New York born cellist Astrid Schween is an internationally recognized soloist, chamber artist, and teacher. In 2016, she succeeded Joel Krosnick as cellist of the Juilliard String Quartet and joined the Juilliard cello faculty.
Ms. Schween has received acclaim for her performances at festivals as wide-ranging as the Istanbul Festival, Musicades, Lockenhaus, Schleswig-Holstein, Reingau, Beleburg and Edinburgh festivals, Moscow’s Beethoven Festival, the Festival da Camera in St. Miguel de Allende, Würzburg’s Mozart Festival and Sweden’s prestigious Siljan Festival. During her 20 years with the Lark Quartet and as a guest with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, she performed in some of the world’s most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Concertgebouw, Musikverein, L’Opera de la Bastille, Herkules Saal, Wigmore Hall, the Library of Congress, the National Gallery and on tour throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Japan, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.
Astrid Schween is a frequent guest artist with the Boston Chamber Music Society, the Memphis Chamber Music Society, the InterHarmony International Music Festival, the Aria International Academy, and performed extensively as a member of the Boston Trio, an ensemble-in-residence at the New England Conservatory. She has made guest appearances at the International Cello Institute and the Bennington Chamber Music Conference and frequently performs in recital with pianists Randall Hodgkinson and Michael Gurt. Invited by celebrated violin virtuoso and Artistic Director, James Ehnes, Ms. Schween performed at the Seattle Chamber Music Festival in 2016, 2017, and 2018. She has also performed the Walker Sonata for Cello and Piano at Juilliard and the Harvard Club in New York at the invitation of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer George Walker and the Juilliard School.
While still a teenager, Astrid Schween made her debut as soloist with the New York Philharmonic under the direction of Zubin Mehta and went on to receive bachelors and masters degrees at The Juilliard School, where she was twice awarded the Juilliard Cello Prize. Her teachers there included Harvey Shapiro, Leonard Rose, Channing Robbins and Ardyth Alton. She also studied with Bernard Greenhouse, Dr. H.T. Ma, Eugene Moye and in London with Jacqueline Du Pré. She participated in the Marlboro Music Festival and the William Pleeth Cello Master Classes at the Britten-Pears School in Aldeburgh.
While a member of the Lark Quartet, Astrid Schween and her colleagues won numerous international prizes including the gold medal at the Shostakovich Competition in St. Petersburg and the Naumburg Chamber Music Award in New York. They also recorded an impressive discography, which is featured on the Decca/Argo, Arabesque, Point, Agora, New World, CRI, Koch and Endeavor Classics labels. During her tenure, the Lark appeared on NPR’s Performance Today, Schickele Mix, and PBS; commissioned new works from many of America’s leading composers including Aaron Jay Kernis, Peter Schickele, Jennifer Higdon, Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR), Julia Wolfe and Libby Larsen; and premiered many new works including Kenneth Frazelle’s music for Still/Here with celebrated choreographer Bill T. Jones. As a member of the quartet, Astrid was mentored by legendary musicians from the Budapest, Amadeus, Borodin, Guarnieri, Juilliard and Alban Berg Quartets.
For many years, Ms. Schween was Professor of Cello at the University of Massachusetts, where she succeeded cellist Matt Haimovitz. She also served on the faculties of the Hartt School of Music, Mount Holyoke College, and Interlochen Center for the Arts. An active speaker and panelist, she has served on the juries of the Fischoff, Sphinx, New England Conservatory, and Concert Artist Guild competitions, and currently serves on the Artistic Advisory Board of the Global M-Prize Competition. She is an occasional speaker and panelist for organizations such as Chamber Music America and the Arts Presenters conferences and has been a guest speaker at the American String Teachers Association and guest performer at the Bernard Greenhouse Celebration in North Carolina. She has also been featured in Strings and Strad magazines, on “Living the Classical Life,” NPR interviews and as a guest speaker at the Library of Congress on the role of women in music.
In addition to her work with the JSQ, Ms. Schween remains active as a soloist with performances this season in Boston, Oakland, Memphis, the International Cello Institute, the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, and with the Boulder Philharmonic, performing the Elgar concerto. In 2017, she released multiple recordings including Rhapsody for solo cello and electronics by Gordon Green, as well as new albums with the Boston Trio and the Juilliard String Quartet. Her recent faculty appointments include the Sphinx Performance Academy, Tanglewood and the Perlman Music Program, where she succeeds celebrated cellist Ronald Leonard.