John Sharp

Principal Cello
The Eloise W. Martin Chair

At age 27, John Sharp became one of the youngest principal players in the history of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra when he was appointed to the position in 1986. A top prizewinner of the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, he has appeared as soloist with the CSO in performances of the Britten Symphony for Cello and Orchestra with Mstislav Rostropovich conducting, the Beethoven Triple Concerto with Itzhak Perlman and Daniel Barenboim, several Chicago premieres and in numerous concertos. He has been featured twice as soloist with Music Director Riccardo Muti.

An active chamber musician, Sharp has participated at the festivals of Marlboro, Santa Fe, Vail and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He has collaborated with the Vermeer Quartet, Mitsuko Uchida, Pinchas Zukerman, Yo-Yo Ma and more.

Born in Texas, Sharp studied the cello with Lev Aronson and later with Lynn Harrell at the Juilliard School where he earned a bachelor's and a master's degree. Prior to his appointment in Chicago, he was a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and principal cello of the Cincinnati Symphony. He has given master classes throughout the United States and in Europe and has coached at the New World Symphony, the National Orchestral Association, the National Youth Orchestra of the USA and the Chicago Civic Orchestra. He is currently a professor of cello at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts.

He plays a rare cello made by Joseph Guarnerius in 1694.

October 2018


Please note: Biographies on the CSO website are based on the information that was most recently provided to the CSO by the artists or their representatives. More current information may be available on the artists' own websites or those of their representatives.