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Isaac Pastor-Chermak

Isaac Pastor-Chermak headshot

Courses Taught

Beethoven's Chamber Music


Berkeley Symphony

Opera San Jose

Fresno Philharmonic


What is your hometown?

Berkeley, CA

What is your favorite recording?

Bruno Walter conducting the complete Beethoven Symphonies -- grew up listening to the vinyl record on my parents' turntable!

What are you passionate about outside of music?

The Giants!

What recordings can we hear you on?

I recently released my debut CD, "Preludes and Prologues" with my fiancee, pianist Alison Lee. Music of Gershwin, Beethoven, Schumann, and Debussy!

Are you involved in any other ensembles?

Additionally I am a part of the Stockton Symphony, Santa Barbara Symphony, Santa Cruz Symphony, Monterey Symphony, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony, and Dayton Philharmonic.

What is your favorite recording?

Glenn Gould’s 1981 Goldberg Variations, hands-down.

Who were your major teachers?

Cello: Irene Sharp, Jean-Michel Fonteneau
Music History: Richard Taruskin, Davitt Moroney, John Spitzer, Anna Maria Busse Berger 

What was a turning point in your career?

My first performance of the complete Bach Cello Suites. To date, I’ve performed the complete Suites ten times, working up from a two-night concert to a single concert with a dinner break to most recently playing them on one program with only a standard intermission.

What recordings can we hear you on?

My fiancee Alison (who is a professional pianist) and I recently released our debut CD, “Preludes and Prologues,” which we crowdfunded and self-produced. The album features music for cello and piano by Gershwin, Beethoven, Schumann, and Debussy. 


Cellist Isaac Pastor-Chermak enjoys a diverse and varied career in symphony and opera orchestras, chamber music, and solo and recording engagements, as well as engaging deeply with his community as a conductor, educator, and nonprofit board member. He is Principal Cellist of Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony; Associate Principal Cellist of Stockton Symphony; Assistant Principal Cellist of Opera San Jose and Fresno Philharmonic; and a member of Berkeley Symphony, Santa Barbara Symphony, Monterey Symphony, Santa Cruz Symphony, and Dayton Philharmonic. He spends his summers at the Eisenstadt Classical Music Festival in Austria and the Lake Tahoe Music Festival, and in the world of chamber music, performs with Black Cedar Trio and sonata collaborators Alison Lee and Miles Graber. As an educator, Pastor-Chermak is Adjunct Professor of Music History at San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and teaches a small private cello studio. He sits on the Board of Directors of East Bay Music Foundation and Calliope – East Bay Music and Arts.