French cellist, composer, conductor, and teacher.
Tortelier studied at the Paris Conservatoire, where he won first prize at the age of sixteen, and made his debut a year later at the Concerts Lamoureux. After further study, he moved to the USA and was engaged as cellist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra (1937–40). After further appearances in Paris and Amsterdam he made his British debut in 1947 under Beecham as solo cellist in Richard Strauss's Don Quixote; subsequently he became established as a world-class cellist. As well as being in worldwide demand as a soloist, he also gave recitals in concert with other members of his family, including his wife Maud Martin Tortelier (1926– ), also a cellist, their son Jan Pascal Tortelier (1947– ), a violinist, and his daughter Maria de la Pau (1950– ), a pianist.
Tortelier's compositions include the Israel Symphony, written after a year spent on a kibbutz (1955–56). He was appointed professor at the Paris Conservatoire in 1957 and taught such distinguished cellists as Jacqueline du Pré;. He also presented a series of television masterclasses (1970) and wrote a number of books for cello and piano, including How I Play, How I Teach (1973).