JONATHAN SWENSEN first fell in love with the cello upon hearing the Elgar Concerto at the age of six, and ultimately made his concerto debut at the age of twenty performing that very piece with Portugal’s Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música. Sinc then, he has appeared as soloist with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, Mobile Symphony Orchestras, Orquesta Ciudad de Granada, Venice State Symphony Orchestra, Denmark’s Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, Poland’s NFM Leopoldinum Orchestra, Copenhagen Philharmonic, Odense Symphony Orchestra, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Armenian State Symphony Orchestra and the Sun Symphony Orchestra in Vietnam.
Winner of the prestigious 2022 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Jonathan has also captured First Prizes at the 2018 Young Concert Artists Susan Wadsworth International Auditions, 2018 Khachaturian International Cello Competition, and 2019 Windsor International String Competition. In his native Denmark, he was recipient of the Jacob Gades Scholarship in 2019, the Léonie Sonning Talent Prize in 2017, and First Prize at the 2016 Danish String Competition.
Young Concert Artists presented Jonathan’s recital debuts in New York on the Michaels Award Concert at Merkin Concert Hall, and in Washington, DC on the Alexander Kasza-Kasser Concert at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater. Recent recital and chamber music appearances outside of the U.S. have included a return to Armenia to take part in the Khachaturian Festival in Yerevan, the Usedomer Musikfestival in Germany, the Tivoli Festival in Copenhagen and a South Korean debut at the Seoul Arts Centre. He is also a frequent performer at festivals in Denmark, including the Schubertiaden, the Copenhagen Summer Festival and the Hindsgavl Summer Festival.
The 2022-23 season sees Jonathan Swensen returning to the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra under Marc Soustrot and the NFM Leopoldinum in a play-direct programme, as well as his debut with the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra under Douglas Boyd. He will also be appearing with the Slovak State Philharmonic Košice both in Košice and at the Festival Allegretto Žilina following his recital debut there in 2022 with pianist Filip Strauch, where he was awarded the Festival Prize for the most distinguished performance at the festival. In the US, he will be performing Shostakovich’s 2nd Concerto with the New England Conservatory Orchestra and Hugh Wolff, Lalo Concerto with Aiken Symphony in South Carolina, and chamber music tours with YCA on Tour and Camerata Pacifica. The season also sees the release of Jonathan’s debut recording ‘Fantasia’, on Champs Hill Records, an album of works for solo cello, including Bent Sørensen’s ‘Farewell Fantasia’, composed for and dedicated to Jonathan and which he premiered in 2021.
Jonathan also co-created the classical music festival called Festival & Friends, and was artistic director of this festival in 2020.
A graduate of the Royal Danish Academy of Music, Jonathan has studied with Professor Torleif Thedéen at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. He now attends the New England Conservatory of Music for graduate studies, under the tutelage of Laurence Lesser.
About our Rising Stars
ChamberFest Cleveland’s Rising Stars are recognized for their extraordinary talent. They are invited to deepen their connection to the art of chamber music by immersing themselves in the festival, rehearsing side by side with the leading chamber musicians of our time, and performing in a professional concert setting for discerning audiences and critics alike.