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Musicians of the NY Philharmonic

Cynthia Phelps

principal viola

Violist Cynthia Phelps’s versatile career includes appearances as chamber musician, soloist, and as Principal Violist of the New York Philharmonic, with which she has appeared as soloist on major stages across the globe, performing an extensive repertoire including 2 specially commissioned works; a concerto by composer Julia Adolphe, and a double concerto commissioned for her with Associate Principal violist Rebecca Young by acclaimed composer Sofia Gubaidulina, among other repertoire. She has been featured in several nationwide “Live from Lincoln Center” telecasts with the Philharmonic and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and on NPR, Radio France, and Italy’s RAI. Other solo appearances include the Minnesota Orchestra, Shanghai, Vermont, and San Diego Symphonies, Orquesta Sinfonica de Bilbao, and Hong Kong Philharmonic. She has collaborated internationally with artists including Itzhak Perlman, Emmanual Ax, Pinchas Zukerman, Gil Shaham, Yo-Yo Ma, and Yefim Bronfman, and has given recitals in the major music capitals across the globe.

A much sought-after chamber musician, she collaborates with the Boston Chamber Music Society, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and at New York’s Tisch Center for the Arts at the 92nd Street Y, and with ensembles including the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, and the American and Brentano String Quartets. She is a frequent guest at the Marlboro, Summerfest LaJolla, Bridgehampton, Vail, Mostly Mozart, Santa Fe, Cremona, Moab, and Schleswig-Holstein Festivals, and is a founding member of the New York Philharmonic String Quartet. 

Ms. Phelps many honors include First Prize in both the Lionel Tertis and Washington National Competitions, and she is a recipient of the Pro Musicis International Award. Her discography includes the Decca Gold, Marlboro Recording Society, Covenant, Nuova Era, Polyvideo, Virgin Classics, and Cala labels, and itunes, in a recording of Harold in Italy with the New York Philharmonic, and her album Air album with her “Les Amies” trio, was Grammy nominated.

An avid tennis player, you’ll find Cynthia on the court during most of her offstage time. A passionate swimmer, hiker, and reader, she loves crossword puzzles, and to cook for family. She and her husband have three daughters and two grandchildren, all nearby, which makes family celebrations a regular and joyous part of their lives.

photo: Richard Bowditch