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Sophie Benn

Cleveland, OH   

Praised by Cleveland Classical for her “brilliant technical prowess,” Sophie Benn enjoys a multifaceted career as a cellist, musicologist, and baroque cellist. 

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. 

Sophie is the 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. In addition, Sophie has been the principal cellist of the chamber orchestra CityMusic Cleveland since 2015, and has made concerto appearances with the ensemble.  

As a baroque cellist, Sophie has been a featured soloist and holds a rotating principal chair with the Case Western Reserve University Baroque Orchestra. She has worked with Malcom Bilson, Paul O’Dette, Jaap ter Linden, and others. A classical ballet dancer in childhood, she recently discovered an interest in baroque dance, and has performed in productions of Hippolyte et Aricie, Dido and Aeneas and Acis and Galatea.

Sophie is currently a PhD candidate (ABD) in musicology at Case Western Reserve University. In her academic work, she examines philosophies of notation and the performing body in the long twentieth century. She has presented at numerous international conferences, was 2019 Graduate Affiliate at the Baker-Nord Center of the Humanities, and a  CWRU Research Fellow at the Library of Congress in 2017. Sophie 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.