Joan Zucker was first heard by New Mexicans in the mid-seventies, as a jazz cellist with the Johnny Gilbert Quartet and Principal Cellist of the Orchestra of Santa Fe. Since then she has performed in many of New Mexico’s finest ensembles, from the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and Opera, to Sunday Chatter and the Figueroa Project. Joan was Principal Cellist of the NMSO since 1987 before becoming Principal of the NM Philharmonic. She is enjoying branching out these days, starting a business ‘Cello to Go,’ playing informal house concerts of varied repertoire she has arranged for solo cello, followed by mini cello lessons for brave listeners; and performing with ‘Shepherd Moon,’ a quartet with harp, winds, guitar, cello and voices, with a jazz/celtic/folk sound. Fun!
Joan spent three and a half years living in Venezuela, first performing with the Filarmonica de Caracas. They moved to Merida where she was soloist and Principal Cellist with the Filarmonica de Merida. Her frequent televised performances with the celebrated Cuarteto Interacional met with high critical acclaim.
Joan is a versatile musician who has taught extensively (cello, recorder, voice, orchestra, chamber music, theory, composition and improvisation) both privately and at various institutions, including U.C. Santa Cruz, Ithaca College and UNM. A native New Yorker, she started playing cello because her family ensemble needed a bass instrument! Joan graduated from Bennington College, where she studied with the Finckel clan, and has a masters in cello from Ithaca College.
Joan loves the outdoors, and is an avid hiker, skier, gardener and traveler. She’s had the good fortune to backpack in areas as diverse as the Andes and the Himalayas. She has a terrific son, Leo, who is about to graduate from college.