Zuill Bailey

Zuill BaileyCellist with a bold, powerful tone and a wide-ranging career.

Born: Born: 1972 in Alexandria, Virginia

Career highlights

  • 1991: He wins the National Federation of Music Clubs Young Artist Competition. He begins life as a touring musician.
  • 1994: He moves to New York to begin his Julliard M.M, studying with famed pedagogue Joel Krosnick. Major debuts follow.
  • 1996: He is featured in episodes of the HBO prison drama Oz.
  • 1997: He buys the cello of famous Budapest Quartet player, Mischa Schneider, a rare Goffriller instrument from 1693.
  • 2001: He is named Artistic Director of the El Paso Pro Musica Festival and Series, in Texas.
  • 2004: He is hired as Professor of Cello at University of Texas, El Paso.
  • 2007: He makes his New York City recital debut at the Metropolitan Museum of Art performing the complete Beethoven Cello Sonatas.
  • 2010: He records the Bach Cello Suites for Telarc, which tops the classical charts on its release.
  • 2011: He is named Artistic Director of the Sitka Music Festival in Alaska.

Fun Facts


  • Zuill Bailey-NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert
    Competitor: Bailey is an avid table tennis player.
  • The name thing: Zuill (pronounced “Zool”) is Scotch-Irish and is his father's name.
  • Outreach: Bailey is heavily involved in introducing classical music to new audiences and youth.
  • Multimedia man: Zuill was involved as a consultant on an episode of the NBC TV series Homicide, and also played on the soundtrack. He has been featured on several live broadcasts. He has also been a guest on the KDFC Concert Series, on NPR, Minnesota Public Radio, BBC, XM Radio, and Sirius Satellite Radio, not to mention RTHK Hong Kong.

SFCV Articles Featuring Zuill Bailey

May 3, 2011

Softly It Goes at the Marin Symphony

Listeners who have become accustomed to recordings in which the soloist is unnaturally amplified (and given an imposing presence above the orchestra) may expect that the soloist in a live performance will be heard throughout the piece. Yet Bailey’s humbling interpretation got to what the concerto is really all about: the individual vs. the many. A concerto is a narrative in the first person: The soloist converses, battles, or dances with those around him or her. Sometimes we listeners simply get lost in the crowd, drowned by the masses. Bailey accepted that with a smile. (What’s the point of beating a cello senseless in an attempt to outdo a slew of woodwinds, horns, and trombones?)

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March 22, 2011

Zuill Bailey: Cellist Extraordinaire ... and Murderer?

When Zuill Bailey “met” his first cello at age 4, it was love at first sight. At 12, he decided music would be his professional life, and that passion and talent has led him to a career as an acclaimed cellist in demand as a soloist, as well as positions as artistic director of El Paso Pro Musica (Texas), artistic director designate of the Sitka Music Festival (Alaska), and professor of cello at the University of Texas at El Paso.

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March 22, 2011

Bountiful Bouquet of Brahms for Cello

Zuill Bailey (read an interview) has been an increasingly prominent presence in the cello world over the last decade, and with his current relationship with the Telarc label that’s likely to continue. His pianist, the 1992 Naumburg Award winner Awadagin Pratt, by contrast, seems to have dropped off the radar, at least so far as the studio is concerned, at just about the time Bailey appeared.

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