American violist Jacob Clewell stands in the vanguard of musicians of his generation. Gold Medalist of the 2017 Vancouver International Competition, he is quickly becoming sought after as a soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician.
Recent activities include solo and chamber performances at the Scotia Festival, Green Lake Chamber Music Festival, Le Domaine Forget Chamber Academy, at the Festival Pablo Casals in Prades, France, as a fellow at Music by the Sea in Bamfield, BC, and in frequent recitals in England, Canada, and the United States. He has served as principal violist of the Royal Conservatory Orchestra under maestros Gabor Takacs-Nagy and Bramwell Tovey, and at the Marrowstone and Eastern music festivals under maestro Gerard Schwarz. As a member of the Glenn Gould School’s New music Ensemble he has performed works with featured solos by Eliot Carter and Julian Anderson, and appeared in Toronto’s contemporary music festival, 21C. In May 2018 he gave his first solo performance in Chicago’s Symphony Center, performing on the VIMC winner’s tour with works by Henri Vieuxtemps. Standout moments from the 2018-19 season included a solo recital in Santa Fe to open a fine art gallery, a performance of Telemann’s Viola Concerto with The Cricket Orchestra, and the premier of Paint:Music, a collaboration with painter Karen Mosbacher focusing on audio/visual manifestations of synesthesia.
Together with his duo partner, pianist Sasha Bult-Ito (The Ezra Duo), he has appeared at the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto, the Scotia Festival’s Young Artist recital series, and on the Prime Chamber Music Society’s house concert series in southern Ontario. Ezra’s 18-19 season saw a first visit to Vancouver, their “Women in Music” tour to Georgia, New Mexico, and Ontario, and the premier of the first piece written for them, a sonata by Canadian composer Ronald Beckett. They have appeared in Toronto’s Koerner Hall in a prelude concert for the Royal Conservatory Orchestra, and in early November 2017 gave their first performance in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. They are first prize laureates of the Golden Classical Music Awards, Grand Prize Virtuoso competition, IMKA Music Competition, and in March 2018 appeared in the prestigious Città Metropolitana chamber music competition in Turin, Italy. Ezra is currently ensemble-in-residence at the Emerald Coast Chamber Music Festival and Institute in Niceville, Florida, where Sasha and Jacob are co-artistic directors and Artist Faculty.
Highlights for the 2019-20 season include concerto appearances with the Skule Orchestra and University of Toronto Campus Philharmonic, concerts with Ezra in Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Ontario, and their “Art of the Duo” tours to the Midwestern and Southern United States, as well as continued collaborative work with painter Karen Mosbacher on Paint:Music.
Born in Raleigh, North Carolina in 1992, Jacob spent the majority of his childhood in Oklahoma, playing viola in school and local orchestras. He holds diplomas from the Cornish College of the Arts, Stony Brook University, and The Glenn Gould School, where he studied with Mara Gearman, Nicholas Cords, Lawrence Dutton, and Steven Dann, and spent two years of intensive study under the Emerson String Quartet. He has undertaken additional study in Europe with Yuko Inoue, Roger Chase, and Nobuko Imai. Jacob currently holds the Yo-Yo Ma Fellowship for Strings at the University of Toronto, where he is pursuing a doctorate under the guidance of Masumi Per Rostad, and is a teaching assistant to Annalee Patipatanakoon.
Jacob draws influence from many fields, citing William Primrose, Itzhak Perlman, Martha Argerich, Boris Kroyt, Radiohead, Highly Suspect, Hayao Miyazaki, and Satoru Iwata among his greatest inspirations. Away from the viola he enjoys board games, soccer, tennis, and brewing specialty coffee.
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