A Native of Spanish Harlem in New York City, cellist Nicholas Tzavaras has toured the globe as a chamber musician, soloist and educator for the past two decades. He has performed more than 1500 concerts worldwide, from Cartegena Columbia to the Tonhalle in Zurich to Nagasaki Japan. The New York Times calls his playing “richly singing” and “beautifully nuanced.” Since 2000, Mr. Tzavaras has been the cellist of the internationally renowned Shanghai Quartet.
Recent festival engagements have included the Brevard, La Jolla and Taos festivals, the Casals festival in Prades France, the Melbourne Music Festival in Australia and the Marlboro Festival. Mr. Tzavaras has held the esteemed title of guest principal cellist of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra since 2009. He has recorded more than 21 albums for the Naxos, Delos, Bis, Centaur, Camerata, and New Albion labels, including Beethoven’s string quartet cycle and Bright Sheng’s songs for pipa and cello with Wu Man, to name a few.
Formerly on the faculty of the University of Richmond, Mr. Tzavaras is currently the coordinator of the String Department and artist in residence at Montclair State University’s John J. Cali School of Music. He is also guest professor at the Shanghai and Central Conservatories of China. In the fall of 2016 Tzavaras joined the faculty of the Longy School of Music in Boston.
Mr. Tzavaras began the violin at age 2 with his mother, Roberta Guaspari and moved to the cello when he was 6. A graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, he went on to receive degrees from the New England Conservatory and the State University of New York at Stonybrook where his cello teachers were Laurence Lesser and Timothy Eddy. Mr. Tzavaras can be seen in the Academy Award nominated documentary “Small Wonders,” the motion picture “Music of the Heart” starring Meryl Streep and with the Shanghai Quartet in Woody Allen’s “Melinda Melinda.”
When he is not with his cello, Mr. Tzavaras is an avid cyclist, occasional triathlete, enthusiastic but unfortunately average chess player and, perhaps most importantly, a challenged father of three children all under the age of eight.