A native of East Harlem in New York City, cellist Nicholas Tzavaras has toured the globe as a chamber musician, soloist, and educator for more than two decades. He has performed more than 1600 concerts worldwide, from Cartagena Columbia to the Tonhalle in Zurich to Nagasaki Japan. Since 2000, 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. Tzavaras has held the esteemed title of guest principal cellist of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra since 2009. He has recorded more than 25 albums for the Naxos, Delos, Bis, Centaur, Camerata, and New Albion labels, including the complete Beethoven string quartet cycle and Bright Sheng’s songs for pipa and cello with Wu Man. Tzavaras can be seen in the Academy Award nominated documentary “Small Wonders,” the motion picture “Music of the Heart” and with the Shanghai Quartet in “Melinda Melinda.”
Tzavaras began the violin at age 2 with his mother, Roberta Guaspari and moved to the cello when he was 7. 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 Stony Brook working exclusively with Laurence Lesser and Timothy Eddy. From 2002 to 2021, Tzavaras was the coordinator of the String Department and Artist-in-Residence at Montclair State University’s John J. Cali School of Music. In addition, he was on the cello and chamber music faculty at the Longy School of Music in Boston from 2015 to 2020. In the fall of 2020, Tzavaras joined The Tianjin Juilliard School as resident faculty.