James Jaffe, Cellist

Describing a recent solo performance of cellist James Jaffe, the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes, “ The tour-de-force performance . . . was almost literally spellbinding, holding listeners rapt with a broad palette of anguished sighs, aggressive outbursts and barely audible whispers.” Mr. Jaffe’s performances have been heard on Cleveland’s WCLV 104.9, and streamed live from the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. He has been a featured soloist with CityMusic Cleveland, the National Repertory Orchestra, St. John’s Chamber Orchestra, the Diablo Symphony Orchestra, the Prometheus Orchestra, and the Peninsula Symphony.

Mr. Jaffe’s captivation with contemporary music has led to a collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steven Stucky and performances of Luciano Berio’s Sequenza XIV. During the 2013–2014 season he will appear regularly in recital for Musical Upcoming Stars in the Classics, serve as Interim Principal of the CityMusic Cleveland chamber orchestra, and present the world premieres of chamber works by Rimas Biliūnas and Tim Mauthe.

Mr. Jaffe is a founding member of the Thalia Quartet, which presented over 20 outreach concerts as the Banff International String Quartet Competition’s Quartet in the Community. As a member of the Hudson Chamber Players, Mr. Jaffe performed chamber works with CIM faculty and distinguished alumni in Hudson, Ohio, former home of Encore School for Strings. Co-founder of the prizewinning San Andreas Trio and Trio Gestalt, he has also participated in the CIM Intensive Quartet Seminar and served as the cellist of the U-M School of Music Graduate Quartet. Mr. Jaffe’s chamber music mentors include members of the Juilliard, Cleveland, Takács, Tokyo, Brentano, Artis, Emerson, and St. Lawrence Quartets. As a teacher, he maintains a private studio and directs the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory Outreach chamber ensemble program.

Mr. Jaffe served as Principal Cello of the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, CO in 2011. In other recent summers he has performed at the Aspen Music Festival, Music@Menlo, the Casalmaggiore International Festival in Italy, and the Astona International Academy in Switzerland. His renowned teachers include Stephen Geber, Richard Aaron, and Milly Rosner, and he holds degrees in performance from the University of Michigan and the Cleveland Institute of Music.

He is a current member of the Canton Symphony Orchestra and has also played in the Akron Symphony Orchestra, the Stockton Symphony, and the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. James has been a founding member of the prizewinning San Andreas Trio and Trio St. James, and served in 2009–10 as the cellist of the U-M School of Music Graduate Quartet. He was a participant in the Intensive Quartet Seminar at the Cleveland Institute of Music. As a teacher, James maintains a private studio and has served as the Cello Mentor of the Detroit Symphony’s Civic Orchestra. In recent summers James has attended the Astona International Academy in Switzerland and the Aspen Music Festival as a fellowship student. He has also traveled to Italy to participate in the Casalmaggiore International Music Festival, coached chamber groups at Ann Arbor’s PhoenixPhest, and performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and was a participant in the National Symphony Orchestra’s Summer Music Institute.


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