Turkish cellist Efe Baltacigil was appointed assistant principal cello of The Philadelphia Orchestra in 2002 and became associate principal cello in 2003. In July 2010 he made his Orchestra solo debut at the Mann Center in Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations, a performance the Philadelphia Inquirer called “so winning, one hardly knows what to discuss first.” He was also acclaimed by audiences and critics alike in February 2005 when he and pianist Emanuel Ax performed Beethoven’s Cello Sonata No. 1 at a Philadelphia Orchestra concert with only 10 minutes of rehearsal. Mr. Baltacigil and Mr. Ax, the evening’s soloist, were called upon when a winter snowstorm prevented some Orchestra musicians from reaching the concert hall. After that performance, the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote, “Baltacigil is a highly individualized solo artist. His gorgeous sound, strong personality, and expressive depth suggest an artist about to have a major career.”

Mr. Baltacigil won the 2005 Young Concert Artists International Auditions. He was also awarded the Peter Jay Sharp Prize (which presented his New York recital debut in December 2005) and the Washington Performing Arts Society Prize (which presented his Washington, D.C., recital debut in April 2006). His other awards include first prize in concerto competitions in Istanbul and New York and the Allentown (Pennsylvania) Schadt String Competition.

Recent season highlights include Mr. Baltacigil’s debut at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, an appearance at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall in Richard Goode’s Perspectives series, and performances at the Philadelphia Academy of Music, the Curtis Institute of Music, the North Dakota Museum of Art, Mayville State University (ND), and the Buffalo Chamber Music Society.

Mr. Baltacigil has performed a Brahms Sextet with Itzhak Perlman, Midori, Yo-Yo Ma, Pinchas Zukerman, and Jessica Thompson at Carnegie Hall, and participated in Mr. Ma’s Silk Road Project. Mr. Baltacigil has also appeared as soloist in the Schumann Cello Concerto with the Curtis Chamber Orchestra conducted by Otto-Werner Mueller. Mr. Baltacigil has toured with Musicians from Marlboro and is a member of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society II.

Mr. Baltacigil was born in Istanbul, Turkey. He started studying the violin at the age of five and changed to the cello at the age of seven. He received his bachelor’s degree from Mimar Sinan University Conservatory in Istanbul in 1998 and an artist diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia in 2002, where he studied with Peter Wiley and David Soyer. Mr. Baltacigil was a recipient of the Curtis Institute’s Jacqueline DuPre Scholarship. He plays a cello made in Cremona, Italy, in 1680 by Francesco Rugieri and given to him by a Turkish sponsor.

This biography was most recently edited by...
fliblit - 18 May 2011