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Caleb van der Swaagh

Lecturer of Music, Cello

Praised for his “entrancing” performances (National Sawdust Log), cellist Caleb van der Swaagh is a versatile chamber musician and soloist. He is an alumnus of Ensemble ACJW (now known as Ensemble Connect) – a program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, and the Weill Music Institute in partnership with the New York City Department of Education. Caleb is the recipient of the Tanglewood Karl Zeise Memorial Cello Prize and the Manhattan School of Music Pablo Casals Award, and was also a grant recipient from the Virtu Foundation.

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In demand as a chamber musician, Caleb is member of Exponential Ensemble, a mixed instrumentation chamber ensemble. He is a first prize winner in the SAVVY Chamber Competition and has performed with such ensembles as The Knights, A Far Cry, Orchestra of St. Lukes, the Borromeo String Quartet, Metropolis Ensemble, Ensemble LPR, and the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players. Recent festival appearances include appearances at the Chelsea Music Festival, Ottawa ChamberFest, Garth Newel Music Center, Music from Montauk, 23Arts Summer Music Festival, Edelio Festival, and Birdfoot Festival. As a recording artist, Caleb’s recent releases include Against Method with counter)induction on New Focus Recordings and Elliott Carter’s Clarinet Quintet with Phoenix Ensemble on Navona Records. Additional appearances include albums on Albany Records, Bright Shiny Things, Supertrain Records, Linn Records, and Avie Records.

An advocate of contemporary music, Caleb is a member of counter) induction, Ensemble Échappé, and Ensemble Ipse. He also performs regularly with leading contemporary music ensembles including Argento Chamber Ensemble, Talea Ensemble, Either/Or, and S.E.M Ensemble. He has premiered works by such composers as Georg Friedrich Haas, Beat Furrer, Christian Wolff, Roscoe Mitchell, and Iancu Dumitrescu, among others, as well as performing his own compositions and arrangements.

A native New Yorker, Caleb graduated magna cum laude from Columbia University as part of the Columbia – Juilliard Exchange program with a degree in Classics and Medieval & Renaissance Studies. Caleb received his master’s degree with academic honors from New England Conservatory and later studied at the Manhattan School of Music. His primary teachers are Bonnie Hampton, Laurence Lesser, and David Geber. Caleb plays on a cello made by David Wiebe in 2012.

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