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Biography
Eric Bartlett

Before joining the New York Philharmonic in 1997, cellist Eric Bartlett had already established himself as an artist of formidable talent and artistic integrity. He has appeared frequently as a member soloist with the world famous Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and is featured on several of their Deutsche Grammophon recordings. In addition to Orpheus, his solo appearances include the Cabrillo Festival, the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, the Anchorage Symphony, the Hartford Chamber Orchestra, the Aspen and Juilliard Orchestras, and the New York Philharmonic’s “Horizons ‘84” series. Mr. Bartlett is the recipient of a Solo Recitalist’s Award from the National Endowment for the Arts and a special Performance Award as a finalist of the 1987 New England Conservatory/Piatigorsky Award. Recent solo appearances include the Cabrillo Music Festival, and the Brattleboro Music Center in Vermont.

Recognized as a leading performer of contemporary music, Mr. Bartlett has participated in more than 90 premieres with ensembles such as Speculum Musicae, the New York New Music Ensemble, the Group for Contemporary Music, and the Columbia String Quartet, and he has commissioned new works for the cello from American composers. During the summer of 2000, Mr. Bartlett was invited by Marin Alsop to be a featured soloist in the North American premiere of James McMillan’s Triduum, the middle third of which is a cello concerto. He has served as either Artist-President or Vice-President of Speculum Musicae since 1990. Mr. Bartlett has performed at the Mostly Mozart, Marlboro, Aspen, Adirondack, Grand Teton, and Waterloo music festivals, and has been a regular participant at the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival since 1996. Mr. Bartlett served as the principal cellist of the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra and co-principal of Orpheus from 1984 until 1997.

A native of Marlboro, Vermont, Mr. Bartlett’s early teachers included George Finckel and Blanche Honegger Moyse. From 1973 to 1975 he was a student of Leopold Teraspulsky at the University of Massachusetts. He was awarded full scholarships to both the Curtis Institute of Music and The Juilliard School and received both his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Juilliard, where he was a student of Leonard Rose and Channing Robbins.

Mr. Bartlett recorded the cello music of Larry Bell for North-South Records on a CD entitled River of Ponds (which includes a collaboration with narrator Robert J. Lurtsema) and has also recorded for CRI, Opus One, Bridge, Delos, and Deutsche Grammophon. He has served on the faculty of the University of Massachusetts and is currently an adjunct professor at The Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music. He lives in Bergen County, New Jersey, with his wife, Orpheus violist Sarah Clarke, and their son, Cory.

“As a teenager I was exposed to contemporary and experimental music and was taught to listen with an open mind. It’s interesting, challenging, and it makes earlier styles easier to play by stretching one’s ability to hear complex music.”

Q&A with Eric Bartlett
THE FACTS: Born in Marlboro, Vermont. Attended the University of Massachusetts; received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School. Served as co-principal cellist of Orpheus and principal cellist of the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra from 1984 to 1997. Member of Speculum Musicae since 1982. At the Philharmonic: Joined in 1997. Chairman of the Chamber Music Committee and a member of the Contemporary Music and Pension Committees. Adjunct professor at The Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music. Recordings include Elliott Carter’s Oboe Quartet (Bridge Records), which was nominated for a Grammy Award.

EARLIEST MUSICAL MEMORY: My mother teaching my four siblings and me to sing together — in German and French. I started cello lessons at eight. My father thought that a scratchy out-of-tune cellist would be less painful to listen to than a violinist. I was enrolled with the Green Mountain Fiddlers — an organization set up by the Vermont Symphony to train young string players. My first teacher, Stan Eukers, was a violinist.

WHO WAS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MUSICAL INFLUENCE? Leopold Teraspulsky, my teacher at the University of Massachusetts. He was the first person to teach me how to take apart a piece of music, phrase by phrase.

WHAT WERE SOME OF YOUR HIGH SCHOOL ACTIVITIES? I played in three community orchestras. I also played soccer, sang in chorus, skied every weekend, and (at my sister's insistence) learned to juggle and ride a unicycle.

WHAT WOULD YOU BE IF NOT A MUSICIAN? A software engineer

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT WITH THE ORCHESTRA: Playing for 10,000 people in China’s Great Hall of the People in 1998

YOU HAVE PLAYED A LOT OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC OUTSIDE THE ORCHESTRA. WHAT APPEALS TO YOU ABOUT IT? As a teenager I was exposed to contemporary and experimental music and was taught to listen with an open mind. It’s interesting and challenging, and it makes earlier styles easier to play by stretching one’s ability to hear and appreciate complexity in music.

DO YOU PLAY IN OTHER GROUPS? I spend a week at a chamber music festival in Bridgehampton, N.Y., every summer, and I play a program each year with the Saratoga Chamber Players.

WHAT’S IN YOUR MP3 PLAYER RIGHT NOW? The latest album by the amazing mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile

ARE THERE ANY OTHER MUSICIANS IN YOUR FAMILY? My four siblings all enjoy music, but none became professional musicians.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK? I’m a big cyclist. In July 2005, my sister, brother, and I rode 4,400 miles from California to Maine.
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