Photo credit: Beowulf Sheehan


Cellist Jay Campbell’s performances have been called “electrifying” by the New York Times and “gentle, poignant, and deeply moving” by the Washington Post; these are a few of the qualities that led to his First Prize win at the 2012 CAG Victor Elmaleh International Competition. His eclectic musical interests and diverse spectrum of repertoire have led to collaborations with musicians ranging from Elliott Carter, Pierre Boulez and John Zorn to members of Radiohead and Einstürzende Neubauten.

In 2014-15, concerto appearances include a return to Alice Tully Hall to perform Ligeti’s Cello Concerto with the Axiom Ensemble and conductor Jeffrey Milarski, and debut performances with the Alabama, Ohio Valley, and Wartburg symphonies. Jay’s Kennedy Center debut this season with pianist Conor Hanick on the Washington Performing Arts series was called “…nothing short of breathtaking” (Washington Post) and featured a world premiere by David Fulmer. In Summer 2015 Jay participates in the Ditto Festival in Korea, Chamber Music Northwest, and the Moab Music Festival. He is the featured artist on Hen to Pan, a new CD on the Tzadik label comprised of duos and trios by John Zorn.

Recent concerto highlights include his New York Philharmonic debut performing Tan Dun’s “Silk Road Encounters” from Crouching Tiger Concerto on a Young People’s Concert at Avery Fisher Hall, and his Carnegie Hall debut with the New York Youth Symphony at Stern Auditorium. He has collaborated with conductors Pierre Boulez, Matthias Pintscher, Jeffrey Milarsky, Joshua Weilerstein, and Ryan McAdams. Recent recitals include Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Italian Academy at Columbia University, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, and the Mondavi Center at UC Davis.

Jay has premiered nearly one hundred works to date, including concerti by Chris Rogerson and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang. In 2013-14, Jay premiered a new piece written for him by John Zorn called occam’s razor, and for the 2015-16 season, a new cello concerto titled Genus and Species is being written for Jay from American composer David Fulmer, a co-commission by the Human Rights Foundation. Jay has worked with leading new music groups including ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble), Ensemble InterContemporain, Da Capo Chamber Players, and Argento Ensemble. He has been honored with the Lieber & Stoller Award by the ASCAP Foundation.

Jay has worked with members of the Arditti, Takacs, and Kronos Quartets and has participated at Marlboro Music, Moab Music Festival, Music@Menlo, Rockport Chamber Music Festival, and Festival Heidelberger Frühling in Germany. He has enjoyed residencies at Vermont’s Yellow Barn Music Festival and at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Texas.

Born in Berkeley, CA, Jay Campbell studied at The Juilliard School where he received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees while studying with celebrated cellist Fred Sherry.


Stravinsky: Introduzione, from Suite Italienne

Debussy: Sonata in D minor

Elliott Carter: Figment I for cello alone (1994)

David Lang: i lie

Witold Lutoslawski: Cello Concerto (excerpt) with the Juilliard Orchestra

Brahms: Sonata No. 2 in F major, Op. 99, Adagio Affetuoso

Boulez: Messagesquisse for soloist and six cellos (excerpt)

Stravinsky: Aria, from Suite Italienne


  • Quotes

    “His athletic approach has nothing to do with display but stems from an effort to imbue every note with expression.”

    “The hushed intimacy of Campbell and Hanick’s performance was gentle, poignant and deeply moving…nothing short of breathtaking.”

    “…once Campbell wraps himself around the cello, you’re willing to follow him anywhere.”

    – The Washington Post

    “…subtle power and rich tone.”
    “…rich, rhapsodic colors.”
    “…Romantic flair and an instinct for the sweeping gesture.”
    -The New York Times
    “… a convincing program by the incredible charisma of Campbell, with strong underpinnings by Hanick. It is obvious that Campbell has a deep understanding of the most difficult and fractured modern compositions. He leads a skeptical audience from the beginning to end one note at a time. He never lets your attention lag for a moment, whether it is Bach or Ligeti… it is the mark of a great artist…”

    -Theater Jones

    -The Los Angeles Times
    “…with intelligence and lighter-than-air bow strokes.”

    -The Strad
     “Campbell’s sound is beautiful and dark, and his playing masterful…”

    -San Francisco Classical Voice
    “…Campbell journeyed colorfully and expansively, even vividly, through thick and thin…”

    -The Boston Musical Intelligencer

    “Jay Campbell’s cello playing was a joy throughout.”

    – The Boston Globe

  • Reviews


  • Orchestral Repertoire

    SAMUEL BARBER: Cello Concerto in A minor
    LUCIANO BERIO: Il Ritorno degli Snovidenia
    PIERRE BOULEZ: Messagesquisse
    BENJAMIN BRITTEN: Cello Symphony*
    ELLIOTT CARTER: Cello Concerto*
    TAN DUN: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Concerto
    HENRI DUTILLEUX: Tout un monde lointaine…*
    ANTONIN DVORAK: Concerto in B minor
    EDWARD ELGAR: Cello Concerto in E minor, Opus 85
    MORTON FELDMAN: Cello and Orchestra
    DAVID FULMER: Genus and Species (a new concerto for 2015-2016)
    FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN: Cello Concerto No. 1 in C Major*
    DAVID LANG: i lie (from Labyrinth Within)
    GYORGY LIGETI: Cello Concerto
    WITOLD LUTOSLAWSKI: Cello Concerto*
    MATTHIAS PINTSCHERr: Reflections on Narcissus
    CHRIS ROGERSON: That Blue Repair
    KAIJA SAARIAHO: Notes on Light
    ROBERT SCHUMANN: Cello Concerto in A minor, Opus 129*
    DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH: Cello Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major, Opus 77
    PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY: Variations on a Rococo Theme, Opus 33

    *preferred Concerti for 2013-2014

  • Programs

    PROGRAM #1

    Schumann: Fantasiestucke, Op. 73
    Matthias Pintscher: Uriel (2011)
    Rachmaninov: Sonata in G minor
    Igor Stravinsky: Elegy
    Brahms: Sonata in F Major, Op. 99

    PROGRAM #2

    Webern: Drei Kleine Stücke, op. 11
    Schuman: Fantasiestücke, Op. 73
    Webern: Zwei Stücke (1899)
    Schumann: Adagio und Allegro, Op. 70
    Kurtag: Signs, Games, and Messages (1987-2008)
    Brahms: Sonata in F Major, Op. 99

    Anton Webern, Robert Schumann, Gyorgy Kurtag, and Johannes Brahms represent a divergence of form and an intersection of content. Their shared dedication to the internal logic of their works, the expressive potency of the musical surface, and a reverence for the musical past manifests in four distinct voices. Despite operating under what may seem like four very different compositional orientations and temporal frameworks — spanning from tightly integrated atonal miniatures which last barely a minute to the upper limits of what the sonata, as a formal design, can handle — each composer’s range of expression is similar in scope and intention but presented in profoundly different ways.

    PROGRAM #3

    (unaccompanied program)
    Krzystof Penderecki: Capriccio per Siegfried Palm (1968)
    David Fulmer: Star of the North: Requiem for Zhanaozen (2013)
    Igor Stravinsky: Elegy
    Michael Finnissy: Doves Figary (1976/77)
    J.S. Bach: Suite No. 3 in C Major, BWV1009