Joan Jeanrenaud - Cellist, Composer, Multi-Media Artist

Raised on a small farm outside Memphis, Tennessee, I was introduced to the cello at age 11 while attending school under the music tutelage of Ethel Scrivner. One year later my training as a classical cellist began with Peter Spurbeck, then professor at Memphis State University and principal cellist of the Memphis Symphony. As a young girl I performed with the Memphis Youth Symphony under the conductor Vincent de Frank, attended the Sewanee Summer Music Center and joined the Memphis Musician’s Union to participate in the vibrant Memphis music scene.


Upon graduation from high school, I continued my music studies at Indiana University School of Music studying the cello with Fritz Magg. After obtaining a Bachelor of Music degree at IU where I was a founding member of the IU Contemporary Music Ensemble and spending a summer at Tanglewood as principal cellist of the Festival Orchestra conducted by Leonard Bernstein, I moved to Geneva, Switzerland to study with Pierre Fournier. In 1978 I became the cellist of Kronos Quartet, a position I held for 20 years.


My work with Kronos included more than 30 recordings and over 2000 performances that took us to virtually every major concert hall worldwide including Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, London’s Royal Festival Hall, Sydney Opera House, Teatro La Scala, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Buenos Aires’ Teatro Colon, Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow and Tokyo’s Suntory Hall. While with Kronos I had the privilege of working with hundreds of composers and contemporary artists: John Cage, Terry Riley, Astor Piazzolla, John Zorn, Henryk Gorecki, Hamza El Din, David Byrne, Philip Glass, Joan Armatrading, Kevin Volans, Frank Zappa and many others.


Leaving Kronos in 1999, I struck out on my own to pursue new directions as a soloist and performing artist. I began to freely explore the directions my interests were leading me at this pivotal point in my career. I now compose, improvise and arrange music,  as well as research, produce and present multi-media performance arts. I am interested in not only the sound world my instrument can inhabit but also the visual and conceptual presentation of music.

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