Native to Los Angeles, cellist Evan Kahn has been praised as “a cellist deserved of serious listening” for bringing his “electrifying … nuanced and colorful” style to all of his collaborations, from concerti to chamber music to contemporary performances. Intensely passionate about new music and music of non-Western cultures, he has commissioned and premiered over 45 works by composers from around the world, including his father’s Cello Concerto.
Evan currently serves as principal cellist of Symphony Silicon Valley, as well as assistant principal cellist of both Opera San Jose and West Bay Opera. As cellist in the Lazuli String Quartet/Sutro Strings, Evan plays in many local chamber music concert series, and is a sought-after quartet and piano trio cellist in the San Francisco Bay Area. His Pittsburgh-based piano trio, Trio Rizi, won the top awards in the Silberman Chamber Music Competition and the Pittsburgh Concert Society Competition. He also frequently performs with San Francisco Conservatory faculty, and recently collaborated in performance with Geoff Nutall, Donald and Vivian Weilerstein, Kim Kashkashian, and members of the Miro and Telegraph Quartets. Evan is a resident cellist for several Bay Area music collectives and ensembles, such as After Everything, Mythica Foundation, and hip-hop band Ensemble Mik Nawooj.
As a soloist, he has performed with North State Symphony, Symphony Silicon Valley, the Veridian Symphony Orchestra, Segah Festival Orchestra, Diablo Symphony Orchestra, and Pittsburgh String Orchestra, as well as the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic and San Francisco Conservatory Orchestra, after winning both institutions’ concerto competitions. In April/May 2018, he served as Artist-in-Residence with Performance Today at NPR, sharing some of his favorite works for cello and his philosophies on music and life.
Evan attended Aspen Music Festival on a fellowship, where he studied with Julliard professor Darrett Adkins and played co-principal in the Aspen Academy of Conducting Orchestra, the Aspen Sinfonia Concertante, and the Aspen Philharmonic as an Orchestral Leadership Fellow. In summer 2016, he served as one of 40 student fellows in the Piatigorsky Cello Festival — fellows hand-picked from conservatories around the world — and in summer 2017, Evan attended the Taos School of Music to work with the Brentano, Borromeo, and Shanghai Quartets.
A recipient of a instrument grant from the Maestro Foundation, he has the great honor and pleasure of playing on the foundation’s “Mendelsohn” cello, a 2001 instrument by Mario Miralles named after the foundation’s head, Aaron Mendelsohn. Evan plays with a Paul Martin Siefried bow, also leant to him by Maestro, and a Belgian bow by Pierre Guillaume.
Evan received a Master’s in Chamber Music at San Francisco Conservatory of Music, studying with Jennifer Culp. He graduated with college and university honors from Carnegie Mellon University, studying with David Premo. At CMU, he received awards such as The Harry G. Archer Award for Outstanding Senior, Presser Scholarship, four years’ worth of the Wilkins Cello Scholarship, and first prize in the Carnegie Mellon Concerto Competition. Before college, he took lessons with LA Opera principal cellist John Walz and Lyris Quartet cellist Timothy Loo, and loves playing for them whenever he visits Los Angeles. Other important mentors include Paul Hersh, Thomas Loewenheim, Amos Yang, Ian Swensen, and Bonnie Hampton.
In addition to performing and teaching, Evan enjoys making curry, reading postmodern fiction, and watching The Great British Bake Off.