Nancy Ives, Principal Cello

Nancy Ives

Nancy Ives has been the Principal Cello of the Oregon Symphony since October 2000. Her concerto debut with the orchestra was in November 2002, performing the Kabalevsky Cello Concerto No. 2 with James DePriest. In 2001, She filled in on the Dvorak Cello Concerto at the last minute for an ailing soloist with the Clark College Orchestra, and in August of 2004, joined Ron Blessinger and Stewart Goodyear in a performance of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto at he Cascade Festival of Music in Bend, Oregon. Her most recent solo with the Oregon Symphony was Don Quixote with music director Carlos Kalmar in April of 2006.

Upon the arrival to Portland of former Oregon Symphony concertmaster Amy Schwartz Moretti, Nancy joined the other string principals in forming the Oregon Symphony String Quartet, about whose local debut at the Classical Millennium Broderick Gallery series David Stabler of The Oregonian said, “The quartet’s exhilarating energy and rhythmic drive inspired images of a rich future for fans of chamber music.” In addition to appearances across the state on behalf of the Symphony, in 2006 the quartet performed as part of the citywide “Month of Mozart” festival for Friends of Chamber Music and on the “New Music at Willamette” series. July of 2005 marked Ives’ debut with Chamber Music Northwest, and she has played several times for the innovative “Music in Context” series. During the 2003-04 season, Ives was acting Artistic Director of the new music ensemble fEARnoMUSIC, and presented with that group a premiere by David Dzubay for the Continental Harmony Project of the American Composer’s Forum. She has been a frequent member of the resident ensemble of the Ernest Bloch Festival Composers’ Symposium, a guest artist with Fear No Music and with Third Angle Ensemble, has performed with jazz fiddler Hollis Taylor on several occasions, and had the privilege of performing with Janos Starker in Lincoln Hall in February of 2001.

As a New York-based freelancer, before moving to Portland, she was Principal Cello and a founding member of the Grammy-nominated Manhattan Chamber Orchestra and Principal Cello of the American Chamber Opera Company. She was a regular recitalist at the Friends of the Arts Beethoven Festival and the Apollo Muses Festival in New Jersey, and in addition to performing the standard concerto repertoire with orchestras in the Northeast and the Midwest, she played her own composition Dialogue III for cello and orchestra with the Danbury Community Orchestra. She appeared with many new music ensembles, notably North-South Consonance and Musicians’ Accord, playing over a hundred premieres by composers such as Milton Babbitt, Chen Yi and Bruce Adolphe. Her special interest in new music led to recordings on the Opus One and Koch labels and her versatility led to soundtrack recordings for PBS and the Smithsonian. She appeared with Laurie Anderson and Brazilian pop star Gal Costa at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Next Wave Festival, with Nana Vasconcelos at The Knitting Factory and Merkin Hall, and recorded with rock star Lenny Kravitz. Ives combined acting with cello playing in an Off-Broadway production of Orpheus in Love by Craig Lucas. During several years on tour with Phantom of the Opera, she performed a comedy routine about the cello in AIDS benefits across the country.

Nancy received her early training on the cello at the influential University of Texas String Project. She received a Bachelor of Music from the University of Kansas, where she was also an active composer, and her formal education culminated in both Masters and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in cello performance from the Manhattan School of Music.

Recent recording projects include Openings: Music of Joan Szymko with Veriditas; Remember Me: Songs of Richard Faith with Brenda Baker; recordings with Mythic Folk duo Dave Carter and Tracy Grammar, and recordings with jazz artists Gary Hobbs, Randy Porter, and Christopher Woitach. She is an active teacher, and is a Past President of the Oregon Cello Society. She is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Oregon Symphony.

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