Darrett Adkins

  • Associate Professor of Cello

Areas of Study


  • BM, Oberlin Conservatory, 1991
  • MM, Rice University, 1993
  • DMA, Juilliard School, 2000


Darrett Adkins has commissioned and been the dedicatee of many important new works for cello, including concertos by Su Lian Tan and Philip Cashian, as well as Jeffrey Mumford’s concerto, which Adkins premiered with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony. He performed the U.S. premieres of Birtwhistle’s Meridian and Donatoni’s Le Ruisseau sur l’escalier at Tanglewood, and the New York premieres of Rolf Wallin’s Grund at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, Arne Nordheim’s Tenebrae (Alice Tully Hall), Messiaen’s Concerto for Four Instruments (Carnegie Hall), and Berio’s Sequenza XIVa (with the International Contemporary Ensemble), which Adkins also recorded for Naxos’ complete set of Sequenzas.

An avid chamber musician, Adkins performs and records in the United States and Europe with the Lions Gate Trio. He is a former member of the Zephyr Trio and the Flux Quartet, with which he gave the first complete performance of Morton Feldman’s Quartet II and made the subsequent recording on Mode Records. He has recorded with the Juilliard Quartet and been a guest at the festivals of Melbourne, Oslo Chamber Music, Ojai, Aspen, Tanglewood, and Chautauqua. He has performed standard concerti with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Tokyo Philharmonic, Suwon Philharmonic, National Symphony of the UFF in Rio de Janeiro, and the symphonies of New Hampshire and North Carolina.

  • Presser Music Award
  • Bunkamura Orchard Hall Award 
  • “Cellist of Honor’’ at the 2002 International Cello Encounter in Rio de Janeiro

Member, the Zephyr Trio, with flutist Jeanne Galway and pianist Jonathan Feldman. Member, Flux String Quartet (1997-02).

In 2017, Adkins released the Oberlin Music title Myth & Tradition, which features concertos by Richard Wernick, Philip Cashian, and Su Lian Tan. Adkins’ first release on Oberlin Music, Hypersuite II, featured music by Bach interwoven with solo works by contemporary composers.

Other Recordings
  • Morton Feldman’s six-hour String Quartet No. 2, with the Flux String Quartet, on the Mode label.
  • Recorded for the RCA, Tzadik, Koch, MMC, CRI, and Cold Blue labels as a chamber musician.

Soloist with Tochio Soloisten, the North Carolina Symphony, the New Hampshire Symphony, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Tokyo Philharmonic, and National Symphony of Brazil, among others. With the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra: 1999 American premiere of Franco Donatoni’s cello concerto Le Ruisseau sur l’escalier, 1990 premiere, Birtwistle’s Meridian. Professional debut at the Aspen Music Festival: Pierre Boulez’ Messagesquisse, James Conlon, conductor (2002). Collaborations with Ornette Coleman, David Baron ’90.

Faculty, the Juilliard School (1999 to present). Cello faculty, codirector string chamber music program, Aspen Music Festival and School.

Fall 2024

Principal Private Study - Cello — PVST 006
Secondary Private Study - Cello — PVST 056
Performance Ensembles (Artist Diploma) — APST 600
Performance Project (Artist Diploma) — APST 601
Chamber Music — APST 800

Spring 2025

Principal Private Study - Cello — PVST 006
Secondary Private Study - Cello — PVST 056
Performance Ensembles (Artist Diploma) — APST 600
Performance Project (Artist Diploma) — APST 601
Chamber Music — APST 800


Darrett Adkins CD Release Receives Praise

December 6, 2017

Cello professor Darrett Adkins teamed with the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble under the direction of Timothy Weiss in a 2017 release titled Myth & Tradition. ClevelandClassical.com weighed in—“deep in the Passacaglia of Richard Wernick’s Concerto for Cello and Ten Players (1979), the cellist opens a door and finds himself alone. Manic, thoughtful, and personal, his four-and-a-half minute cadenza is the heart of the album.” Read the complete review.