Born in Seattle into a musical family, Julian Schwarz started piano lessons at the age of five and began his cello studies the following year with the late David Tonkonogui; subsequent teachers include Toby Saks, Lynn Harrell, Neal Cary and Ronald Leonard. He received his Bachelor and Master degrees from The Juilliard School under his mentor Joel Krosnick with whom he now serves as a faculty teaching assistant. In August 2013, he was awarded first prize in the professional cello division of the inaugural Alice and Eleonore Schoenfeld International String Competition in Hong Kong, and, in 2016, first prize at the Boulder International Chamber Music Competition’s “The Art of Duo” with Canadian pianist Marika Bournaki.
Schwarz made his orchestral debut at the age of 11 playing Camille Saint-Saens’ Concerto No. 1 with the Seattle Symphony and his father, Gerard Schwarz, on the podium. Since then, he has appeared with numerous other orchestras in the U.S. and abroad as soloist, and at the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico and in Palm Springs as recitalist. In August 2012, he recorded the Samuel Jones Cello Concerto, which was written for him, with the newly formed All Star Orchestra, founded by Gerard Schwarz. Other recordings include “In Memoriam” for the Music of Remembrance series and the Saint-Saens No. 1 and Haydn C Major Cello concertos with the Seattle Symphony.
An avid chamber musician, Julian Schwarz has performed at the Aspen, Interlochen, Eastern, California Summer and Encore music festivals, and has been the “Featured Young Artist” at both the Seattle Chamber Music Festival and the Cape Cod Music Festival. He performed the Brahms Double at the Eastern Music Festival and the Bellingham Festival of Music in summer 2011, returning to the Eastern Music Festival in summer 2013 to premiere a new concerto by Richard Danielpour, A Prayer For Our Time. He has also premiered Dobrinka Tabakova’s Cello Concerto with the Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra, and will give the world premiere of Lowell Liebermann’s first Cello Concerto.
Influence from his father aside, Julian has always had a particularly musical relationship with Judaism. His first public performance was of Bruch’s Kol Nidrei at age nine, which he did as part of the High Holy Days services for his family’s Seattle synagogue—and continued to do so for eleven years in succession. He is also particularly fond of the Jewish works of Ernest Bloch, which he recorded for the Milken Archive.
Photo by Matt Dine