Jacob Szekely

Jacob Szekely's Biography

Hailed by Grammy winning Berklee Cello Professor Eugene Friesen as “the first cellist to make a compelling case as a leader in modern jazz” and “a leader in the creative string community” by Strings Magazine, Jacob Szekely specializes in musical styles that were previously thought to be impossible on the cello. He has been lauded by critics from The Strad, Strings Magazine, International Musician and The LA Weekly (featured artist and twice “Pick of The Week”) and by artists from jazz violinist Christian Howes to Rush bassist Geddy Lee as a "quantum leap forward" in pushing the boundaries of the instrument.

Szekely has been a featured performer or solo cellist with popular artists such as Mary J Blidge, Jay Z, Ellie Goulding, Avril Lavigne, Brett Young and Rush (ClockWork Angels Tour). He has also been a soloist on television shows including Battlestar Galactica, The Walking Dead, The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Marvel’s Agents of Shield.

In addition to his busy schedule as a performer, Szekely is also active as a composer and arranger and has collaborated with a wide range of artists and ensembles from string quartets and world music groups, to commissions for chamber orchestra, children's choir and modern dance companies. In late 2016, Szekely completed a series of etudes focused on exploring popular styles and improvisation including “The Rake,” a funk pizzicato etude that was published as part of a compendium of progressive cello etudes by Yo-Yo Ma, Mike Block, Mark Summer and Rushaad Eggleston for Berklee Press in spring 2017, and “5 Progressive Studies,” a series of pieces designed to introduce Szekely’s revolutionary fingerboard concepts in etude form.

In 2007, Szekely founded String Project Los Angeles, the first dedicated school for string improvisation. Located in Venice, California, String Project Los Angeles was named by Strings Magazine as "one of the top 10 reasons to study music in Los Angeles" and praised by Christian Howes as “a model for all string teachers in America.” In addition to String Project Los Angeles, Szekely has conducted residencies and master classes across the United States at UCLA, Cal Arts, The Berklee School of Music, Oklahoma State University, Georgia State University, The University of Southern California, Ithaca College and The American String Teachers Association’s National Conference, and is founder and Artistic Director of the Annual Los Angeles Creative String Festival. He has also served on the summer faculty of numerous festivals including The New Directions in Cello Festival, Eugene Frisen's Sonterra and Christian Howes’ Creative Strings Workshop.

In 2013, Szekely launched The Improvisers’ Guide to the Cello, the first ever comprehensive video learning series designed to address the unique challenges classically trained cellists face when approaching creative string playing. This was followed by the 2015 release of ThePickupTest.com, a global resource for amplified string players which features tutorials, tabletop reviews and the first ever comprehensive sound library of every pickup on the market for violin, viola and cello.

Szekely is sponsored by Grace Design, Danish Professional Audio and is a Yamaha Artist.

Jacob Szekely's Gear
Jacob Szekely

Gear List