Eric Bartlett, Cello

The New York Philharmonic

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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 and challenging, and it makes earlier styles easier to play by stretching one’s ability to hear and appreciate complexity in 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. At the Philharmonic: Joined in 1997. Chairman of the Chamber Music Committee and a member of the Pension Committee. Adjunct Professor at The Juilliard School. Recordings include Elliott Carter’s Oboe Quartet (Bridge Records), 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 beginning 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, and he showed enormous patience with my endless, challenging teenage questions.

We understand you had another important influence in your early professional career: For three years in the early 1980s I toured with Harvey Pittel, the dean of American classical sax­ophone players. He insisted that I play a solo every night, that I learn to speak to the audience, dress well, look the part, show enthusiasm, and greet the audience after every concert. What great lessons for a young musician just getting started!

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.

Tell us about your passion for contemporary music: 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.

You also perform regularly with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Saratoga Chamber Players: I think I always come back from these situa­tions with renewed appreciation for the Philharmonic. In a recital or chamber setting, I learn a lot from being able to really hear myself and from being responsible for the shape of the music and the success of the concert.

Are there any other musicians in your family? My four siblings all enjoy music, but none became professional musicians.

As of April 2019

Upcoming 2019-2020 Performances

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February, 2020 Saturday

Saturday Matinee: <em>Enigma Variations</em>

2:00 PM Concert

Saturday Matinee: Enigma Variations

Program To Include
Dvořák String Sextet
Elgar Enigma Variations
Simone Young Conductor
Sheryl Staples Violin
Michelle Kim Violin
Rebecca Young Viola
Cong Wu Viola
Eileen Moon-Myers Cello
Eric Bartlett Cello

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