Wendy Warner, hailed by Strings magazine for her “youthful, surging playing, natural stage presence and almost frightening technique,” has become one of the world’s leading cellists. Since she first garnered international attention by winning first prize at the Fourth International Rostropovich Competition in Paris in 1990, audiences have watched the Chicago native perform on prestigious stages including New York’s Carnegie Hall, Symphony Hall in Boston, Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles, Paris’s Salle Pleyel, and Berlin’s Philharmonie.
Warner has collaborated with leading conductors such as Mstislav Rostropovich, Vladimir Spivakov, Christoph Eschenbach, Andre Previn, Jesús López-Cobos, Joel Smirnoff, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Charles Dutoit, Eiji Oue, Neeme Järvi, and Michael Tilson Thomas. North American engagements have included the Chicago, Boston, Santa Barbara, Detroit, Colorado, New World, Dallas, North Carolina, Jacksonville, Hartford, Cape Cod, Montreal, New Mexico, Omaha, Nashville, and San Francisco Symphonies; the Minnesota, the St. Paul Chamber, and Philadelphia Orchestras; the Rhode Island Philharmonic; and the Orchestre Symphonique de Quebec and Calgary Philharmonic.
Around the world she has performed with the London Symphony, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Berlin Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, French Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Iceland Symphony, Baltic Chamber Orchestra, L’Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse, L’Orchestre de Paris, and Camerata Academica Novi Sad (Serbia). In June 2013, Warner performed on a European tour of Prague, Milan, Paris, and other cities with Camerata Chicago and Drostan Hall.
A passionate chamber musician, Warner has collaborated with the Vermeer and Fine Arts Quartets, the Chicago Chamber Musicians, Jupiter Chamber Players (New York), and esteemed violinist Gidon Kremer. She also participated in the inaugural season of the North Shore Chamber Music Festival in Northbrook, Illinois. The Warner/Nuzova Duo, in which Warner performs with Russian émigré pianist Irina Nuzova, has been featured at Chamber Music America’s annual conference in New York City, served as duo in residence at the Music Institute of Chicago, performed all five Beethoven Cello Sonatas at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., and appeared by special invitation at the U.S. Supreme Court. As a member of the Beethoven Project Trio with violinist Sang Mee Lee and pianist George Lepauw, Warner gave the world premiere of a previously unknown Beethoven Trio in Chicago’s Murphy Auditorium in 2009 and repeated the program in Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall the following year.
Warner’s recital work includes performances at the Music Institute of Chicago’s Nichols Hall, Phillips Collection, Gardner Museum, and internationally in Milan and Tokyo, plus frequent appearances on Chicago classical radio station WFMT. Warner was invited to perform in recital and with orchestra at the 70th birthday celebration concert for Mstislav Rostropovich in Kronberg, Germany and with Rostropovich in Vivaldi’s two-cello concerto in Reims, France. Festival highlights include performances with El Paso Pro-Musica, the Grand Teton Music Festival, and Penderecki’s Beethoven Easter Festival in Krakow.
Warner’s musical career began at age six under the tutelage of Nell Novak, until she joined Mstislav Rostropovich at the Curtis Institute from which she graduated. Warner made her New York debut with the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich in October 1990 playing Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto. She was immediately reengaged to appear with the NSO on a North American tour in 1991. She was the featured soloist on the Bamberg Symphony’s 1991 European tour, again, conducted by Rostropovich, making her debuts in Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Köln, Düsseldorf and Berlin. From there, she debuted in important music halls all over the world, as well as with the European Soloists of Luxembourg at Frankfurt’s Alter Oper, and the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine. She has toured Japan as soloist with the NHK Symphony Orchestra and Japan Philharmonic.
Wendy Warner’s discography includes four previous recordings for Cedille: Russian Music for Cello & Piano (Warner/Nuzova), Popper & Piatigorsky, a disc devoted to unknown Beethoven piano trios including two world premieres (Beethoven Project Trio), and Double Play: 20th century violin and cello duos with Rachel Barton Pine. She has also recorded Hindemith’s complete chamber works for cello for Bridge Records, and Samuel Barber’s Cello Concerto, with Marin Alsop and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, for Naxos.
A recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, Warner teaches at the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University in Georgia. Her bow is by Françoix Xavier Tourte of Paris, c. 1815, the “De Lamare,” on extended loan through the generous efforts of a patron from the Stradivari Society of Chicago.