Robert Jesselson

Robert Jesselson is a Carolina Distinguished Professor at the University of South Carolina, where he teaches cello and plays in the American Arts Trio. In 2010 he was also named Mungo Distinguished Professor of the Year, the highest teaching award given by USC. He was the national President of ASTA, the American String Teachers Association, from 2000-2002. During his tenure as president he initiated the National Studio Teachers Forums (2000 and 2002), started the National String Project Consortium (with sites now at 40 universities and grants of $3.1 million), and began the planning for the first stand-alone ASTA national convention in 2003. Dr. Jesselson has performed in recital and with orchestras in Europe, Asia, South America, and the United States, and has participated in the Music Festivals at Nice, Granada, Santiago, Aspen, Spoleto and the Grand Tetons. His performance degrees are from the Staatliche Hochschule fuer Musik in Freiburg, West Germany, from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Paul Katz, and from Rutgers where he studied with cellist Bernard Greenhouse. He has been principal cello of the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Orquesta-Sinfonica de Las Palmas, Spain. In 1983 Dr. Jesselson was in China for a six-month residency, one of the first Western cellists to visit that country. During that time he performed as soloist, gave master classes, and taught at various conservatories. For 15 years he was the director of the USC String Project, building the program into one of the largest and most prominent string education programs in the country.  His pioneering work on this program was recognized in an article in the New York Times in December, 2003. ASTA awarded him the “Marvin Rabin Community Service” Award in 2009 for his work with the NSPC and teacher training. He is the recipient of the, the 2010 Mungo Distinguished Professor Award, the 2002 Cantey Award for Outstanding Faculty, the 1992 Verner Award, the 1989 S.C. Arts Commission Artist Fellowship, the 1995 Mungo Teaching Award, and the first SC ASTA Studio Teacher Award in 2005.  Dr. Jesselson was the cello teacher at the S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts for 17 years. In December, 2001 he led a delegation of string players and teachers to Cuba to begin professional contact with Cuban musicians.  He has also taught at Sookmyung University in Korea, Sun Yat Sen University in Taiwan, University of Auckland in New Zealand, and at the Royal College of Music in London, and has taught at various music festivals, including the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival in Vermont, the Festival Inverno in Brazil,  ARIA Festival, Madeleine Island Music Festival, UNC School of the Arts summer program, and the Cellospeak festival in Pennsylvania.  Jesselson plays a 1716 Jacques Boquay cello.