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Praised by Cleveland Classical for her “brilliant technical prowess,” Sophie Benn enjoys a multifaceted career as a cellist, musicologist, baroque cellist, and dancer.
She has performed solo work on three continents, including in New York, Montreal, Rio de Janiero, Lucerne (Switzerland) Bretten (Germany), Courmayeur (Italy), the Rothko Chapel (Houston), the Cleveland Museum of Art, and Severance Hall (Cleveland).
Sophie has a particular interest in new music. She plays regularly with numerous contemporary music groups, including Ars Futura and FiveOne Experimental Orchestra, and has premiered work in both the United States and Canada. In 2018, she served as one of the principal cellists of the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra in Switzerland and on tour. She has worked with Joel Sachs, Miranda Cuckson, and Marc Ponthus, as well as members of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Alarm Will Sound, Yarn/Wire, and the Kronos Quartet. In addition, she is a founding Artistic Director of the Cleveland Uncommon Sound Project (CUSP), a presenting organization for experimental contemporary musicians and sound artists. CUSP also spearheads Re:Sound, a major new festival dedicated to avant-garde musical expression.
Sophie is the principal cellist of the chamber orchestra CityMusic Cleveland, and has made concerto appearances with the ensemble. She is also a founding member of the acclaimed Cleveland Cello Quartet, which performs a fresh blend of jazz, classical, and contemporary music in unconventional settings around Northeast Ohio.
As a baroque cellist, Sophie has been a featured soloist and holds a rotating principal chair with the CWRU Baroque Orchestra. She has worked with Malcom Bilson, Paul O’Dette, Jaap ter Linden, and others. She is also in demand as a baroque dancer, having performed in productions of Dido and Aeneas and Acis and Galatea.
Sophie is currently a PhD candidate in musicology at Case Western Reserve University. Her academic work focuses on relationships between music and the body in a wide range of topics, including ballet, contemporary dance, new music, notation, and performance practice. In summer 2017, she was a CWRU Research Fellow at the Library of Congress. She also holds graduate degrees in cello performance and pedagogy from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and graduated cum laude with an undergraduate degree in both performance and music history from Rice University.
Ms. Benn plays on a cello made by Parisian luthier François Leclerc in 1776. Her baroque instrument, an anonymous French cello, is on generous loan to her from a private donor.