Jeffrey Zeigler is one of the most innovative and versatile cellists of our time. Strings Magazine says Zeigler is “widely known for pushing boundaries and breaking conventions”. The New York Times has described Zeigler as “fiery”, and a player who performs “with unforced simplicity and beauty of tone”. Acclaimed for his independent streak, Zeigler has commissioned dozens of works, and is admired as a potent collaborator and unique improviser. As a member of the internationally renowned Kronos Quartet from 2005-2013, he is the recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize, the Polar Music Prize, the President’s Merit Award from the National Academy of Recorded Arts (Grammy’s), the Chamber Music America National Service Award and The Asia Society’s Cultural Achievement Award.
Following his tenure with Kronos, his multifaceted career has led to collaborations with a wide array of artists and innovators such as Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass, Hauschka, Vijay Iyer, Robin Coste Lewis, Yo-Yo Ma, Julie Mehretu, Siddhartha Mukherjee, Carl Hancock Rux, Foday Musa Suso, and Tanya Tagaq. He has also performed as a soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Toronto Symphony, the Royal Danish Radio Symphony, the New Century Chamber Orchestra and the Ulster Orchestra under the batons of Peter Oundjian, JoAnn Falletta, Dennis Russell Davies and Dmitry Sitkovetsky. Recent and upcoming concertos written for him include Mark Adamo’s Last Year (at Carnegie Hall with the American Composers Orchestra), Andy Akiho’s Cello Concerto (Sun Valley Music Festival and the Oregon Symphony) and Amy Brandon’s Simulacra (Open Waters Festival).
Mr. Zeigler has released 40 solo and chamber music recordings for Nonesuch Records, Deutsche Grammophon, Cantaloupe, Smithsonian Folkways and National Sawdust Tracks and has appeared with Norah Jones on her album Not Too Late on Blue Note Records. Zeigler can be heard on the film soundtrack for Paolo Sorrentino’s Academy Award winning film, La Grande Bellezza, as well as Clint Mansell’s Golden Globe nominated soundtrack to the Darren Aronofsky film, The Fountain. Zeigler can also be seen making an on screen cameo in Season 4 of the Amazon Prime’s Golden Globe Award winning series Mozart in the Jungle.
His most recent solo album, Houses of Zodiac, is his first full collaboration with his wife, trailblazing composer Paola Prestini. Strings Magazine described the album as “one of the greatest and most ambitious solo cello albums of all time”. It is a multimedia experience that combines spoken word, movement, music, and imagery into a unified exploration of love, loss, trauma and healing. Filmed by Murat Eyüboglu at MASS MoCA and Studio Polygons in Tokyo, Japan, with premieres at The Broad Museum in Los Angeles and the RomaEuropa Festival in Italy. The live and filmic experience features the performances and original choreography of New York City Ballet soloist Georgina Pazcoguin and star Butoh dancer Dai Matsuoka from Sankai Juku featuring the poetry of Anaïs Nin, Pablo Neruda, Brenda Shaughnessy, and Natasha Trethewey.
Other upcoming highlights include being featured in a new cello opera entitled The Old Man and the Sea directed by Karmina Silec with music by Paola Prestini and libretto by Royce Vavrek. The world premier will take place at Arizona State University in Fall 2023 and then go on to the University of North Carolina, New York and Los Angeles.
Zeigler was the Music Director for two eco-documentaries that exist at the intersection of art, science, and community. Directed by Murat Eyüboglu, part one was entitled The Colorado and premiered at the Metropolitan Museum, the Kennedy Center, and Stanford Live and at over 30 film festivals. An excerpt of Part two, The Amazon, was presented at the Margaret Mead Festival at the American Museum of Natural History.
Alongside Paola Prestini, Zeigler is the Co-Artistic Director of VisionIntoArt, a non-profit new music & interdisciplinary arts production company based in New York. Described by The New York Times as “always intriguing and frequently beguiling”, VIA “facilitates flamboyant, confounding and enticing collaborations”.
Zeigler is the Director of the National Sawdust Ensemble of National Sawdust, an artist-led, multidisciplinary new music venue in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where he sits on the Advisory Board. As the “in house band”, NSE performs in many of NS’ most important projects including Blueprint and the Hildegard Commission for Female, Trans, and Non-Binary Composers.
Jeffrey Zeigler is a member of the Board of Directors of Chamber Music America and CelloBello and is on the Honorary Committee of the Sphinx Organization.
Zeigler was recently appointed Assistant Professor of Chamber Music and Innovation at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami.
Jeffrey Zeigler plays on a cello by Samuel Zygmuntowicz on loan from the Five Partners Foundation. Zeigler also plays on Pirastro Perpetual Strings.