Born into a family of musicians, cellist Clara Abel found a delight for music at an early age. Having a string quartet for a family meant that she was quickly shepherded into the world of chamber music, which ultimately led her to study with Joel Krosnick at the Juilliard School, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in 2018 and her Master's in 2020. Clara has performed at festivals such as Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, Clasclas International Music Festival, the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar and ChamberFest. As a member of the Kahlo Quartet, she was chosen for Juilliard’s prestigious Honors Chamber Music Program in 2016-17, and performed chamber music recitals and masterclasses at Alice Tully Hall, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and for worldwide audiences on medici.tv. Clara made her New York concerto debut in 2015 playing the Dvořák Cello Concerto, and recently performed both the Haydn cello concertos with the Arts at All Saints Orchestra. She is a substitute cellist with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and New York Classical Players, and is a member of New York-based chamber music collectives Vista Lirica and Cosmopolitan Chamber Players. The latter ensemble is comprised largely of musicians from her immediate and extended family. Clara enjoys performing for all types of audiences, and in a variety of settings, ranging from venues such as Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall, and the Kennedy Center to living rooms, museums, schools, and soup kitchens, in an effort to share her belief that music is for everyone. In response to her growing artistic curiosity, Clara plays in a variety of musical languages, including improvisation, crossover and historical performance. She will continue at Juilliard next year as part of the Historical Performance program. She plays on a 1756 Contreras Cello generously on loan from Juilliard, where she is a proud recipient of the Kovner Fellowship.
Music has been a part of my life since before I even entered this word. It brought my parents together (and my grandparents), and it has filled every corner of my childhood home since before I can remember. It is one of the ways that I interact with my own family of four (we are a string quartet), as well as my extended “family orchestra”; It is also one of my favorite ways of getting to know new people -- I find that through sharing art and music and experiencing where another person finds beauty, we can get a small peek into their soul and often understand them better than we could otherwise. Thus through music I have found new families besides the one I was born into!
I believe that classical music is something that can be appreciated by just about anyone, but I know that the classical music world is not always the most welcoming. As a musician I bring people together through shared artistic experiences. It is my hope that these moments shared between people might cultivate human connections, understanding, and empathy, all of which our world needs greatly. To that end, I strive to make everyone in my audience feel welcome. For me this includes performing in a variety of non-traditional venues, and often setting aside the typical formality of performances in favor of a more friendly, candid, (and perhaps more honest) atmosphere.
I'm fascinated by the way different art forms interact with each other. I love the combinations of music with painting, food, and dance, and I think these art forms can speak the most strongly when combined with one another.
I often stumble upon beauty (and humor) in unexpected places, and I always feel lucky when I do. For example...
A different view of the Brooklyn Bridge
The sidewalk during an eclipse
I like to paint, because unlike with music, no one expects me to be good at it and that gives me an incredible feeling of freedom. I love exploring different cuisines! Plants give me a special kind of joy.
I care deeply about the earth, and I try my best to live an environmentally conscious lifestyle. I have been vegan for 11 years, because I know that that single choice can greatly reduce my carbon footprint. I also know that there is much more that I can do, and I hope that everyone on this earth will look for changes that they can make in their own lives to ensure the future of our planet.