Robert deMaine, cello
ROBERT deMAINE, a “brilliant” cellist possessing “effortless virtuosity” whose playing has been called “simply magnificent” by Neeme Järvi, is currently the principal cellist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. A highly sought after solo artist and chamber musician, he is the cellist of the Ehnes quartet, (James Ehnes, Amy Schwartz Moretti, violins, violist Richard O’Neill), and the Dicterow-deMaine-Biegel Piano Trio and a guest at many of this country’s finest chamber music festivals such as those of Seattle, Great Lakes, Chamberfest Cleveland and earlier on in his career, Marlboro Music Festival. His playing is noted for its “beautiful singing tone, lapidary technical precision, and a persuasive identification with the idiom of the music at hand.” As a soloist, he performs the great works of the repertoire both old and new from concertos by Haydn, Dvorak, Elgar and Penderecki, as well as more recent works by John Williams and Christopher Theofanidis. As a recitalist the great works for cello and piano as well as the suites of J.S. Bach remain staples of his repertoire, and as one critic noted, his playing was “magnificent” and that his “technical brilliance is surpassed only by the beauty of tones he produces.”
His orchestral appearances as a soloist include, The Los Angeles Philharmonic with John Williams, Gustavo Dudamel, Esa Pekka Salonen, Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla, conductors, the Detroit Symphony with Maestro Leonard Slatkin, Mark Wigglesworth, Jun Märkl, Thomas Wilkins and Neeme Järvi, as well as the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra (Norway) with Neeme Järvi. Other orchestras include The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra with Thomas Zehermair conducting, the Charleston Symphony (SC) with David Stahl, Scott Terrell, Bohuslav Rattay leading from the podium, the Omaha Symphony with Thomas Wilkins conducting, Czechoslovak Radio Symphony and Moravian Symphony (Czech Rep.) with Joel Eric Suben.
Robert deMaine’s frequent musical collaborators include such distinguished colleagues as violinists James Ehnes, Hilary Hahn, Gil Shaham, Pamela Frank, Ani and Ida Kavafian, Joseph Silverstein, and Felix Galimir, pianists Emanuel Ax, Andre Watts, Jeffrey Kahane, Anton Kuerti, Anne-Marie McDermott, Marc-André Hamelin, Jeremy Denk, Orion Weiss, Valentina Lisitsa, and Yefim Bronfman. His extensive work with conductors include Gustavo Dudamel, John Williams, Neeme Järvi, Leonard Slatkin, Dennis Russell Davies, Peter Oundjian, Andrew Litton, Thomas Wilkins, Nicholas McGegan, Julian Kuerti, JoAnn Falletta, and James Gaffigan. As a chamber musician deMaine has been performed at the world’s leading music festivals, including Aspen, Heidelberg, Montréal, Chautauqua, Bargemusic, Skaneateles, Napa’s Music in the Vineyards, Cabrillo, Breckenridge, Meadowmount, and the Marlboro Music Festival, also performing with Music from Marlboro in New York and Washington, D.C. He has collaborated with the legendary Beaux Arts Trio as well as the Emerson, Juilliard, Kronos, Cleveland, American, Mendelssohn, Parisii, Chiara, Amernet, and Pacifica string quartets. He is also a member of the Dicterow-deMaine-Biegel Trio.
A teacher distinguished by his commitment and passion, deMaine has given master classes and has taught at schools and universities throughout North and South America and Europe as well as Asia, Australia and New Zealand. His pupils are laureates of major solo and chamber music competitions and can also be found in chamber ensembles and symphony orchestras throughout the world.
He has recorded for Naxos, Chandos, Dorian/Sono Luminus, Onyx, CBC, Elysium, and Capstone and has been featured on the BBC, PBS, NPR’s Performance Today, the Canadian Broadcasting Company, France Musique, and RAI, among others.
As a composer deMaine has written several works for the cello, including a set of twelve Études-Caprices. Among the many works specially composed for him are Summer Verses for Violin and Cello by Christopher Theofanidis. Other composers whose works have either been dedicated to or premiered by Robert deMaine include Kenneth Fuchs, and Joel Eric Suben.
A fourth-generation string player, Robert deMaine was introduced to the cello at the age of four by his mother and sister, both accomplished cellists. At a young age deMaine came to the attention of famed cellists Pierre Fournier and Leonard Rose, both of whom encouraged his continued studies. Sponsorship allowed him to study with Rose in the pre-college division of The Juilliard School, after which he attended Meadowmount, the Eastman School of Music, the Piatigorsky Seminar in Los Angeles, Music Academy of the West, the Marlboro School and Festival, and Yale University on full-tuition fellowships. Additional studies were undertaken at the University of Southern California and the Kronberg Academy in Germany.
Before joining the Los Angeles Philharmonic as principal cello in 2012, deMaine served as the James C. Gordon Principal Cello of the Detroit Symphony for over a decade. He has previously served as principal cello of the Hartford Symphony, New York String Orchestra, and Connecticut Opera and has been guest principal cello of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, and the Bergen Philharmonic in Norway.
Robert deMaine makes his home in Southern California with his wife, Elizabeth, and two children, Paul, and Annette. He is a Thomastik-Infeld Artist and performs on an immaculately preserved Venetian cello made in 1748 by Domenico Busan. A knowledgeable and enthusiastic collector of cellos, deMaine’s other instruments include cellos by Gagliano, and Gragnani, as well as a Vuillaume (courtesy of the Cecilia Benner Trust) and a Guarneri (on loan from the LA Philharmonic) as well as a Stradivarius. In August 2014, deMaine made his Los Angeles Philharmonic concerto debut in a performance of Brahms’ Double Concerto alongside violinist Alina Pogostkina. His recording of the John Williams Cello Concerto (Detroit Symphony, Leonard Slatkin conducting) will be released by Naxos in July, 2015.