Cellist Emileigh Brooke Vandiver brings people together through the humanity of music, cello in tow. Described by the Boston Musical Intelligencer as a musician who conveys “a world of emotional meaning to the cello,” Ms. Vandiver’s performances, teaching, and community engagement reflect her desire to reverse the current trend of social isolation and reconnect people across cultures. She is thrilled to join the Dallas Symphony’s cello section for the 2019-2020 season.
Reviewed by the New York Times as an “excellent performer”, Ms. Vandiver is a versatile musician who has performed with various orchestras across the globe. Previously, she held positions with the Houston Symphony and Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. Additional ensemble experiences include touring and/or performing with the Baltimore Symphony, the Grant Park Orchestra, the Boston Lyric Opera, and Grammy nominated chamber orchestra A Far Cry.
Dedicated to community engagement through teaching, Ms. Vandiver currently serves on faculty at the Dallas Conservatory. Previously, she was the cello professor at the University of New Hampshire from 2015-2018 and was on faculty at the New England Conservatory of Music’s Preparatory School. Additionally, she served on the cello, solfege, and chamber music faculty for Project STEP at Boston’s Symphony Hall. She has also given lectures at the American String Teachers Association and has performed at the Music Educators National Conference. Ms. Vandiver has held faculty positions at Greenwood Music Camp, the Summer Youth Music School at the University of New Hampshire, and the Four Strings Academy in Boston. A testament to her passion for mentoring young musicians, many of Ms. Vandiver’s high cello students have been accepted to prominent music schools including the New England Conservatory, the Peabody Institute, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, and the Juilliard School.
Committed to the sustainability of her art form, Ms. Vandiver is a noted interpreter and advocate of new music. She was the principal cellist in the 21st Century Contemporary Ensemble, part of Carnegie Hall’s professional workshops, directed by John Adams and David Robertson. Ms. Vandiver draws inspiration from and has worked closely with Steve Reich, David Lang, John Adams, Michael Gordon, Andrew Norman, Hans Zender, Robert Honstein, Gunther Schuller, Vinko Globokar, John Heiss, and Julia Wolfe. She has also performed at June in Buffalo with Ensemble Signal and in the Bang on a Can marathon. She has been an artist-in-residence with the New England Conservatory’s composition department and at the University of Michigan and the Kenosha Creative Space.
Ms. Vandiver completed her Undergraduate and Master’s Degrees as well as a Graduate Diploma at the New England Conservatory. She was awarded the Lotta Crabtree Scholarship and upon graduation received the Gunther Schuller President’s Medal. She studied with Paul Katz, Natasha Brofsky, and John Heiss. Her former cello teachers include Richard Aaron, Hans Jørgen-Jensen, Christopher French, and Ann Victor. Her chamber music teachers include Kim Kashkashian, Miriam Fried, Don Weilerstein, Vivian Weilerstein, Paula Robinson as well as members of the Cleveland, Juilliard, Takács, Arditti, and Borromeo String Quartets.
As a descendent of Pendleton Vandiver, a fiddler who was a crucial influence in the development of Bluegrass, Ms. Vandiver grew up in a musical family that exemplified educational outreach and community organization. She has been deeply inspired by her father’s work with inner-city school’s choir programs and her violinist mother’s establishment of vital community music programs. When the New England Conservatory sent Ms. Vandiver to Panamá to educate underserved communities, the experience opened up a new opportunity for her to make connections across cultures through music. In response to witnessing the joy that music brought to those living in poverty, Ms. Vandiver initiated a grant proposal to provide instrument repair workshops enabling local musicians and teachers to keep the community’s instruments in playable condition. After receiving the funds, Ms. Vandiver consulted with an innovative luthier, Erik Grausam, and returned to Panamá to teach local teachers and students five common repairs that could be done with low-cost, and sustainable, bodega items. Jell-O was used for adhesive, broomsticks were cut into clamps, and wine corks served as buffers to protect the instruments. Ms. Vandiver is currently seeking additional funding to create instrument repair videos for YouTube in order to share this valuable information with people from all over the globe in need of a sustainable solution to keep the joy of music alive in their communities.
Committed to civic engagement, Ms. Vandiver performs regularly in prisons, schools, senior community centers, and on the Music for Food series. She is featured as principal character in the cello documentary, Talent Has Hunger, and is a contributor to www.CelloBello.com. Ms. Vandiver is currently writing two solfege textbooks and a cello method book. In her spare time she loves to play with cute dogs, take pilates classes, and design her own gowns and jewelry.