Assistant Principal Cello

Julia MacLaine

Last updated: January 9, 2024

Assistant Principal Cello of the National Arts Centre Orchestra since 2014, Julia MacLaine performs worldwide as a soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician in music ranging from classical to contemporary and from “world” to her own arrangements and compositions.

Most recently, she has performed with her string quartet Ironwood in Mahone Bay (NS), at the Indian River Festival (PEI), and at their own Classical Unbound Festival in Prince Edward County. The quartet has appeared at the Wolfgang Sessions and MFASA series in Ottawa, at Ritornello Festival (SK), and in Paris. Their programs combine classical warhorses (Beethoven, Ravel, Debussy) with very new music (works by Ana Sokolovic, Nicole Lizée, Bryce Dessner, Philip Glass, Esa‐Pekka Salonen), and occasionally veer off into their own arrangements of original songs and folk music.

During the ten years she spent living in New York City, Julia collaborated frequently with composers, giving voice to new works for solo cello. Most notably, she has been a champion of Pedro Malpica’s Pachamama’s Catharsis. MacLaine could often be heard on all three stages at Carnegie Hall. As a member of Ensemble Connect (previously ACJW), she performed numerous chamber music concerts at Weill and Zankel Halls, notably as the soloist in Tan Dun’s concerto Elegy: Snow in June. She also played frequently in Stern Auditorium as a member of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and as principal cellist for Osvaldo Golijov’s Pasion selun San Marcos. From 2005 to 2014, she was a member of the Brooklyn‐based chamber orchestra The Knights, with whom she performed the Schumann Cello Concerto in 2012 in Central Park and for live broadcast by WQXR. The Grammy‐nominated ensemble collaborates regularly with artists such as Gil Shaham, Renée Fleming, and Yo‐Yo Ma, and has recorded several albums for, among others, SONY Classical.

An entrepreneurial musician, Julia co-founded the New York group The Ikarus Chamber Players, an ensemble that married classical chamber music with other art forms in their own concert series in auction houses, art galleries, and other unique venues. With her colleagues in the Academy (Carnegie and Juilliard‐led fellowship connected to Ensemble ACJW/Connect), she formed the chamber music collective Decoda to develop community chamber music residencies around the world. With Decoda, Julia has performed at the Mecklenberg‐Vorpommern Festival in Germany, in Abu Dhabi, at Suntory Hall in Tokyo, and across the United States. She has also appeared at the Lanaudière, Bic, Mostly Mozart, Tanglewood, and Ravinia Festivals.

Julia has performed with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and Les Violons du Roy, and her chamber music collaborators include Itzhak Perlman, Jackie Parker, Pinchas Zukerman, members of the Orion String Quartet, Ani and Ida Kavafian, Inon Barnatan, and Cynthia Phelps.

Originally from Prince Edward Island, Julia studied with Antonio Lysy at McGill University (BMus), and with Timothy Eddy at the Mannes College of Music (Artist Diploma) and at The Juilliard School (MMus).

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