Brett DeanDaniel HopeFinghin CollinsIda KavafianJennifer FrautschiJennifer KohJuho PohjonenMark KosowerPaul NeubauerTodd Phillips

Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir, cello


Sæunn ThorsteinsdóttirCellist Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir has appeared as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Toronto and Iceland symphonies, among others, and her recital and chamber music performances have taken her across the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Following the release of her debut recording of Britten’s Suites for Solo Cello on Centaur Records, she has performed in some of the world’s greatest halls, including Carnegie Hall, Suntory Hall, and Disney Hall. The press have described her as “charismatic” (The New York Times) and praised her performances for their “emotional intensity” (Los Angeles Times).

Highlights of the 2016-2017 season include the premiere of a new concerto written for her by Páll Ragnar Pálsson, co-commissioned by the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, as well as appearances at the Seattle Chamber Music Society and Iceland Symphony’s Friday Series. In addition to have worked closely with Daníel Bjarnason on his award-winning composition Bow to String, she is currently working with composers Halldór Smárason, Melia Watras, and Ϸuríður Jónsdóttir on new pieces for solo cello.

An avid chamber musician, she has collaborated in performance with Itzhak Perlman, Mitsuko Uchida, Richard Goode, and members of the Emerson, Guarneri, and Cavani quartets. She has participated in numerous chamber music festivals, including Prussia Cove and Marlboro, with whom she has toured. She is cellist of the Seattle-based chamber music group Frequency and cellist, founding member, and co-artistic director of Decoda, The Affiliate Ensemble of Carnegie Hall.

In the fall of 2105, Sæunn joined the faculty of the University of Washington in Seattle teaching cello and chamber music. From 2013-2015 she was artist-in-residence at the Green Music Center’s Weill Hall in Sonoma, California, presenting concerts, master classes, lectures, and informal discussions at Sonoma State University.

Sæunn has garnered numerous top prizes in international competitions, including the Naumburg Competition in New York and the Antonio Janigro Competition in Zagreb, Croatia. She received a Bachelor of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music, a Master of Music from the Juilliard School, and a Doctorate of Music Arts from SUNY Stony Brook. Her principal teachers include Richard Aaron, Tanya L. Carey, Colin Carr, and Joel Krosnick.

Sæunn is an alum of Ensemble ACJW (now known as Ensemble Connect) – a program of Carnegie, the Juilliard School, and the Weill Music Institute in partnership with the New York City Department of Education – performing chamber music at Carnegie Hall and bringing classical music to students in the New York City Public Schools.


Be sure to hear Sæunn’s 2017 Festival performances listed below

Wednesday, August 2, 6pm
Mozart – Puccini – Verdi

Thursday, August 3, noon
Bruch String Octet

Thursday, August 3, 7:30pm
Mozart – Puccini – Verdi

Saturday, August 5, 5pm
Baroque Concertos