Cellist Alan Toda-Ambaras, born in 1991, is the recipient of the Prize for Most Promising Contestant at the 2005 Rostropovich International Cello Competition in Paris.
Alan is active as both a soloist and a chamber musician. He has performed with Yo-Yo Ma and members of the Silk Road Ensemble, the Borromeo Quartet, the Parker Quartet, the Boston Trio, and has appeared twice as a soloist with the North Carolina Symphony. Recent appearances include performances at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Taos Music Festival, the Diller Quaile School of Music in New York, Harvard University's Paine Hall, the Halcyon Festival, and the New England Conservatory, where his ensemble – The Frost Piano Quartet – made its Jordan Hall debut in May 2014. He has been featured on French television and in several European documentaries due to his participation in the Rostropovich Competition; he has also been heard on NPR's From The Top program and New York's WKCR Classical station.
Alan has participated in master classes and taken lessons with many of the world’s foremost artists, including Luis Claret, Philippe Muller, Ralph Kirshbaum, Gary Hoffman, David Geringas (at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana, in Siena, Italy), Jens Peter Maintz, Frans Helmerson, Anner Bylsma (all three at the Kronberg Academy in Germany), Janos Starker, and Joel Krosnick. At Harvard, he enjoyed studying the evolving significance of human gesture and physicality in modern and postmodern painting. Alan has a B.A. in History of Art and Architecture from Harvard and an M.M. from the New England Conservatory, where he studied with Laurence Lesser.
Alan’s performances have gained enthusiastic reviews. In Paris, he “touched the public and the jury” (musique.france2.fr). The Washington Post noted that Alan “has the poise of a seasoned performer” and “showed off his strengths convincingly in the demanding repertoire.” And another critic declared that Alan’s playing “proved remarkable by any standard. . . . Toda-Ambaras is worth seeking out and hearing.”
Alan is passionate about engaging with communities through performances and discussions about the arts and humanities in modern society. He is the co-founder of the interdisciplinary music organization Project LENS (experiencelens.com). Alan is also currently serving his third year as Music Scholar-in-Residence in Harvard's Cabot House, and as the director and chamber coach for the Quad Chamber Program.