Cellist James Jaffe plays music to connect with composers, colleagues, and audiences.
His 2016–2017 season includes solo concerto appearances with the Auburn Symphony, performances of late Beethoven quartets as a member of the Trinity Alps Chamber Music Festival, an innovative multimedia presentation of Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, guest appearances with the Chamber Music Society of San Francisco, and concert tours of Switzerland and France.
James’s performances have been broadcast by Cleveland’s WCLV 104.9, Virginia’s WVTF 89.1, and streamed live from the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. He has been a featured soloist with CityMusic Cleveland, the National Repertory Orchestra, the Stockton Symphony, St. John’s Chamber Orchestra, and the Diablo Symphony Orchestra. James has also performed frequently at Groupmuse events, including a sold-out performance of Schubert’s Death and the Maiden at San Francisco’s first MassiveMuse. His captivation with contemporary music has led to a collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steven Stucky, a series of performances of Khse Buon by Chinary Ung, and the development of Peregrinations for Solo Cello with San Francisco composer Kyle Randall.
A chamber musician at heart, James has collaborated with Geoff Nuttall, Ian Swensen, Jodi Levitz, Masumi Per Rostad, Kristopher Tong, and Carol Wincenc. As a founding member of the Thalia Quartet, based in Cleveland, James presented a series of twenty outreach concerts in Canada and was featured at the Robert Mann String Quartet Seminar in New York. He has also appeared in chamber music concerts at Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music, the Aspen Music Festival, and for Musical Upcoming Stars in the Classics. His chamber music mentors include members of the Juilliard, Cleveland, Takács, Tokyo, Vermeer, Emerson, Brentano, Borromeo, Kronos, Artis, Cavani, and Concord Quartets. As a teacher, he spent two years as director and coach of the Chamber Ensembles program for Baldwin Wallace University’s Conservatory Outreach.
James’s distinguished teachers include Louise Saunders, Milly Rosner, Richard Aaron, Stephen Geber, and Jennifer Culp. He holds performance degrees from the University of Michigan, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and the San Francisco Conservatory.