Praised by The New York Times for his “electrifying performances” which “conveyed every nuance,” American cellist Jay Campbell has already forged a reputation as a spellbinding artist. A 2016 recipient of the Avery Fisher Career Grant, he is well known for his eclectic musical interests, having collaborated with musicians ranging from Elliott Carter, Pierre Boulez, David Lang, and John Zorn, to members of Radiohead and Einstürzende Neubauten.
Most recently, Mr. Campbell was named artiste étoile (artist in residence) for the 2017 Lucerne Festival, the youngest ever to have achieved that distinction, which honored him with a familiar role in programming as well as performing. Last summer’s highly successful stint as artistic director of Ligeti Forward for the New York Philharmonic’s 2016 BIENNIAL underscored his outstanding contributions as both curator and performer. Working closely with Alan Gilbert, he created a three-concert series which explored Hungarian composer György Ligeti as a fountainhead of modern music; these programs spotlighted the well-known piano, violin, and cello concertos, along with works by Ligeti’s students. In addition to putting his exceptional musical knowledge to work, Mr. Campbell was also featured soloist on the second program performing Ligeti’s Cello Concerto (1966).
Jay Campbell has premiered nearly one hundred works to date, including concerti by Chris Rogerson and Pulitzer Prize winning composer David Lang. At the 2017 Lucerne Festival, he performed the Swiss premiere of Michael Van der Aa’s multimedia cello concerto Upclose, and the world premiere of a new concerto by Luca Francesconi, conducted by Matthias Pintscher. During the 2015/2016 season, he premiered a new cello concerto entitled Genus and Species, written for him by American composer David Fulmer, and cocommissioned by the Human Rights Foundation. In 2013/2014, he premiered a new recital piece written for him by John Zorn, called “Occam’s Razor.”
Mr. Campbell’s close association with John Zorn has resulted in over a half-dozen new works for cello. Hen to Pan, a feature disc with all new compositions written for him by Zorn, was released in February 2015 and named by The New York Times in its “Best Classical Music Recordings of 2015.” Also a serious music scholar, Mr. Campbell has written an article on the music of Pierre Boulez which was published in Zorn’s Arcana VII (Tzadik Composer Series). Forthcoming discs include George Perle’s cello concerto with the Seattle Symphony and Ludovic Morlot (Bridge); works of Beethoven, Debussy, Stravinsky and Pintscher (Victor Elmaleh Collection); and a collection of works commissioned for Campbell by David Fulmer (Tzadik).
Other highlights include Jay Campbell's New York Philharmonic debut performing Tan Dun’s “Silk Road Encounters” from Crouching Tiger Concerto at Avery Fisher Hall, and his Carnegie Hall debut with the New York Youth Symphony at Stern Auditorium, as well as a debut with the Alabama Symphony, Lucerne Festival Academy, Oakland East-Bay Symphony, The Juilliard Orchestra, and the Aspen Festival Orchestra. Among the conductors with whom he has collaborated are the late Pierre Boulez, Matthias Pintscher, Michael Morgan, Jeffrey Milarsky, Joshua Weilerstein, and Ryan McAdams. He has had the privilege of working with leading new music groups, including ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble), Ensemble InterContemporain, Da Capo Chamber Players, and the Argento Ensemble.
As a chamber musician, Mr. Campbell has collaborated with members of the Arditti, Takacs, Kronos, and Afiara String Quartets, and is a member of the JACK Quartet, a piano trio with Stefan Jackiw and Conrad Tao. He has been invited to the Marlboro and Music@Menlo Festivals, and has enjoyed residencies at Vermont’s Yellow Barn Music Festival and at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Texas. Other guest appearances include the Moab, Chamber Music Northwest, Heidelberger Frühling/Germany, DITTO/Korea, Rockport Chamber Music, and Lincoln Center festivals.
Recipient of awards from the BMI and ASCAP foundations, Jay Campbell was also First Prize winner of the 2012 Concert Artist Guild auditions, and Second Prize winner of the 2015 Walter W. Naumburg International Cello Competition, competing against more than a hundred cellists worldwide. Born in Berkeley, California, he began playing the cello at the age of eight at the Crowden School in Berkeley. He holds an Artist Diploma, as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School where he was a student of Fred Sherry.
Mr. Campbell plays on a cello crafted in the 1750s by Italian luthier Paolo Antonio Testore of Milan.