Jeffrey Zeigler is one of the most innovative and versatile cellists of our time. He has been described as “fiery”, and a player who performs “with unforced simplicity and beauty of tone” by the New York Times. Acclaimed for his independent streak, Zeigler has commissioned dozens of works, and is admired as a potent collaborator and unique improviser. He is the recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize, the Polar Music Prize, the President’s Merit Award from the National Academy of Recorded Arts (Grammy’s), the Chamber Music America National Service Award and The Asia Society's Cultural Achievement Award.
Following his eight year tenure as the cellist of the internationally renowned Kronos Quartet, his multifaceted career has led to collaborations with a wide array of artists from Philip Glass and Tanya Tagaq to Yo-Yo Ma and Foday Musa Suso, from Laurie Anderson and John Corigliano to Hauschka and the Pulitzer Prize winning scientist Siddhartha Mukherjee. He has also performed as a soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Toronto Symphony, the Royal Danish Radio Symphony and the Ulster Orchestra under the batons of Peter Oundjian, JoAnn Falletta, Dennis Russell Davies and Dmitry Sitkovetsky.
This Spring, Zeigler will release his next album, Zodiac: Poems for Cello. It will be a multimedia experience that combines spoken word, movement, music, and imagery into a unified exploration of love, loss, trauma and healing. The project takes its title from the twelve houses of the zodiac as facets of the self, and draws inspiration from explorations of the subconscious including Anaïs Nin’s House of Incest and the poetry of Pablo Neruda, Brenda Shaughnessy, and Natasha Trethewey. Filmed by Murat Eyüboglu at MASS MoCA and Studio Polygons in Tokyo, Japan, the digital experience will feature the performances and original choreography of New York City Ballet soloist Georgina Pazcoguin and Butoh dancer Dai Matsuoka, a member of the acclaimed Butoh troupe Sankai Juku.
Other upcoming highlights include being featured in a new cello opera entitled The Old Man and the Sea directed by Karmina Silec with music by Paola Prestini and libretto by Royce Vavrek. He will also give the world premier of Mark Adamo's Cello Concerto with a consortium of orchestras that include the American Composers Orchestra, the New Century Chamber Orchestra and the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra.
Being both African American and Japanese, Zeigler explores the complex history and fractured lines of his family’s past from Africa to slavery to now in a new project entitled We Were Fridays directed by Jessica Grindstaff of Phantom Limb Company and featuring the famed butoh dancer, Dai Matsuoka.
Zeigler was the Music Director for two eco-documentaries that exist at the intersection of art, science, and community. Directed by Murat Eyüboglu, part one was entitled The Colorado and premiered at the Metropolitan Museum, the Kennedy Center, and Stanford Live and at over 30 film festivals. An excerpt of Part two, The Amazon, was presented at the Margaret Mead Festival at the American Museum of Natural History.
Zeigler is the Label Director of National Sawdust Tracks, the non-profit, in-house record label of National Sawdust, an artist-led, multidisciplinary new music venue in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. National Sawdust Tracks releases content that reinterprets genre, facilitates provocative collaboration, and encourages new ways of listening. Recent releases include albums by Kamala Sankaram and music by the winners of the Hildegard Competition for Female, Trans, and Non-Binary Composers.
Mr. Zeigler has released dozens of recordings for Nonesuch Records, Deutsche Grammophon, Cantaloupe, Smithsonian Folkways and National Sawdust Tracks and has appeared with Norah Jones on her album Not Too Late on Blue Note Records. Zeigler can be heard on the film soundtrack for Paolo Sorrentino’s Academy Award winning film, La Grande Bellezza, as well as Clint Mansell’s Golden Globe nominated soundtrack to the Darren Aronofsky film, The Fountain. Zeigler can also be seen making an on screen cameo performing the music of Paola Prestini in Season 4 of the Amazon Prime’s Golden Globe Award winning series Mozart in the Jungle.
Zeigler is the Co-Chair of the string department at Mannes School of Music and is a member of the Board of Directors of Chamber Music America and the Violoncello Society of New York and is on the Honorary Committee of the Sphinx Organization.