Born in 1993, cellist Cicely Parnas is one of the finest young artists performing today. A unique presence on the concert stage, she is recognized for her highly individualized sound, exquisite tone, and spontaneous creativity fueled by an affable fearlessness. Cicely’s cello studies began at age four, and she made her orchestral debut at nine. Since then Cicely has performed forty times as guest soloist with orchestras, including the New York String Orchestra conducted by master musician and conductor, Jaime Laredo, David Alan Miller’s Albany Symphony Orchestra, and Randall Fleisher conducting the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. Cicely was presented as an inaugural performer for the NPR Performance Today’s series “Young Artists in Residence” in December 2011.
Ms. Parnas claimed her seventh 1st prize in soloist competitions winning the 2011 Cello Concerto Competition at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. This young titan of the cello proves herself not only on the solo stage but also in the chamber setting. An early start playing duets with her sister, violinist Madalyn Parnas, soon became duo parnas. The sibling string duo took 1st prize in international chamber music competition at Carnegie Hall, and released two "must-have" CDs featuring 20th century duo literature. Furthermore, this exceptional groundwork in chamber music laid the foundation for successful concertizing with the great artist Peter Serkin as the Parnas/Serkin Trio.
This season Cicely will make her Carnegie Hall debut as guest soloist with the New York String Orchestra and her Vermont Symphony debut, both under the baton of master musician and conductor Jaime Laredo. She will appear as guest soloist numerous times while touring with France’s Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire. As a featured performer at the El Paso Pro-Musica Festival, Ms. Parnas will appear twice as guest soloist with the El Paso Symphony Orchestra as well as in several chamber music concerts. In addition to performances, duo parnas will release their third album, In Real Time, which presents 21st century works by award-winning composers including Lera Auerbach, William Bolcom, Paul Moravec, and Charles Wuorinen (Sheffield Lab). Also to be released in the fall, is a CD of works by composer Brian Fennelly, which includes duo parnas as the featured soloists with orchestra performing his double concerto, Fantasia Concertante (Albany Records).
Cicely is presently completing her undergraduate studies at Cleveland Institute of Music as a full-tuition scholarship recipient in the studio of Sharon Robinson. Ms. Parnas holds an Artist Diploma from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. She is the granddaughter of world-class cellist Leslie Parnas, and a former student of cellist Peter Wiley. Ms. Parnas performs on a 1712 Giovanni Grancino violoncello.
"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."
-- Allan Kozinn, The New York Times
"...an astonishing mix of pungency and finesse."
-- Berkshire Record
"...possessed of prodigious technique and an Olympic gymnast's poise."
-- 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."
-- Daily Gazette
"...the display of artistry on the part of the soloists was breath-taking."
-- Cooperstown Freeman's Journal
"...the young players have adventuresome tastes and a meaty sound. ...there's a haunting and sustained intensity to the Ravel Sonata and a classical elegance to the Handel Passacaglia. But the heart of the record is in the opening duos by Zoltan Kodaly and Alexander Tcherepnin. Both works have a gritty intensity that's leavened by the insightful and passionate performances."
-- Joseph Dalton, Times Union