The Very Best Schools for Cello Performance In the US

10. Boston University – Boston, MA

Notable Faculty: Michael Reynolds, Rhonda Rider

Michael Reynolds has been teaching cello at Boston University since 1983, and is among the most distinguished cello teachers in the nation. His students over the past thirty years have won appointments in many of the world’s top orchestras, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and have also held teaching appointments at several universities. Michael Reynolds is also one of the founding members of the world-renowned Muir String Quartet, who have been featured on programs as distinguished as NPR and CBS Sunday Morning. They have been in-residence at BU since 1983.

I found a quote on Michael Reynolds’ personal website on his personal musical philosophy when it comes to teaching:

“Combining the musical principles of (cellist Martita Casals) and the Old European school with the releases and coordination techniques learned from (violist Karen Tuttle), I work with students toward the goal of musically intense but relaxed playing. I also attempt to integrate some basic principles from yoga (mainly stretches, breathing techniques and meditative tools), and I like to stress the importance of physical conditioning on general and cellistic health.” 

Listen to the Faculty: Check out Rhonda Rider’s CD Cello Recital

9. Eastman School of Music – Rochester, NY

Notable Faculty: Alan Harris, Rosemary Elliott, David Ying, Steven Doane

The distinguished cello faculty at Eastman lead an impressive body of talented students in Rochester, NY. Alan Harris, one of the foremost teachers for cello in the nation, has been teaching cello since 1959 (!), where he had a post at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico. He has since held appointments at Ohio Wesleyan, Northwestern, and the Cleveland Institute of Music, among other schools. For some insight into a vibrato lesson with Alan Harris, check out this video.

Other important faculty members include cellist David Ying, who is a founding member of the established Ying Quartet, and cellist Rosemary Elliot.

Listen to the Faculty: Check out cellist David Ying in his chamber ensemble the Ying Quartet performing alongside the Turtle Island String Quartet in Four + 4.

8. Indiana University Jacobs School of Music – Bloomington, IN

indiana university photo
IU Bloomington: Photo by nichcollins

Notable FacultyPeter Stumpf, Eric Kim, Emilio Colon

Former principal cellist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic who left the orchestra in 2012 to teach full-time at IU Jacobs School of Music, Peter Stumpf is now an active teacher and important member of the Bloomington musical community. According to the website, Peter Stumpf says this about his teaching career: “The interaction with the students feels really meaningful in a personal way…I also find it stimulating artistically because I really have to know the material in order to give advice. So it’s a learning process for me. I like the idea of growing as a musician and sometimes I find I have to make a change in order to continually do that.”

Cellist Eric Kim, who held the principal position of the Cincinnati Symphony for twenty years, has been on the faculty of the IU Jacobs School of Music since 2009. Many of his students are regular prizewinners and cellists in major orchestras throughout the world, and Eric Kim himself has worked with the likes of Pinchas Zukerman, Emmanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, and Itzhak Perlman.

7. Oberlin College-Conservatory – Oberlin, OH

Notable Faculty: Darrett Adkins, Amir Eldan

Two accomplished soloists and teachers, Darrett Adkins and Amir Eldan are leading classical musicians in todays ultra competitive industry of cello and strings performance. Amir Eldan was only 22 when he won the Associate Principal position of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. He meets with his students three times a week, for a private lesson class, a technique class, and a studio class. He is a passionate and dedicated pedagogue; you can find out more about his personal teaching philosophy from this video.

Darrett Adkins has risen to the ranks of virtuoso cellist status in the classical music community, and has fluently combined an active international performance career with that of a teaching career. His students at both Oberlin and also at Juilliard (where he holds a concurrent teaching position) are among the most successful young cellists in the nation.

Listen to the Faculty: Check out Darrett Adkins performing on the CD 20th Century Duos for Violin and Cello



  1. Anon October 2, 2014
  2. Anon November 15, 2014
  3. Mike December 17, 2014
  4. Daniel December 18, 2014
    • Mark December 16, 2015
  5. Anon December 18, 2014
  6. Natasha Stephen January 20, 2015
  7. Tank October 23, 2015
  8. jenny March 26, 2016
  9. MidwestGuest April 28, 2016
    • Narin November 20, 2019
  10. Cellomom April 7, 2017

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