1. Faculty

Jennifer Culp

Chair, Strings; Cello; String and Piano Chamber


  • Private Lesson
  • Cello Performance Class
  • Chamber Music: Strings and Piano
  • Chamber Music Performance


  • MM, New England Conservatory of Music
  • BM, San Francisco Conservatory of Music


  • Kronos Quartet, 1998-2005
  • Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
  • Dunsmuir Piano Quartet, 1986–1998


  • Winner, Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance, 2003
  • "Musicians of the Year", Musical America, 2003
  • David Bowie in Carnegie Hall, 2002

What is your hometown?

San Francisco, CA

What is your favorite recording?

Current favorite... Clara Haskil Edition (17-CD set).

What are you passionate about outside of music?

Hiking and the great old outdoors — far, far away from city lights.

What question do you wish students would ask sooner rather than later?

“How can I meet the Dalai Lama and why is he always laughing?” (And I did get to meet His Holiness, once)!

What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?

There was no specific, defining moment. From the age of three, when I first started piano, I was hooked. I didn't want anything else (except thin mint ice cream or banana cream pie). I grew up in a very musical environment — lots of jazz and classical music.

What was a turning point in your career?

Being mentored by great, elder musicians as a student and young professional. I had the privilege to work with Eugene Lehner and Sandor Vegh. They worked directly with many important composers, including  Bartók, Webern, Schoenberg, and Kodály. Once one makes that connection to the music and its history, there's no going back!

If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?

I would always be a musician at heart — but, if I weren't? I would be on vacation, hiking the Na Pali Coast in Kauai.

What is your daily practice routine?

The routine is constantly changing, but these days I find myself beginning with Bach at the keyboard, jazzy bowings with scales, sight-reading, and finally getting to the rep that needs to be learned for upcoming concerts.

If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?

J.S. Bach, Schubert, and The Beatles.

What are your most important collaborations?

Performing with the late Justin Blasdale (pianist); Lincoln Center performance with Tom Waits; Moscow performance in Tchaikovsky Hall of all four Schnittke Quartets and the Piano Quintet (with Irina Schnittke) in one evening.

What recordings can we hear you on?

Berg: Lyric Suite, Nonesuch Records
Thomas Sleeper: Four Concerti, Albany Records
Requiem for a Dream, Nonesuch Records
Stephen Hartke: King of the Sun, New World Records
Healing the Divide: A Concert for Peace and Reconciliation