Carel Henn was born in Bloemfontein 1972 and started his musical studies at the age of eight as a piano student of Olga Nel and later continued his piano studies at the University of the Orange Free State under Marie Wels and Catharina Struthers. His cello studies started at the age of eleven under the guidance of Michael Haller in Bloemfontein and he remained a student of his at the university for 10 years. In 1994 he obtained a B.A. (Music) degree at the UOFS with German and Cello as main subjects. During his years at school and university Carel played in different orchestras at the OFS Musicon and ended up as principal cellist in the Free State Youth Orchestra.

During his years as student he also worked as cellist in the Pacofs Orchestra and the Consortium Musicum, the prestigious string ensemble of the University. During these years he also appeared with these orchestras as soloist on numerous occasions. In Bloemfontein Carel was also awarded several bursaries and scholarships amongst others the FAK Music Prize and the Pacofs Music Award. He also took part in several competitions and won the second prize of the Clem de Boeck Competition as well as the String Category and overall second prize in the ATKV Forte Competition.

From 1990-1993 he was member of the National Youth Orchestra and from 1994 to 1996 member of the Jeunesses Musicales World Youth Orchestra with whom he toured Canada, Belgium, Germany and Denmark. The sections received coaching from members of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra while the orchestra itself was conducted by Lord Yehudi Menuhin. During his studies he also had master classes with Mark Drobinsky, Eric Martens, Tamas Varga, Ralph Kirshbaum and Suren Bagratuni. He also studied with John Wille for a year and in Scotland was a student of Robert Irvine.

He left Bloemfontein at the end of 1994 to take up a position in the National Chamber Orchestra in Mmabatho in the North West Province and later become the principal cellist in this orchestra, a position that he held for 2 years. During this time he obtained the Performer's Licentiate of Unisa with distinction and also appeared with the National Chamber Orchestra as soloist on several occasions, amongst others playing the Concerto in D major by Haydn as well as Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations. During this time he also received a scholarship from the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music that enabled him to further his studies at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow where he obtained an M.Mus (Performance) degree with distinction. At the academy he was a member of several orchestras and chamber music groups and worked with renowned musicians such as William Conway, Phillip Ledger and Hester Dickson. During his studies in Scotland he took part in an apprenticeship scheme with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and also won the Ian Watt String Competition. Here he also appeared as soloist twice with the RSAMD Orchestra playing the Concerto in a min by Saint-Saëns and the Concerto no.1 by Shostakovich.

In 1996 Carel got married to Carolina, a psychologist, and they settled in Johannesburg in 1998 and have been living there since. He first joined the National Symphony Orchestra and in 2000 was a founder member of the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra.

He performs regularly as chamber musician, recitalist and soloist all over South Africa. Amongst his favorite works are Sonatas by Brahms, Beethoven, Prokovieff, Shostakovich, Debussy, Strauss, Rachmaninoff, Chopin and Franck and for this he often teams up with his pianist partner of 15 years, Elize Kruger. His Concerto repertoire includes concertos by Haydn, Elgar, Boccherini, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky and Schumann and he also collaborated with his violinist friend Serge Cuca in performances of the Double Concerto by Brahms and the Triple Concerto by Beethoven. In recent years he has appeared as soloist with the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra, the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra, the Rand Symphony Orchestra and the newly formed Gauteng Philharmonic Orchestra. He is a keen chamber musician and has performed with various chamber music groups, amongst others the Promenade Ensemble, the Lyric Ensemble, the Madrigal Ensemble, the Festive Ensemble and Musica Romantica.

Since 2004 has been the regular cellist in the Vienna String Quartet, playing concerts and functions all over Southern Africa as well as the neibouring countries. He is also a member of the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra, the Miagi Orchestra and Johannesburg Music Initiative Orchestra.

In 2007 he appeared as solo cellist in a performance of Karl Jenkins's "The Armed Man" with the composer himself conducting. He has also been on stage playing for Skouspel since 2006 appearing with some of the biggest Afrikaans pop stars. He was also cellist for the productions of The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast, Phantom of the Opera and Sound of Music and also featured on the South African recording release of The Lion King. He is a frequent recording artist and has played on various commercial recordings, amongst other for CD recordings of Nianell, Nadine, Four Jacks and a Jill, Jannie Moolman, Coenie de Villiers, Joe Niemand, Bok van Blerk, The Afro Tenors, Beth Chapman, Charl Du Plessis, Phil Cox, Laurika Rauch, and 4 CD's for Salon Music. He is also doing regular recordings for radio and television adverts and jingles and is a keen improviser in this capacity. He has appeared on inserts for television in "Kwela" and Steve Hofmeyer's production of "Dis Hoe dit is met Steve". He helped with the music arrangement and recording of the film "House of Love" produced by Jan Lampen and screened in 2007 on SABC2. He regularly plays at the major arts festivals including the Grahamstown Arts Festival, the KKNK Arts Festival in Oudtshoorn, the Vryfees in Bloemfontein, the Wakkerstroom Arts Festival and the Aardklop Arts Festival in Potchefstroom. In recent years he was also invited to do concerts with visiting artists such as Josh Groban, Katherine Jenkins, Richard Clayderman, Prime Circle and the Parlotones.

His debut solo CD "Appassionato" was released in 2004 and was nominated for a Kanna award at the 2004 KKNK and in 2005 won a GMT for the best classical album of the year. He released his second album in 2010 titled “Flying Solo” containing arrangements for various cello tracks dubbed over one another.

Carel is also playing piano in his free time and took the more serious challenge of achieving his grade 8 ABRSM piano exam with distinction in 2013. Recently he has also ventured more into conducting and after doing much work with various school ensembles took on the roll of deputy conductor for Pieter Toerien’s production of Phantom of the Opera at the Teatro at Monte Casino. He also conducted a season for the Rand Symphony Orchestra in 2014 and will do more regular work with them from 2015 onwards. Another highlight of 2014 was his 25 year dream of presenting the 6 Solo Suites by JS Bach and this finally happened in September of 2014 with a 3 hour long concert of all six suites at St Brigit’s Chapel in Rosebank.

Carel is also a keen teacher of cello and has been teaching both children and adults for the past 15 years. He is currently teaching privately as well as at St. John's College, Laerskool Jan Celliers, St Stithians and at the Randburg Music Center. Carel lives in Randburg with Carolina and their three children Louis, Katryn, Maryna and their cats, Mattewis and Ginger. When time allows he enjoys running or gyming with his children and as a hobby involving himself with the financial world of share trading and property investment.