Zuill Bailey, cellist


Zuill Bailey, cellist
Photo credit: Lisa-Marie Mazzucco
Click on image to enlarge.

"Bailey is one of the most exciting cellists to come along in years."
~ The Kansas City Star

"Bailey produced a tone as rich as melted chocolate."
~ Washington Post

Zuill discusses Dvorak (1:15)
Zuill & Ran


Cellist and impresario Zuill Bailey is back at the Sitka Music Festival – where he is Artistic Director – leading and performing in chamber concerts throughout the month of June. 

Pianist Ran Dank just wrapped up a series of dates at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival, performing repertoire ranging from Bach to Robert Honstein. 
This weekend, Dank joins the Shanghai Quartet, performing works by Schumann and Bruch forMaverick Concerts.
Above, Dank's son spots him on a poster!
(June 2015)

2015 League Conference Preview: Zuill Bailey

Last month, Zuill Bailey performed the world premiere of Michael Daugherty's "Tales of Hemingway" with the Nashville Symphony; the work was recorded for an upcoming Naxos release.  Next season he performs the Daugherty with the Virginia Symphony, the Erie Philharmonic and the Asheville and El Paso symphony orchestras.  

His 2015 recording of Nico Muhly's Cello Concerto has received widespread praise: 

"Zuill Bailey opens this triptych with a superb account of Bloch’s masterly Schelomo, concentrated and powerful, the soloist rhapsodising in a freely expressive style." Gramophone, April 1, 2015

"Bailey’s playing is strong-limbed and sensitive throughout..." – San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 21, 2015

(May 2015)

Zuill Bailey plays a world premiere with the Nashville Symphony, and more


Zuill Bailey
The exuberant cellist Zuill Bailey began the second half of the season with performances and recording of Prokofiev's Sinfonia Concertante with the North Carolina Symphony, the Schumann Concerto with Rossen Milanov in Princeton, and Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations plus Bruch's Kol Nidrei with the Victoria (B.C) Symphony. 

This month Bailey joined Giancarlo Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony for the world premiere of Michael Daugherty'sTales of Hemingway for cello and orchestra.  A colorful 30-minute work exploring Ernest Hemingway's literary works, with each of its four movements embodying a separate story or novel, the piece was rapturously received by Nashville's audiences. 

Soon, wider audiences will have the opportunity to hear Daugherty's work; Bailey and the Nashville Symphony recorded Tales of Hemingway for Naxos Records.
Other highlights include the continued success of Bailey's most recent recording with the Indianapolis Symphony, of works by Bloch and Nico Muhly's new Cello Concerto. 

Bailey has also worked with his hometown organization, El Paso Pro Musica, to launch a new educational initiative, reaching a wide audience of students through video-conferenced concerts. Check out the innovative outreach inthis video

Looking forward, Bailey returns to Alaska for the Sitka Summer Music Festival, where he is Artistic Director. 

Zuill Bailey, Michael Dougherty, Giancarlo Guerrero

Above, Zuill Bailey, composer Michael Daugherty and Giancarlo Guerrero, at the recording sessions of Tales of Hemingway.
Bailey/ISO Album

"Zuill Bailey opens this triptych with a superb account of Bloch’s masterly Schelomo, concentrated and powerful, the soloist rhapsodising in a freely expressive style."

- Ivan March, Gramophone, March 2015

"Muhly sends the soloist — here an impassioned and stalwart Zuill Bailey — into long-breathed oratory against a fragrant, shimmering orchestral backdrop… Bailey’s playing is strong-limbed and sensitive throughout."

- Joshua Kosman, The San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 21, 2015


(April 2015)

"...listen to the world premiere recording of this lush, invigorating score..."
Zuill Bailey, Nico Muhly Album
On Zuill Bailey's new disc: 

"At a casual glance, the pairing of Nico Muhly’s 2012 Cello Concerto with 'Schelomo' and the 'Three Jewish Poems' of Ernest Bloch might seem an odd combination. But listen to the world premiere recording of this lush, invigorating score in context, and the relationships become clearer...Bailey’s playing is strong-limbed and sensitive throughout..." – Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 21, 2015
(January 2015)

Zuill Bailey: Elgar, Britten, Strauss & more

Today, cellist Zuill Bailey performs Strauss' Don Quixote with Robert Moody and the Portland Symphony in Maine. Later this week, Bailey plays the Elgar Cello Concerto with Carlos Kalmar and the Detroit Symphony

Bailey's other recent highlights include a joint production ofDon Quixote with the Winston-Salem Symphony and the Greensboro Symphony, performances with the Ying Quartet at Calgary Pro Musica, the Bach Cello Suites in St. Louis, and two 2014 album releases -- an acclaimed Britten Cello Symphony/Cello Sonata disc, and Some Other Time, a recital disc of American works with pianist Lara Downes:

"[A] luscious, moody and dreamy recording of American songs, many of which just happen to pose as instrumental works by Bernstein, Barber, Foss and others. Zuill Bailey’s soulful cello and Lara Downes’s clean and sensitive piano playing prove perfect travel mates." -- THE NEW YORK TIMES, May 8, 2014

Keep up with Bailey throughout his summer travels - to the Sitka Summer Music Festival, where he's Artistic Director, to South Africa for performances with the Cape Town Philharmonic, and elsewhere -- on his excellent Facebook page. 

(May 2014)


Cellist ZUILL BAILEY was featured in one of The Guardian's "Best News Photographs of the Day" on July 16; the image captured him performing an al fresco solo recital on the rim of 3,200-foot Mt. Edgecumbe, a dormant volcano in Sitka, Alaska. Bailey carried his carbon fiber cello up the seven-mile trail to play a short concert for the Sitka Trail Works fundraiser hike, part of his role as artistic director of the Sitka Summer Music Festival.  This week Bailey has moved south, to Washington state, where he is artistic director of the Northwest Bach Festival
Photograph: James Poulson/AP

(July 2013)

ZUILL BAILEY records Elgar, plays Britten

Cellist ZUILL BAILEY adds to his distinguished discography this month, with a new release with the Indianapolis Symphony and its new music director, Krzysztof Urbanski: the Elgar Cello Concerto.  

"Cellist Zuill Bailey has few rivals in terms of sheer sound. His performance of the Elgar Concerto on this live disc with the Indianapolis Symphony represents the ne plus ultra of musical suavity." --  THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER, Jan. 13, 2013

"Zuill Bailey’s taut and trim rendering of Elgar’s Cello Concerto is a refreshing break...Bailey impresses with his impeccable musicianship as well as his emotional communication." --  CLASSICS TODAY

Email Charlotte Schroeder for your copy of the album!

The release comes on the heels of a series of fascinating orchestral dates; last week he played a "flawless and emotionally intense" Britten Cello Concerto with Grant Llewellyn and the North Carolina Symphony; last month he performed Bloch's Schelomo and a "a typically assertive, insightful account" of the US premiere of a new concerto by Nico Muhly with Jun Märkl and the Indianapolis Symphony; and last December he performed Haydn's Cello Concerto No. 1 with the Buffalo Philharmonic.

"Bailey’s approach was reckless and alive...I cannot imagine this music being as exciting in anyone else’s hands." -- THE BUFFALO NEWS, Dec. 1, 2012

Upcoming dates include Haydn with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, the Elgar with the Victoria Symphony and the Santa Rosa Symphony at the new Green Music Center, and Strauss' Don Quixote with the San Luis Obispo Symphony.

(February 2013)

ZUILL BAILEY with the Anchorage Press

Cellist ZUILL BAILEY recently sat down and spoke with the Anchorage Press about his work as Music Director of the Sitka Summer Music Festival, a position he officially assumed this season.  Read the interview here
Active as both an impresario and a soloist, Bailey celebrates his tenth year as Artistic Director of El Paso Pro Musica this season, and was recently named Artistic Director Designate of the Northwest Bach Festival.

(September 2012)

Praise for the Dvorak Cello Concerto

Cellist ZUILL BAILEY just received exceptional praise from Gramophone Magazine for his recent Telarc recording of the great Dvorak Cello Concerto (with Jun Märkl and the Indianapolis Symphony.) 

"Until now, the recording to recommend was the celebrated DG version featuring the partnership of Rostropovich and Karajan, ideally coupled with Tchaikovsky‘s Rococo Variations. But this wonderfully spontaneous new version by Zuill Bailey and Jun Märkl tends to sweep the board.... All in all, this is an unforgettable performance."

This weekend, Bailey performs the Dvorak with Maximiano Valdes and the Hawaii Symphony.

(May 2012)

ZUILL BAILEY with the Los Angeles Phil, new recordings
Cellist ZUILL BAILEY wraps up 2011 with a flourish, playing the Korngold Cello Concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic last week -- Mark Swed for the LA Times said he was a "glowing" soloist -- and releasing a new album through Zenph Records.

If you're familiar with Zenph, you know this is a special sort of recording: it's a collaboration with a sonically re-created Manuel de Falla at the piano, performing the Seven Popular Spanish Songs. Learn more about the album here -- and catch some of the recent press, including a beautiful interview with Zuill and his co-album collaborator Isabel Bayrakdarian on NPR's Weekend Edition, and a piece by Jeremy Eichler for The Boston Globe, and an interesting video about the project from Zenph.

In the New Year, Zuill returns to the National Philharmonic at Strathmore for a special presentation of the Bach Cello Suites, and Haydn's Cello Concerto No. 1. And on the horizon, Zuill's new Telarc Dvorak Cello Concerto album, with Jun Märkl and the Indianapolis Symphony, will be released January 17, 2012. (December 2011)

ZUILL BAILEY joins the Los Angeles Philharmonic
Next month ZUILL BAILEY joins the Los Angeles Philharmonic for performances of Erich Korngold's Cello Concerto in C, Op. 37, from the Hollywood movie,  Deception. (Bailey's recording of the work is out on the ASV label.)  The performances on Dec. 8, 9, and 11 are part of the Getty Center-led Pacific Standard Time initiative, a multi-media, cross-cultural series telling the story the birth of the L.A. art scene.  Learn more about the project here. (November 2011)

Zuill Bailey plays Brahms: KDFC's pick of the week
Next week ZUILL BAILEY's latest recording is released by Telarc International: Brahms Cello Sonatas and Songs.

A collaboration with pianist and longtime duo partner, Awadagin Pratt, the album includes the Cello Sonatas in E Minor and F Major, as well as transcriptions of songs: Wie Melodien, Minnelied, Lerchengesang and others. The disc is San Francisco's KDFC's pick of the week.

In other broadcast news, Chicago's WFMT has produced a two-hour special about Zuill's home series, El Paso Pro Musica. The piece includes live performances from EPPM's 2010 Festival (its 20th anniversary.) Click here to learn more about the special production.

Last month Bailey offered a critically acclaimed reading of the Dvorak Cello Concerto with Jün Markl and the Indianapolis Symphony (the performances were recorded for future release on Telarc International.) This week he plays a recital for Chamber Music Society of Detroit. (April 2011)

ZUILL BAILEY records Dvorak with Indianapolis Symphony, Brahms with Awadagin Pratt (and more)


"On Friday night, with recording microphones set up to yield a Telarc CD from three performances with the ISO, Zuill Bailey offered a passionate yet dignified interpretation of the 1896 work. His playing was consistently well-focused to emphasize the intimacy of the solo role. The lyrical writing prominent in all three movements was sustained with deep feeling, and its virtuoso contrasts -- the rapid figuration, delicately patterned string-crossings, treacherous sliding double stops and crystalline trills -- shone without sounding effortful." Click for the full review.

Listen to a 2008 Minnesota Public Radio interview with Zuill about the Dvorak Concerto.

But before the Dvorak Concerto is released, on March 29 Telarc releases ZUILL BAILEY's recording of BRAHMS, Works for Piano and Cello, with longtime friend and duo partner, Awadagin Pratt.

With the Sonatas in E Minor and F Major, and a selection of song transcriptions, the Brahms album promises to be another success in Zuill's extraordinary discography, which includes:

2010's BACH CELLO SUITES From the first notes, this disc commands attention above most others currently available and might be headed for classic status thanks to the combination of vision, temperament, and technique that comes together to great effect." -THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, Feb. 14, 2010


2009's BEETHOVEN SONATAS FOR CELLO AND PIANO with pianist Simone Dinnerstein: “A bolder, more satisfying account of Beethoven‘s five sonatas for cello and piano is hard to imagine" - THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER, Aug. 29, 2009

(February 2011)

Zuill Bailey releases Bach Cello Suites on Telarc
Cellist ZUILL BAILEY began the month with a bang -- the release of his second album for Telarc: The Complete Bach Suites.

The release was celebrated with a coast-to-coast tour, including full-house shows at Yoshi's in San Francisco and New York City's Le Poisson Rouge. It's now on its third week on Billboard Classical chart, debuting at #2 and holding strong in the top three albums.

"From the first notes, this disc commands attention above most others currently available and might be headed for classic status thanks to the combination of vision, temperament, and technique that comes together to great effect." - THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, Feb. 14, 2010

In March Zuill joins the Orquesta Sinfonica Nationial (Mexico D.F.), then the Israel Philharmonic for performances led by Itzhak Perlman with the Perlman/Schmidt/Bailey Trio, and then heads on to Spain for the Deià International Music Festival. Other upcoming highlights include a Kennedy Center (Washington Performing Arts Society) recital with pianist Orion Weiss. (February 2010)

Hitting the charts: Zuill Bailey in "Russian Masterpieces"

"There's no chance of drowsiness with Bailey, whose vigorous and rough-hewn playing style proves a winning tonic for this music, causing you to hear it afresh, and perhaps even to reappraise its merits. " - Classics Today, Jan. 22, 2009

Reaching No.11 on Billboard's Classical Charts its second week out, Telarc's "Russian Masterpieces" offers performances of Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme, Pezzo Capriccioso, Nocturne and Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1.

"When I file this CD, it shall be under Shostakovich, for it is in the composer’s first Cello Concerto that Bailey makes his splash...Bailey proves a master of the art by giving us one of the finest readings I have yet heard of this wondrous score!" - Audiophile Audition, Jan. 23, 2009

(February 2009)

Zuill Bailey plays sold-out Bach Suites

Cellist ZUILL BAILEY is known for his ability to connect with audiences; recent performances in South Carolina and El Paso demonstrated this charisma unequivocally. First, in South Carolina, where he joined the Philharmonic for the Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations: “Having Bailey around is an event. Not only is he one of the world's finest cellists, but he is also well known as a caring human being. The nearly full house at the Koger was treated to a true class act with his performance of Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme" -  The Free Press, Nov. 19, 2008

Then over the Thanksgiving holiday he played a concert of Bach Suites, Nos. 1, 3 and 5, to a capacity audience in hometown El Paso, Texas. Before playing a line of music, he spoke with the audience about the structure of the suites, highlighting the influence of dance music on the works.

"So popular is Bailey and his easy-going informal manner onstage that St. Clement's was swamped and some concertgoers had to be turned away! Imagine that! Never thought I would see the day in El Paso when fans stormed a venue to hear a cellist play Bach!

It proves that when a musician and his instrument are totally on the same wavelength, the result is a brilliant performance, regardless of time period or style. In Bailey's case, he has all the skill and temperament needed to present Bach's genius so that listeners absorb its emotional intensity."- EL PASO INC., December 7, 2008

This month Zuill records the complete Suites for Telarc, and next month sees his first release for the label: "Russian Masterworks". Click to see the official EPK and learn more!

(December 2008)

Cellist ZUILL BAILEY wraps up a spring of Dvorak with the Buffalo Philharmonic, Virginia Symphony, the Orquesta Sinfonia de Peru and the Minnesota Orchestra
Cellist ZUILL BAILEY wraps up a spring of Dvorak, playing the concerto with the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Virginia Symphony, the Honolulu Symphony, the Orquesta Sinfonia de Peru and the Minnesota Orchestra, where "there was a rugged passion to his performance that was very compelling, and in the end, exquisitely felt." THE PIONEER PRESS, March 27, 2008.

Sojourns into other repertoire included Shostakovich with the Edmonton Symphony; Saint-Saëns and Massenet with the Illinois Philharmonic and the Puerto Rico Symphony; and the Lalo Concerto in Mexico City with the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional next month.

These orchestral successes were coupled with recital performances of the complete Beethoven Sonatas with recording partner, pianist Simone Dinnerstein, at the Chandler Center for the Arts and at the National Gallery of Art. The second volume of their critically acclaimed complete Beethoven cello piano recording is due out on disc in 2009.

Catch him on the summer Festival circuit at Santa Fe Chamber Music, Maverick Concerts, and returning to the Chautauqua Festival for Saint-Saëns 1 and Massenet's "Meditation" from Thaïs. (June 2008)

Cellist ZUILL BAILEY performs complete Beethoven Sonatas with Simone Dinnerstein at the Met Museum
This week cellist ZUILL BAILEY performs the complete Beethoven Cello Sonatas at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with pianist Simone Dinnerstein. The two appear together later this month at Carnegie's Weill Hall, where they will receive the Classical Recording Foundation's Samuel Sanders Award. The award sponsors their recording of the complete Beethoven Cello Sonatas: Vol. 1 was released last season by Delos to sweeping critical acclaim, vol. 2 is due out in 2008. Bailey and Dinnerstein repeat the Beethoven later this season at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Next up Mr. Bailey performs the Elgar Concerto with the Long Island Philharmonic. Other upcoming 07/08 highlights include appearances with the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Honolulu and Edmonton symphony orchestras, a return to the Virginia Symphony, and a recital appearance at the La Jolla Music Society. (October 2007)

Dynamo cellist ZUILL BAILEY performs with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, looks forward to a tour with the PSB TRIO.
Cellist ZUILL BAILEY began the month with a recital and residency activities in Stillwater, Minnesota, performing the Bach Cello Suites – which he will record this year for Delos. He then traveled to Wisconsin for performances of the Beethoven Triple Concerto with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra joined by Williams Eddins at the keyboard and concertmaster Frank Almond: "The cello part is much more difficult and flamboyant, and Bailey played it precisely but with just the right sense of Romantic abandon." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2/9/2007

Upcoming engagements for Mr. Bailey include a tour with the PERLMAN/SCHMIDT/BAILEY trio and performances of the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No.1, the Victor Herbert No.2 and the Dvorak Cello Concerto with regional orchestras. Mr. Bailey also performs this spring with his duo partner, pianist Awadagin Pratt, at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. In May, Bailey reprises the Beethoven Triple with the PSB at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, led by Itzhak Perlman. Read the February Newsletter for more about Mr. Bailey's featured interview with Frank J. Oteri in MUSO magazine. (February 2007)

Zuill Bailey: Cellist, impresario, expecting father, Energizer Bunny
Colbert's renowned cellist and impresario Zuill Bailey has kept up a blistering schedule in 2006, which he began as performer, Artistic Director and host of the El Paso Pro Musica's annual Chamber Music Festival. He followed this, touring with violinist Giora Schmidt and pianist Simone Dinnerstein in Alaska and Florida, and later with Mr. Schmidt and pianist Orion Weiss for concerts in Chattanooga and Oak Ridge, TN. He performed all-Beethoven recitals with Ms. Dinnerstein in Idaho, Minnesota, Beacon, NY, Queens College, NY, and for El Paso Pro Musica, in anticipation of their recording the works for Delos.

Orchestral engagements included Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations and Haydn's C Major Cello Concerto with the Virginia Symphony and with the Reno Chamber Orchestra, Saint-Saens Cello Concerto No. 1 with the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, and the Dvorak Cello Concerto with the Lynchburg Symphony. Mr. Bailey also appeared this season with longtime duo partner Awadagin Pratt in Omaha, Wilmington and Cincinnati.

During the summer you can find Mr. Bailey at the WTIF Next Generation Festival, the Montreal and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festivals, the Wintergreen Music Festival, Appalachian Summer Festival, the Ruidoso Festival and Maverick Concerts in Woodstock, NY. Paternal congratulations are also in order – he and his wife welcome the birth of their second child in June! (May 2006)

Cellist Zuill Bailey gets a jump start on his 2005/06 season with rave reviews, a landmark recording, and an appearance on MPR's Saint Paul Sunday.

September and October found cellist Zuill Bailey receiving wide acclaim for his appearances with the North Carolina Symphony under Grant Llewellyn performing Elgar's Cello Concerto (see review), the Arkansas Symphony led by David Itkin performing both Korngold and Saint-Saëns (see review), and the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra with Bernard Rubenstein (Saint-Saëns 1 and 2).

A special highlight of this busy time was his appearance with the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra led by David Wiley where they recorded both of the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerti for later release on compact disc.

In addition listeners across the country were treated to Zuill's appearance with pianist Awadagin Pratt on Minnesota Public Radio's Saint Paul Sunday.  If you missed the program originally aired on October 16, you can listen to it at:  http://saintpaulsunday.publicradio.org/programs/573/

Mr. Bailey finished October with a recital at Hendrix College in Arkansas and a special recital to benefit the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra.

(November 2005)

Cellist ZUILL BAILEY's solo debut on Delos is "playing of strong character and sometimes blistering bravura...but there's plenty of subtlety and inwardness, too." -BBC Music Magazine As for his recording of the Korngold Cello Concerto on ASV, which was released last fall: "Zuill Bailey proves a suberbly stylish soloist...what a wonderfully compact and affecting work this is!" -Gramophone Magazine (January 2004)