Vol. 112 (2021)

Four-Time Grammy Cellist Nick Photinos




Cellist Nick Photinos has won four Grammy Awards, received Musical America’s Ensemble of the Year Award, the Macarthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, the inaugural Chamber Music America Visionary Award, the Naumburg Award and the Concert Artists Guild Grand Prize.


Described as a “commanding soloist” (ClevelandClassical.com) whose “virtuoso cello playing is scintillating” (Chicago Classical Review) and “outstanding for his exquisite precision” (SFCV.org), Photinos has collaborated and toured with rock/pop artists: Björk, Wilco, Bryce Dessner, Bonnie “Prince” Billy and film composer Gustavo Santaolalla; classical artists: Dawn Upshaw, Philip Glass and the Bang on a Can All-Stars; and, jazz artists: Sheila Jordan, Laurence Hobgood, Zach Brock and Matt Ulery.

Nick Photinos

He has appeared as soloist with orchestras including the Cleveland, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Toronto, Utah and Atlanta Symphonies and performed in the Sydney Opera House, the Barbican in London, KBC Hall in Seoul, Carnegie Hall in New York City, Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles and Red Rocks Amphitheatre near Denver.


During Photinos’ 24-year tenure as the founding cellist and co-Artistic Director of Eighth Blackbird, an American contemporary music sextet, he performed over 1,000 concerts and premiered hundreds of new works, including Steve Reich’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Double Sextet and works by Andy Akiho, Michael Gordon, Amy Beth Kirsten, David Lang, David T. Little, Nico Muhly, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, Julia Wolfe and Pamela Z.

His debut solo album, Petits Artéfacts, was called “a bold solo debut from one of the most notable artists in contemporary music today” by PopMatters and was released on the New Amsterdam label. It features first recordings of the most acclaimed names in new music, including David Lang, Bryce Dessner, David T. Little and Andrew Norman as well as a younger generation of groundbreaking composers, including Pascal Le Boeuf, Molly Joyce, Florent Ghys and Angelica Negrón.


Photinos is a graduate of Northwestern University, the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He lives in the Chicago area with his daughter and wife, with whom he is Co-Artistic Director of Chamber Music at Bethany, a concert series bringing world-class instrumental and vocal chamber music to Chicago.


Stay Thirsty Magazine is pleased to present the following video based on Photinos' Petits Artéfacts as a representative example of his creative, award-winning magic. There is no doubt that Nick Photinos is on the leading edge of contemporary music as an innovator and performer.



Nick Photinos


All opinions expressed are solely those of its author and do not reflect the opinions of Stay Thirsty Media, Inc.