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Top 10 Schools to Study Cello Performance

The cello is a beautiful and versatile instrument that has captivated audiences for centuries. If you're an aspiring cellist looking to take your skills to the next level, choosing the right school to study at can make all the difference.


There are many excellent schools around the world that offer high-quality cello performance programs, each with its own unique approach and strengths. We'll explore some of the best schools to study cello performance around the world, and what makes each one special.


Whether you're interested in classical, contemporary, or traditional music, there's a school out there that can help you achieve your musical goals.


A girl playing the cello in a living room and a Crossrock cello case being displayed by her side

Your choice of music performance school matters, so we have put together this list of the top 10 schools to study cello performance to help you make your decision.


Here are some of the most prestigious schools to study cello performance:


  1. Juilliard School (New York, USA).

  2. New England Conservatory of Music (Boston, USA).

  3. Curtis Institute of Music (Philadelphia, USA).

  4. Conservatoire de Paris (Paris, France).

  5. Royal College of Music (London, UK).

  6. Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler (Berlin, Germany).

  7. Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana (Lugano, Switzerland).

  8. Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory (Moscow, Russia).

  9. Beijing Central Conservatory of Music (Beijing, China).

  10. Tokyo University of the Arts (Tokyo, Japan).


These schools have renowned cello professors and a strong emphasis on classical music performance. However, it is important to note that admission to these schools is highly competitive, and each school may have specific application requirements and deadlines. It is recommended to research each program thoroughly and consult with the school's admissions office for further information.


Here's a brief description of each school and some notable alumni and professors:


Juilliard School (New York, USA)


Juilliard is one of the most prestigious music schools in the world, located in the heart of New York City. It has a highly selective admissions process and is known for its rigorous training in both classical and contemporary music.


The cello department is led by professors such as Joel Krosnick and Darrett Adkins and provides students with numerous performance opportunities. Notable alumni include Yo-Yo Ma, Lynn Harrell, and David Finckel.


Application link: https://www.juilliard.edu/admissions/apply


New England Conservatory of Music (Boston, USA)


The New England Conservatory is located in Boston, Massachusetts, and is known for its focus on experiential learning and creative exploration. NEC is one of the oldest and most respected music schools in the United States, with a strong emphasis on classical music performance.


The cello program is led by experienced and well-respected faculty members such as Laurence Lesser, Paul Katz, and Natasha Brofsky, who provide individualized attention and mentorship to students. Notable alumni include Yo-Yo Ma, Jian Wang, and Colin Carr.


Application link: https://necmusic.edu/admissions/how-to-apply


Curtis Institute of Music (Philadelphia, USA)


Curtis is a highly selective and tuition-free music conservatory that only admits a small number of students each year. Due to its extremely low student-to-faculty ratio, Curtis allows for highly personalized attention and mentorship from renowned faculty members.


The cello department is led by professors such as Peter Wiley and Carter Brey. Notable alumni include Leonard Rose, Samuel Rhodes, and Alisa Weilerstein.


Application link: https://www.curtis.edu/admissions/application/


Conservatoire de Paris (Paris, France)


The Paris Conservatory is widely regarded as one of the world's leading music schools, with a rich history and tradition of excellence in music education.


Offering a comprehensive curriculum that emphasizes technical mastery and musical expression, students receive rigorous training in all aspects of cello performance, including technique, interpretation, and stage presence, and are given ample opportunity to perform and receive feedback from faculty members and fellow students.


The cello department is led by professors such as Philippe Muller and Xavier Gagnepain. Notable alumni include Yo-Yo Ma, Gautier Capuçon, and Jean-Guihen Queyras.


Application link: https://www.conservatoiredeparis.fr/en/applications


Royal College of Music (London, UK)


The RCM is one of the world's leading conservatoires, with a strong emphasis on classical music performance.


Students have the chance to perform in a wide range of settings, including solo recitals, chamber music ensembles, and large orchestras, allowing them to develop their performance skills and gain valuable experience in a variety of contexts.


The cello department is led by professors such as Melissa Phelps and Alexander Boyarsky. Notable alumni include Jacqueline du Pré, Steven Isserlis, and Natalie Clein.


Application link: https://www.rcm.ac.uk/studyhere/apply/


A Crossrock cello case placed on the sidewalk

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Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler (Berlin, Germany)


The Hanns Eisler School of Music is one of the leading music schools in Germany. Providing students with a comprehensive education in music performance and composition, its world-class faculty, strong emphasis on chamber music, and location in a vibrant cultural center make it an excellent choice for aspiring musicians looking to take their skills to the next level.


The cello department is led by professors such as Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt and Jens Peter Maintz. Notable alumni include Alban Gerhardt and Nicolas Altstaedt.


Application link: https://www.hfm-berlin.de/en/study-at-the-hanns-eisler-school-of-music/apply-now/


Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana (Lugano, Switzerland)


The Conservatory of Italian Switzerland is one of Switzerland's most prestigious music schools.


With a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary learning, CSI focuses on music education, performance, and research. This approach ensures that students receive a well-rounded education that prepares them for successful music careers.


The cello department is led by professors such as Thomas Demenga and Enrico Bronzi. Notable alumni include Giovanni Sollima and Mario Brunello.


Application link: https://www.conservatorio.ch/en/study/admissions/


Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory (Moscow, Russia)


The Tchaikovsky Conservatory is one of the most respected music schools in Russia, with a strong emphasis on classical music performance.


The Conservatory has a long and prestigious history of producing some of the world's greatest musicians, including many acclaimed cellists. The school's rigorous training and emphasis on technical proficiency have earned it a reputation as one of the most challenging music schools in the world.


The cello department is led by professors such as Alexander Rudin and Natalia Gutman. Notable alumni include Mstislav Rostropovich and David Geringas.


Application link: http://www.mosconsv.ru/en/admission/


Beijing Central Conservatory of Music (Beijing, China)


The Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing is one of the leading music schools in China, with a strong emphasis on traditional Chinese music as well as Western classical music.


Its emphasis on technique, performance opportunities, international connections, and modern facilities make it an excellent choice for aspiring cellists who are looking to develop their skills and pursue successful music careers.


The cello department is led by professors such as Jian Wang and Chu Yi-Bing. Notable alumni include Qin Li-Wei and Trey Lee.


Application link: https://english.ccom.edu.cn/Admissions/Undergraduate_Programs.htm


Tokyo University of the Arts (Tokyo, Japan)


The Tokyo University of the Arts is one of the most respected art schools in Japan. It places a strong emphasis on traditional Japanese music in its cello program.


Students learn to play both Western and Japanese-style cellos and are encouraged to explore the unique tonalities and techniques of traditional Japanese music. This gives students a broad and diverse skillset that can set them apart in the global music industry.


The cello department is led by professors such as Hidemi Suzuki and Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi. Notable alumni include Yo-Yo Ma (who studied briefly at the university), Akira Nakajima, and Nobuko Imai.


Application link: https://www.geidai.ac.jp/admission/english/


Conclusion


Overall, these schools are known for their commitment to excellence in music education and their ability to produce talented and successful musicians.


It's important to note that admission to these schools is highly competitive and each program may have specific requirements and deadlines. Additionally, many other excellent music schools around the world offer programs for studying cello, so it's worth researching and considering all options before making a decision.


A Crossrock cello case being used on the street

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