The Eloise W. Martin Chair
John Sharp was appointed principal cello of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the 1986–87 season by Sir Georg Solti. He was, at 27, among the youngest players ever in a CSO principal chair. Prior to his Chicago appointment, Sharp was a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and principal cello of the Cincinnati Symphony (1983–1986) and the New York String Orchestra under Alexander Schneider.
John Sharp has been a featured soloist for the CSO’s recording of Strauss’s Don Quixote, in Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with Itzhak Perlman and Daniel Barenboim, and in Britten’s Symphony for Cello and Orchestra under Mstislav Rostropovich.
He has performed in chamber music concerts across the nation, including appearances at the Marlboro Music Festival and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
A native of Waco, Texas, John Sharp began to play cello in school at the age of 10 and took his first private lessons at thirteen with Lev Aronson. Following a year at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, he enrolled at the Juilliard School, where he earned a master’s degree. While there, he studied with Lynn Harrell and appeared as soloist twice with Juilliard orchestras, including the New York premiere of Rorem’s Remembering Tommy. In 1986, he won third prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.
A professor of cello at Roosevelt University, John Sharp also coaches the cello section of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.
He plays a rare cello made by Joseph Guarnerius in 1694.