CELLO’s mission is to create an eclectic mix of repertoire for every concert, shaping the program according to each venue’s interests while maintaining our commitment to diversity.
Meet CELLO. From its inception in 1988 playing classical music in the jazz clubs of New York City to its current international career premiering new works alongside both popular and classical repertoire in Universities and concert halls alike, CELLO has long been recognized as one of the most innovative ensembles on the concert music scene. This ensemble of four classically trained women celebrates the unequaled sound of four cellos through works based in jazz, hip hop beats and world and contemporary classical musics. Composers that have written for CELLO include jazz great Ron Carter, Peter Schickele, Reza Vali of Iran, Venezuelan Paul Desenne, French ethnomusicologist Jean Louis Florentz and 2005 Guggenheim Fellow Andrew Waggoner.
CELLO has captivated audiences across this country, in Europe and Asia with its unpredictable, dynamic, and broadly appealing performances. This past season they commissioned and premiered the 4‐cello concerto, Stretched on the Beauty, by Andrew Waggoner, with Daniel Hege and Syracuse Symphony. The group has performed on Lincoln Center’s Great Performers Series as well as at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Hall, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Kennedy Center in Washington. They have been presented by the Van Cliburn Foundation, performed as featured Congress Artists at the Sixth American Cello Congress and have toured with Community Concerts across the US.
In 1995 CELLO was invited by the Rencontres Internationales d’Ensembles de Violoncelles in Beauvais, France for a series of European debut performances and years later returned to Beauvais to open the 2001 festival. In 2002 CELLO traveled to Taiwan performing a 10‐concert tour that included an appearance at the National Theater in Taipei.
CELLO has recorded two albums: CELLO, which appeared on the ProArte label in 1990 and Subliminal Blues and Greens, which was released in 1996 by d’Note Classics. The group is also featured on Sony Classical’s Illumination and has appeared on the Fox Television Network, NPR’s Performance Today, Boston’s WGBH and has been featured in such magazines as Strad and Wired.
CELLO is based in New York City.
Julie Albers made her major orchestral debut with the Cleveland Orchestra in 1998, and thereafter has performed in recital and with orchestras in the U.S., Europe, Korea, Taiwan and New Zealand. In 2001 she won Second Prize in Munich’s Internationaler Musikwettbewerbes der ARD, at which time she was also awarded the Wilhelm-Weichsler-Musikpreis der Stadt Osnabrueck 2001. While in Germany, she recorded solo and chamber music of Kodaly for the Bavarian Radio, performances that have been heard throughout Europe. In November, 2003, Miss Albers was named the first Gold Medal Laureate of South Korea’s Gyeongnam International Music Competition. In America, she has performed with the orchestras of Indianapolis, Seattle, Colorado, Syracuse, San Antonio, Dayton, and San Diego among others. In addition to solo performances she regularly appears at chamber music festivals around the world. She is currently a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Two. October of 2005 marked the release of her solo debut recording on the Artek Label. (more at cellistjuliealbers.com)
Laura Bontrager came to New York City in 1986 to attend the Juilliard School, where she received her bachelors and masters degrees. As winner of the Leonard Rose Memorial Scholarship, she studied with Lorne Munroe and Joel Krosnick. Her commitment to contemporary music began with her acclaimed North American premiere of Richard Barrett’s Ne songe plus à fuir for solo cello at Juilliard’s Focus! Festival and continued in featured performances of works by Roger Sessions and John Tavener with the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble. Active on the New York freelance scene, Ms. Bontrager has appeared with a wide variety of orchestras and chamber music ensembles, in jazz and popular settings, and frequently in solo recital. She has performed with Leonard Bernstein, Michael Tilson Thomas, Leonard Slatkin, Sarah Jessica Parker, Bernadette Peters, Elvis Costello, and Barry Manilow, and has recorded on the RCA Victor and Sony Classical labels, among others. Ms. Bontrager is currently cellist for the Broadway show “A Tale of Two Cities” and a member of the faculty of the Diller-Quaile School of Music in Manhattan. She has been a member of CELLO since 1993.
An acclaimed soloist and chamber musician in major centers throughout North America and Europe, Denise Djokic has performed with the symphony orchestras of Toronto, North Carolina, Portland, Buffalo, Montreal, and Omaha, as well as Mexico City’s Orquesta Filharmonica UNAM and Brazil’s Amazonas Philharmonic, among others. She is a regular guest at many chamber music festivals worldwide, and also appears with the “Piano Plus” organization, which brings performances to rural communities throughout Canada. Denise recorded her debut CD for Sony Classical, and was a featured performer at the 2002 Grammy Awards. Her following CD release, “Folklore” (Allegro/Endeavor) received JUNO nomination, and hit the Billboard Chart’s top 15 Classical CD’s. “Folklore” was also featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered”. Denise has been the subject of a BRAVO! TV documentary, which followed her through a week-long recital tour. She was also a keynote speaker at the Queen’s Women in Leadership Conference, and was named by MacLean’s Magazine as one of “25 Canadians who are Changing our World”. Denise gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. (more at denisedjokic.com)
Caroline Stinson, born in Edmonton, is a regular soloist and chamber artist in the US, Canada and Europe, having played at Carnegie Hall, the Gardner Museum in Boston, the Smithsonian, the Winnipeg New Music Festival, the Cité de la Musique in Paris and Strasbourg, France, the Philharmonie Koeln qnd the Lucerne Festival with Pierre Boulez in Elliott Carter’s Triple Duo. She was awarded the 2007 J.B.C. Watkins Prize from the Canada Council and First Prize in the Hohnen Foundation Cello Competition, Germany. In recordings and performances, she has worked with composers Peter Eötvös, John Harbison, Kelly-Marie Murphy, George Rochberg and Steven Stucky, recorded for Albany, Koch, Phoenix and Naxos, and will record her debut solo CD this year. She also plays with Open End (a new music and improvisation group founded with her husband, composer Andrew Waggoner), Contrasts and has toured with Continuum and the Bang On a Can All-Stars. Her teachers include Alan Harris (CIM), Maria Kliegel (Germany), Joel Krosnick (Juilliard) and Tanya Prochazka and she is on the faculty of Syracuse University. (more at carolinestinson.com)