Cellist Hannah Collins is a dynamic performer who uses diverse forms of musical expression and artistic collaboration to build connections and community. Winner of the Presser Music Award and De Linkprijs for contemporary interpretation, she takes an active role in expanding the repertoire for the cello by commissioning and premiering solo works and by co-creating interdisciplinary projects—most recently working with visual artist Antonia Contro and violinist Clara Lyon on Correspondence, a multimedia installation exhibited at the Carrie Secrist Gallery in Chicago. Resonance Lines, her solo debut album on the Sono Luminus label, pairs music by Benjamin Britten and Kaija Saariaho with commissioned works by Caroline Shaw and Thomas Kotcheff. The release included video features with Strings Magazine and The Strad, the latter calling the album an “adventurous, impressive collection of contemporary solo cello music,” negotiated “with panache.”
Over the past decade, New Morse Code, her “remarkably inventive and resourceful duo” (Gramophone) with percussionist Michael Compitello, has developed projects responding to our society’s most pressing issues, including The Emigrants, a documentary chamber work by George Lam, and dwb (driving while black), a chamber opera by Roberta Gumbel and Susan Kander. They were recently named the inaugural grand prize winners of the Ariel Avant Impact Performance Prize which will support the development and touring of new works addressing sustainability goals and scientific innovation.
Solo and chamber music performances have taken Hannah to festivals such as Orford Centre d'arts, Kneisel Hall, the Aldeburgh Festival, and Musique de Chambre à Giverny. She is a member of the Bach Aria Soloists, A Far Cry, and Grossman Ensemble (20-22), and has performed with The Knights, Decoda, Talea Ensemble, and NOVUS NY. Praised for her “incisive, vibrant continuo” playing (South Florida Classical Review), Hannah appears regularly as a Baroque cellist with the Sebastians, New York Baroque Incorporated, Quodlibet Ensemble, and the Trinity Baroque Orchestra.
A dedicated teaching artist, Hannah is an alumna of Ensemble Connect, a professional development program focused on chamber music performance, teaching artistry, and arts advocacy through the resources of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, and the Weill Music Institute, in partnership with the New York City Department of Education. She served as co-director of KHBH: Together in Music, a recurring outreach residency which connects the Kneisel Hall Music Festival with the community of Blue Hill, Maine through creative projects. During the summer, she teaches cello and chamber music at Greenwood Junior Music Camp and has previously served as resident director of Avaloch Farm Music Institute.
Hannah earned a B.S. in biomedical engineering summa cum laude from Yale College and also holds graduate degrees in cello performance from the Yale School of Music, the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, and the City University of New York's Graduate Center. Her principal mentors have included Stefan Reuss, Ole Akahoshi, Aldo Parisot, Michel Strauss, Robert Mealy, and Marcy Rosen. Hannah is currently Associate Professor of Cello at the University of Kansas School of Music.
Photo by Elizabeth Taylor Frandsen