Described by the Daily Forward as “an exuberantly gifted cellist,” Gwen Krosnick has played across the world as a joyous communicator and advocate for music. In her life as a chamber musician, educator, and concert presenter, Krosnick creates space for audiences to connect and react; champions serious contemporary music; and – through her thoughtful, adventurous programming – encourages a lively dialogue between great pieces of music, old and new.
Krosnick enters the 2017-2018 season hot off the heels of a busy and inspiring last season: a varied mix of recitals with pianist Lee Dionne in New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio; exciting chamber music collaborations (including concerts with Kneisel Hall faculty and alumni); the first three concerts on her new series, The Boston Beethoven Cycle; and serving as Visiting Instructor of Cello on the faculty at Oberlin Conservatory, where she taught fifteen young cellists, coached chamber music, and was an enthusiastic member of Oberlin’s College and Conservatory community.
Highlights of 2017-2018 include trio concerts in Pennsylvania with violinist Ari Isaacman-Beck and pianist Qing Jiang; a teaching and performing residency at MYCO Youth Chamber Orchestra at UNC-Chapel Hill, with violinist Nicholas DiEugenio and pianist Mimi Solomon; recitals with Daniel Walden, pianist, featuring sonatas of Elliott Carter and Ralph Shapey alongside lieder of Beethoven and Schumann; and performances of the complete middle Beethoven quartets and solo works of Lei Liang and Donald Martino at home in Boston.
Krosnick was the founding cellist of Trio Cleonice and performed with them across the United States, Europe, and Asia. A review in the group’s final year said of Krosnick: “Her playing is marked by a passionate temperament and a strong, rich sound, as well as a formidable technique. She acts the music with her expressive face and body; in fact, she becomes the music” (The Reading Eagle). In the trio’s eight seasons together, they appeared at venues such as Jordan Hall in Boston, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and garnered top prizes at the Schoenfeld and Arriaga Chamber Music Competitions.
Alongside these performances, the group began a community chamber music series – Trio Cleonice & Friends, in its home base of Brookline, Massachusetts – of which Krosnick was Artistic Director. A Boston Globe review said that the series had the “informal charm of a house concert, the vast programming range of festivals like Yellow Barn, and playing that was, at its best, bracingly expressive”; Trill.me praised TC&F as “one of the most interesting and committed chamber series in Boston right now, exploring the repertoire from top to bottom, left to right, with an impressive roster of collaborators.” Along with curating these guest artists and programs, Krosnick performed extensively on the concerts, and received glowing praise in the Boston Globe for her artistry: “The concert’s lodestar was the cellist Gwen Krosnick…The younger Krosnick, who played gorgeously throughout, had a preponderance of the [Schubert] Quintet’s big melodies and looked as if there was no place she would rather be.”
Krosnick’s current playing-curating project is The Boston Beethoven Cycle, which features a chronological voyage through Beethoven’s complete string quartets over the course of three seasons. Krosnick is a ferocious and exuberant advocate of new music; and the series, to that end, presents Beethoven’s revolutionary quartets alongside solo contemporary masterworks by composers such as Ralph Shapey, Elliott Carter, Donald Martino, John Harbison, Roger Sessions, Tibor Pustzai, Andrew Norman, Christopher Theofanidis, Richard Wernick, and Thea Musgrave. The series, which takes place at Pucker Gallery on Newbury Street, will present Beethoven’s Op. 59 quartets in October (alongside works of Carter, Lei Liang, and Thurídur Jónsdóttir); and Opp. 74 and 95 in June (with works of Martino and others TBA).
Krosnick has premiered works written for her by Richard Wernick (two Suites for Unaccompanied Cello, his Piano Trio No. 2, and his two-cello work, Sonata for Two) and Ralph Shapey (Prelude and Scherzando for Cello and Piano). Advocacy for these pieces and for other new music – programming under-performed works, giving pre-concert talks, and commissioning new pieces involving the cello – is a constant for her, and a long-term goal. Krosnick’s mission to engage a wide audience in a passionate dialogue about music includes her frequent writing, both formal and informal, which appears online and in print publications. She is a regular contributor to Strings magazine and – in addition to introducing works from the stage, which she loves – writes program notes for concert series and for her own recitals. (A recent review described the way in which “her vivid, rhapsodic program notes enhanced the performance.”)
Krosnick studied at Oberlin College and Conservatory, where she received a Bachelor of Music Degree as a cello student of Darrett Adkins and Dmitry Kouzov in addition to a Bachelor of Arts degree in Russian Language and Literature. She most recently studied with Natasha Brofsky at the New England Conservatory, where she received a Master’s degree and coached with Vivian Weilerstein. Krosnick spent many summers at Kneisel Hall and Greenwood Music Camp; she was a longtime participant at Yellow Barn, where she collaborated with artists such as Anthony Marwood, Violaine Melançon, Maria Lambros, Alan Kay, and Donald Weilerstein. Krosnick’s central musical influence, since childhood, was the Juilliard String Quartet: her father, the cellist Joel Krosnick, as well as the quartet members whose playing she heard live growing up – Robert Mann, Joel Smirnoff, Ronald Copes, and Samuel Rhodes. Her other most impactful teachers included the great pianist Seymour Lipkin, violinists Laurie Smukler, Mark Sokol, and Geoff Nuttall, and music theorist Brian Alegant.
Away from the cello, Krosnick’s focus mimics her joyously-varied musical life: she is Mom to Anya, a wonderful Australian Shepherd rescue puppy; continues her Russian language studies; practices yoga, reiki, and meditation (for which she is RYT-200 and Reiki I certified); and is a passionate and accomplished home cook – specializing in classic, mostly-vegetarian, intensely-flavorful Italian food.