Deborah Pae

Hailed by Gramophone Magazine as “exceptionally gifted” and “breathtaking," cellist DEBORAH PAE is captivating audiences with her “superb tone...high level of interpretative intelligence” and “tremendous technical assurance” (Transcentury Blog). 

Since her orchestral debut at age sixteen with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Ms. Pae has enjoyed concerto appearances with Sinfonia Varsovia of Poland, Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège, Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie, Ensemble Orchestral de Bruxelles, and the Westchester Philharmonic with conductors Vassily Sinaisky, Thomas Wilkins, Christian Arming, Augustin Dumay, and Itzhak Perlman. In 2014, she ventured into new territory, conducting and playing Haydn’s Cello Concerto No.1 in C major with Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie at the Korean Cultural Center in Brussels, Belgium. 

In 2005, Ms. Pae made her European recital debut at Musée du Louvre in Paris to an overwhelming response and since then, has appeared at the invitation of Palais des Beaux-Arts, Flagey Radio Hall, Musée de Grenoble, Amsterdam Cello Biënnale, Neue Galerie, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Van Wezel Foundation’s Young Artists Series.

Recognized for her artistic versatility, she has received major awards from the Frank Huntington Beebe Fund, Belgian American Educational Foundation, DoMusica Foundation, and National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. 

A devoted chamber musician, Ms. Pae has been a featured artist at renowned international festivals including Marlboro, Ravinia, Crans-Montana Classics, Schiermonnikoog Festival, Open Chamber Music at Prussia Cove, and Perlman Music Program. She has been admired for her "sophisticated technique...vivid sonority" (San Diego Story) and "novel vitality” (Boston Musical Intelligencer). She has shared the stage with many of the world’s celebrated artists including Itzhak Perlman, Miriam Fried, Pamela Frank, Kim Kashkashian, Charles Neidich, and members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, Johannes, Pro Arte, Takács, and Cleveland String Quartets. In 2012, she participated in the Musicians from Ravinia Steans Music Institute tour and later that year, garnered the silver medal at the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition with her piano trio, Trio Modetre. 

Ms. Pae enjoys exploring new, overlooked, and undiscovered works. Her debut recording, released by Zig-Zag Territoires in 2013, features the seldom-played Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No. 2 in D minor with conductor Christian Arming and the Liège Royal Philharmonique. The CD has garnered praise from Supersonic Pizzicato, de Classica, and Gramophone Magazines and was the ‘Editor’s Choice’ of Diapason Magazine (France). She has also given the world premieres of Fantasia Festa (2009) by Jonathan Crehan, Le Dormeur du Val (2012) by Roberto Kalb, and Song Recollections by Lei Liang. Currently, award-winning American composer Jeffrey Mumford is writing a new concerto for cello and chamber orchestra titled “of radiances blossoming in expanding air”. This work will enjoy its world premiere in London with the English Symphony Orchestra (ESO) in 2018 followed by the U.S. premiere with the Boston (USA) based ensemble, Phoenix.

Born in the United States to Korean parents, Ms. Pae began the cello at age four, creating an instrument from a Cheerios cereal box wound with strings and an imaginary bow. After her first lessons, she quickly graduated to a sixteenth sized cello and three years later became the youngest cellist accepted into the Juilliard Pre-College Division. She is a graduate of the Juilliard School and New England Conservatory, and former Artist-in-Residence at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapelle in Belgium. Her most prominent mentors include Gary Hoffman, Laurence Lesser, and Joel Krosnick, and violinists Miriam Fried and Sylvia Rosenberg and violist Kim Kashkashian. 

Ms. Pae is Professor of Cello at Eastern Michigan University.  She plays a Vincenzo Postiglione cello (c. 1885) generously on loan from the Arts and Letters Foundation. 

© 2016 Formosa Quartet