Anita Graef


Profile Picture


  • Remote Lessons
  • Chicago, IL
  • Evanston, IL

© Mapbox, © OpenStreetMap


  • College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, Master’s of Cello Performance, 2017-2019
  • The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance, Bachelor's of Cello Performance, 2013-2017
  • Active touring solo & chamber music career
  • Cincinnati Symphony, Fellow (2017-2019), substitute musician (2019-present)
  • Vice-President and Cellist with the Juliani Ensemble

Video Links



Background & Experience

Described as "a world class musician" (Galena Gazette) who plays with “high energy and polish” (WQXR), cellist Anita Graef has earned recognition for her music making as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral performer. Recent appearances include Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert series, and “Concerts from the Library of Congress.” She has also performed in recital as a guest of various radio programs, including “Young Artists Showcase” on WQXR, NPR, WFMT, WGTE, and others. She performs frequently with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, originally as a CCM-CSO Fellow, as well as the Louisville Orchestra, Dayton Philharmonic and others. Upcoming appearances include a recital at Columbia University’s St. Paul’s Chapel, debuts in San Francisco, Toronto, San Diego, and performances throughout North America and Europe.

She has performed at various festivals, including fellowships with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, as principal cellist of Brevard Music Festival, the Catskills Chamber Music Festival, as assistant principal cellist of Miami Music Festival, as well as Credo Chamber Music Festival at Oberlin Conservatory. She is a member of the Juliani Ensemble, where she has collaborated with members of both the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera Orchestra, among others. The Juliani Ensemble, as well as the Juliani String Quartet-an extension of the ensemble-performs extensively throughout the city of Chicago, including appearances at Preston Bradley Hall and on 98.7 WFMT. She has been a prizewinner at numerous competitions, including First Prize at the Golden Classical Music Awards, finalist status at the Tannenwald and ECSO Competitions, Third Prize at The North International Music Competition, and Silver Prize at the Muse International Competition.

She has had occasion to work with and perform for musicians such as Stephen Geber, Johannes Moser, Felix Wang, Roberto Diaz, Joel Smirnoff, Eric Kim, Charles Pickler, Yehuda Hanani, Martin Katz, Paul Watkins of the Emerson Quartet, Anne Martindale Williams, the Shanghai String Quartet, the Calidore Quartet, and the Chiara Quartet. Former teachers include Anthony Elliott, Marc Johnson, Hans Jorgen Jensen, and several members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, including Jonathan Pegis, Richard Hirschl, and Brant Taylor. She has performed in orchestras under the baton of maestros such as Leonard Slatkin, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, James Gaffigan, Peter Oundjian, David Efron, JoAnn Falletta, Rossen Milanov, Louis Langree, James Conlon and Keith Lockhart.

Born into a family of professional musicians, Anita grew up surrounded by music. She began piano studies at age two, while beginning to study cello at age four, going on to make her concerto debut at the age of twelve. She went on to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, where she studied with professor Anthony Elliott. Following this, she completed studies for a Master’s Degree at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, under the tutelage of Ilya Finkelshteyn.

When not making music, Anita enjoys reading, cooking, crocheting, weight lifting, hiking, spending time with friends and family, and exploring new cities.

Anita performs on a modern Italian cello by Ferdinando Garimberti, dated 1923.