Cellist Maria Kitsopoulos comes from a musical family — her mother being an opera singer, one brother a conductor, and her other brother a composer. She was a finalist in the first Emmanuel Feuermann Cello Competition and a prizewinner in the National Society of Arts and Letters Cello Competition, and she won fellowships for study from the Aspen and Tanglewood music festivals. She received her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctor of musical arts degrees from The Juilliard School where, upon graduation, she was awarded the Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Leadership. Her teachers have included Jerome Carrington, Ardyth Alton, Scott Ballantyne, Harvey Shapiro, and Aldo Parisot.
Before joining the New York Philharmonic, Kitsopoulos was an active performer of contemporary music with groups such as Ensemble Intercontemporain, Music Mobile, Guild of Composers, and Continuum, with whom she appeared as soloist in the New York Premieres of works by Leon Kirchner, Valentin Silvestrov, and Chinary Ung. As a member of the popular four-cello ensemble CELLO, Kitsopoulos performed music commissioned by that quartet — including works by Peter Schickele, Meyer Kupferman, and Reza Vali — at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and Merkin Concert Hall, as well as at colleges and universities throughout the United States. In addition she performed in Broadway productions and Community Concerts.
In the spring of 1996, Kitsopoulos earned a position with the New York Philharmonic. She has since performed chamber music with fellow New York Philharmonic musicians as well as guests including violinists Nikolaj Znaider and Leonidas Kavakos and pianists Emanuel Ax and Yefim Bronfman.
Maria Kitsopoulos has performed as soloist with the Phoenix Symphony, Westfield Symphony, and Graz orchestras, among others. Her solo recital debut in New York’s Merkin Concert Hall was sponsored by the Guild of Composers as well as the Alexander S. Onassis Foundation. Other recent appearances have included a solo engagement with the Athens State Orchestra. In New York, Kitsopoulos has performed with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the New York Chamber Symphony.
Kitsopoulos performs on a 300-year-old cello made by Carlo Giuseppe Testore. She previously served on the faculty of Juilliard. An active recording artist, she has recorded for Musical Heritage Society, Angel Records, Deutsche Grammophon, Columbia, Mogul Entertainment, and MK Records. In September 2012 she performed the Prelude from Bach’s Suite No. 1 for Unaccompanied Cello on an episode of The Colbert Report.