Praised by The New York Times as "an artist who makes one hang on every note," Robert deMaine has distinguished himself as one of the finest and most versatile cellists of his generation, having performed to critical acclaim as soloist, recitalist, orchestral principal, recording artist, and chamber musician throughout the world, from Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York to the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. A first-prize winner in many national and international competitions from the time he was 12 years old, deMaine became, in 1990, the first cellist ever to win San Francisco's prestigious Irving M. Klein International Competition for Strings.
A fourth-generation string player, Robert deMaine was born in Oklahoma City to a military and musical family of French (Franco-Belgian) and Polish-Jewish extraction. He was introduced to the cello at the age of four by his mother and sister, both accomplished cellists, and by the time he was ten years old was performing such demanding works as Tchaikovsky's "Rococo Variations." He also studied harmony, solfège, counterpoint, composition, voice, guitar, conducting, and piano with the music director of his parish, Rose Rahal. By the age of 12, he had come to the attention of famed cellists Pierre Fournier, Christine Walevska, and Leonard Rose, who all encouraged him to continue his studies in New York and abroad. A Catholic priest, Father Ernest Flusché, provided sponsorship which enabled him to pursue his studies as a teenager with Leonard Rose at Juilliard Pre-College, after which he attended the Meadowmount School, the Eastman School of Music, the Marlboro School and Festival, and Yale University on full-tuition fellowships (graduating with high distinction from Eastman and with the school's highest honor, the Performer's Certificate). DeMaine also studied at the University of Southern California and the Kronberg Academy in Germany.
In addition to his family's musical influences, public school string program, and parochial musical education, deMaine's many cello teachers have included Jane Smith, Kari Padgett Caldwell, Leonard Rose, Stephen Kates, Luis Garcia-Renart, Richard Kapuscinski, Steven Doane, Paul Katz, Ronald Leonard, and Aldo Parisot; he participated in master classes with Bernard Greenhouse, Christine Walevska, Lynn Harrell, Ronald Leonard, János Starker, Boris Pergamenschikow, and studied chamber music with Felix Galimir, Jerome Lowenthal, and Alexander Schneider.
The recipient of a career grant from the Helen M. Saunders Foundation, deMaine's many distinctions have included First Prizes from the Naftzger String Competition, the Corpus Christi International String Competition, the American String Teachers Association New York Solo Competition, the Piatigorsky Seminar, the Saint Louis Symphony Young Artists Competition, the Julius Bloch Awards, the Keith Awards, and the Premio Sipario di Milano for Excellence in Classical Performance where he was the first cellist to be selected for this Italian arts-and-entertainment honor. He was also a top prize-winnner in the 1990 Chicago Cello Competition. DeMaine was honored in both 2003 and 2004 by the Alliance Française and was the recipient of the Detroit/Motor City Music Award for Best Classical Instrumentalist in both 2004 and 2008.
Robert deMaine has collaborated with many distinguished musicians, including violinists Gil Shaham, Pamela Frank, Joseph Silverstein, and Felix Galimir, pianists Emanuel Ax, Claude Frank, Anton Kuerti, and Yefim Bronfman, and conductors Neeme Järvi, Leonard Slatkin, Arild Remmereit, Dennis Russell Davies, Ludovic Morlot, Peter Oundjian, Thomas Wilkins, Walter Hendl, Mark Wigglesworth, Nicholas McGegan, Jun Märkl, Alexander Schneider, and Yoav Talmi. As a chamber musician, he is a frequent guest artist at music festivals throughout the world, including Aspen, Chautauqua, Mainly Mozart (San Diego), Norfolk, Seattle, Steamboat Springs, Utah, Heidelberg (Germany), Festival Asturias (Guatemala), San Miguel de Allende (Mexico), Buenos Aires (Argentina), and the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont, also performing with Music from Marlboro in New York and Washington, D.C. He has collaborated with the Beaux Arts Trio, Kronos Quartet, Cleveland, Juilliard, Emerson and American String Quartets, and now performs regularly with violinist James Ehnes and pianist Andrew Armstrong. DeMaine is also the cellist of 3 newly formed chamber ensembles: the Ehnes Quartet (with violinists James Ehnes, Amy Schwartz Moretti, and violist Richard O'Neill), Icarus with flutist Richard Sherman and pianist James Wilhelmsen, and Trio21 with violinist Judy Kang and pianist Jeffrey Biegel.
A much sought after music teacher and coach, deMaine has led master classes worldwide, and has taught cello, chamber music, and orchestral repertoire at the University of Connecticut, Hartford Conservatory of Music, American Festival for the Arts in Houston, Conservatories of Music in Corrientes and Buenos Aires, Argentina, Eastman School of Music, National Orchestral Institute, New World Symphony, Interlochen Arts Academy, the University of Michigan, and is an Adjunct Professor at the Wayne State University Music Department (Detroit's music conservatory). Mr. deMaine's former students have been laureates of major solo and chamber music competitions in the U.S. and abroad, and can also be found in professional chamber ensembles and symphony orchestras throughout the world. He is also a frequent panelist/adjudicator for string competitions throughout the United States. Robert deMaine has recorded for CBC, Elysium, Capstone, and CRI records, and his performances can be heard on NPR's "Performance Today," the CBC, and seen on PBS and RAI, among other media outlets.
Mr. deMaine is also a composer, having written much music for his own instrument which he often performs, including a set of Twelve Études-Caprices from 1999. He has collaborated with many of today's young composers and has premiered works written for him, most recently Summer Verses for Violin and Cello by Christopher Theofanidis, which received its first performance in July, 2009 at the Seattle Chamber Music Society's Summer Festival to great critical acclaim.
An enthusiastic advocate of musical "buried treasures," Robert deMaine has a vast, wide-ranging repertoire of over 100 concertos from the ubiquitous to the obscure. A devoted audiophile, he proudly owns the entire discography of the great French cellist, Pierre Fournier (1906-86), including some rare autographed albums. Also an avid instrument and bow collector, he possesses at least a dozen cellos, antique and contemporary, including examples by Italian masters Joseph Gagliano of Naples, and Antonio Gragnani of Livorno, both circa 1780, and bows by the French makers F.N. Voirin, Nicolas Maire, Louis Bazin, Alfred Lamy, and Dominique Peccatte, all dating from the mid-19th-century. Since 2006, Robert deMaine has performed on a cello made in 1845 by Jean Baptiste Vuillaume, a gift to him from the Cecilia Benner Trust.
From 2002-2010, Robert deMaine has been the Principal Cellist of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, occupying the James C. Gordon endowed chair. Mr. deMaine has served in the same capacity with the New York String Orchestra, Neeme Järvi's All-Star Mahler Orchestra at the Riverside Church in New York, Hartford Symphony Orchestra and Connecticut Opera, and was Visiting Principal of the Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra in Boston and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
Robert deMaine makes his home in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan with his wife, Elizabeth, and two children, Paul and Annette.
We are excited to announce that in August of 2010, Robert deMaine will launch the inaugural season of Chamber Music Grosse Pointe, a festival to take place during two consecutive weeks at the end of August and the beginning of September ("Postlude" week at the end of the summer season and "Prelude" week to the autumn season), as well as a December holiday week of concerts (December "Winterlude"), culminating in a black-tie, formal New Year's Eve Gala Schubertiade with a champagne toast, and a Johann Strauss, Jr. tribute to ring in the New Year. These concerts will feature many of today's brightest stars on the international scene side-by-side with the crème de la crème of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Additonally, there will be a scheduled concert series throughout the 2010-11 season: benefit events, educational concerts, masterclasses, emerging artist series, and a special chamber orchestra concert with Detroit All-Stars as soloists under the direction of Mr. deMaine. Please stay tuned for further updates as plans solidify. Any inquiries can be made to Robert deMaine directly.
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