Cicely Parnas
Cicely Parnas, photo by Michael Polito


American cellist Cicely Parnas is recognized for bringing “velvety sound, articulate passagework and keen imagination” to her performances (The New York Times). Ms. Parnas’s 2014-2015 season includes recitals and educational outreach at the National Museum for Women in the Arts, the Levine School of Music, Patrons for Young Artists, the Morgan Library and Museum, University of Florida Performing Arts, Music for Youth, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. She performs the Haydn Concerto in C with the Owensboro and Monroe symphonies, the Elgar Concerto with the Tulare County and Southwest Michigan symphonies, the Shostakovich Concerto No. 1 with the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra, and the Saint-Saëns Concerto No. 1 with the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle. She will perform at the Musical Arts Festivals in Shanghai and Macao.

Ms. Parnas has appeared at the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, the Buffalo Chamber Music Society, Vanguard Concerts, the Jewish Community Alliance, and the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, and has performed with the Long Bay Symphony, the Longwood Symphony Orchestra, the Rochester Chamber Orchestra, and the Montreal Chamber Orchestra, where she gave the world premiere of Jim McGrath’sConcertino for Cello.

In 2012, Ms. Parnas made her Carnegie Hall concerto debut, performing the Saint-Saëns Concerto with the New York String Orchestra under the baton of Jaime Laredo. The New York Times raved: “Cicely Parnas, a fast-rising young cellist, was the impressive soloist in a rhapsodic performance.” She has performed the Elgar Concerto with the Vermont Symphony, once again with Jaime Laredo and toured France performing the Saint-Saëns Concerto with L’Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire. Other international appearances include her participation in the 2013 Young Concert Artists Festivals in Tokyo and Beijing.

Ms. Parnas, no stranger to the limelight, was named an inaugural Young Artist in Residence on NPR’s Performance Today in 2011, where she was featured in five broadcasts and an American Public Media video spotlight. Winner of the 2012 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, she was presented last season in debuts at Merkin Concert Hall and the Kennedy Center to rave reviews. She holds the Anne and George Popkin Cello Chair of YCA and was the recipient of YCA’s Mortimer Levitt Career Development Award for Women Artists in 2012. She also captured First Prize in the 2011 Cello Concerto Competition at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

Ms. Parnas also performs in duo parnas with sister and violinist Madalyn Parnas. The duo parnas has performed as soloists with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic under Randall Fleisher, the El Paso Symphony Orchestra under Lawrence Loh, and the Albany Symphony Orchestra under David Alan Miller, as well as in many recitals with pianist Peter Serkin as the Parnas/Serkin Trio. They have released three albums on the Sheffield Lab label: Parnas Double (2008), Gare du Nord (2010), and duo parnas NOW (2014). NOW features 21st century works by Lera Auerbach, William Bolcom, Paul Moravec, and Charles Wuorinen, among others. The Other Side of Time (Albany Records, 2012) includes duo parnas as featured soloists with The New Music Ensemble in a live performance of Brian Fennelly’s Fantasia Concertante. The duo also recorded this award-winning double concerto with the Fauxharmonic Orchestra, an ensemble of digital instruments.

Granddaughter of the distinguished cellist Leslie Parnas, Cicely Parnas started playing the cello at the age of four and made her concerto debut at eleven with the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra. She has studied with cellists Peter Wiley and Ronald Feldman, and earned an Artist Diploma from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where she worked with Sharon Robinson. Ms. Parnas performs on a 1712 Giovanni Grancino cello. Last updated: 07/07/2014


“Self-possessed and prepossessing, Parnas is musically poised beyond her 20 years. Her bow-arm is perfection itself, and with it she sculpts phrases of lapidary detail. She already understands that, on a stringed instrument, there is as much beauty to be found between the notes as during them. The clarity of articulation in the passagework and the skill with which she shaped lyrical lines were startling. This was artistry that cannot be taught; the musician simiply owns it.”
-- Robert Battey, The Washington Post

“Cicely Parnas, a fast-rising young cellist, was the impressive soloist in a rhapsodic performance of Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No.1 in A minor... Ms. Parnas brought velvety sound, articulate passagework and keen imagination to her performance, abetted all the way by Mr. Laredo and his players."
-- Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

“In this compact five-movement work, Hindemith probes the cello's full range and technical resources, and provides a measure of emotional heft as well. Ms. Parnas played it with focused intensity, attention to Hindemith's constantly changing textures and an appealing touch of wildness when the music was at its most heated."
-- Alan Kozinn, The New York Times

“... an astonishing mix of pungency and finesse."
-- Berkshire Record

“... possessed of prodigious technique and an Olympic gymnast's poise.”
-- Kingston Daily Freeman

“This is a technically demanding piece that combines idiomatic lyricism and warmth in its slow passages and fiery passion in its perpetual-motion finale. Miss Parnas accomplished all of these feats with a sensitivity and technique far surpassing her young years."
-- Arizona Daily Sun

“... she played with an impressive drama and phrasing that sounded more mature than her years. Yet she backed these up with a palpable passion and flair for the romantic line.”
-- Schenectady Daily Gazette


DELIUS Cello Concerto

DVORÁK Silent Woods, Op.68, No.5
Cello Concerto in B Minor, Op.104

ELGAR Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op.85

HAYDN Cello Concerto No.1 in C Major, Hob.VIIb:1
Cello Concerto No.2 in D Major, Hob.VIIb:2

KABALEVSKY Cello Concerto No.1, Op.49

KHACHATURIAN Cello Concerto in E Minor

LALO Cello Concerto in D Minor

MARTINU Cello Concerto No.1 in D Major, H.196
Cello Concerto No.2, H.304

MONN Cello Concerto in G Major

PROKOFIEV Sinfonia Concertante, Op.125

SAINT–SAËNS Cello Concerto No.1 in A Minor, Op.33

SCHUMANN Cello Concerto in A Minor, Op.129

SHOSTAKOVICH Cello Concerto No.1 in E-flat, Op.107