 3 cellist with both the BBC Scottish Symphony and the Philharmonia Orchestra. ((She has been guest principal cellist with the Philharmonia Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, The New Queens Hall Orchestra, the English Sinfonia, , BBC Concert Orchestra and other orchestra and ensembles both in the UK and the USA)).
Deirdre has continued to remain very active in all her chamber music commitments including regular appearances with the Fidelio Piano Trio. In 1996 she joined the Smith Quartet specializing in performance of contemporary works both acoustic and with tape and/or live electronics. The quartet has commissioned many works and has performed throughout the UK, Europe, Japan, South America and Canada. ((They have recorded for Sony, Decca, BMG and others and on radio for BBC 3 and Classic FM and BBC2 ’s Culture Show with Steve Reich. With their own record label, Signum, they have brought out four CDs featuring music of Steve Reich, Philip Glass and others.)) In January, 2005 the quartet appeared in the award winning film, BBC2’s Holocaust, A Music Memorial Concert from Auschwitz performing Steve Reich’s Different Trains. And in 2012, Deirdre premiered, in Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival Reflected Glory a work for solo cello, film and electronics, by Deirdre Gribbin. In the same year, Her recording of Morton Feldman’s Patterns in a Chromatic Field for cello and piano with John Tilbury came out on Matchless Records.
Deirdre has taught and coached chamber music and orchestral classes regularly at TrinityLaban for the last 15 years. Since 2018, the Smith Quartet has been artists in residence at TrinityLaban in London coaching chamber music regularly and working with young composers to enhance their experience in writing for the string quartet