Wendy Warner has become one of the world's leading cellists. The New York Times reported "Warner's expressive playing and glowing tone were everywhere a pleasure." The Chicago Tribune wrote, "If there was a truly prodigious performance during the evening, this was it," while Strings has hailed her "youthful, surging playing, natural stage presence and almost frightening technique." As jury member Frans Helmerson told The New York Times when Warner won first-prize at the Fourth International Rostropovich Competition in Paris in 1990, "she's unbelievable."
Audiences have watched Warner perform on prestigious stages including New York's Carnegie Hall, Symphony Hall in Boston, Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles, Paris' Salle Pleyel, and Berlin's Philharmonie. She has collaborated with such leading conductors as Mstislav Rostropovich, Vladimir Spivakov, Christoph Eschenbach, Andre Previn, Jesús López-Cobos, Carlos Miguel Prieto, Ignat Solzhenitsyn, Marin Alsop, Charles Dutoit, Eiji Oue, Neeme Järvi and Michael Tilson Thomas.
Recently Warner made her debut at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall performing unknown works by Beethoven which she recorded for the Beethoven Project trio. Warner's past North American engagements have included performances with the Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Hartford, North Carolina, Jacksonville, Montreal, New Mexico, Omaha, Nashville, and San Francisco Symphonies, and the Minnesota and Philadelphia Orchestras. Around the world she has performed with the London Symphony (Barbican Center), Berlin Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, French Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Iceland Symphony, L'Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse, and L'Orchestre de Paris, with which she performed the Brahms Double Concerto with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, Semyon Bychkov conducting. Warner has played with the European Soloists of Luxembourg at Frankfurt's Alter Oper, and the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine. She has toured Japan as a soloist with NHK Symphony Orchestra and the Japan Philharmonic. In the 2013-14 season, Ms. Warner returns to perform an all-Brahms concert at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston following her two recitals there in 2011-12 performing the complete Beethoven cycle. Concerto appearances include the Champaign-Urbana Symphony, Tuscaloosa Symphony, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional in Lima, Peru and the Peninsula Music Festival in Summer, 2014.
The child of professional musicians and the granddaughter of composer Philip Warner whose symphony premiered with the NBC Symphony, Leopold Stokowski conducting, Warner began studying piano at the age of four and began studying the cello at age six, under the tutelage of Nell Novak. At age 14 she made her debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra broadcast on WTTW-TV. She continued her studies with Rostropovich at the Curtis Institute from which she graduated. Her career took an auspicious turn in 1990 when she made her Washington D.C. debut with the National Symphony playing Shostakovich's First Cello Concerto. In 1991, she made her Carnegie Hall debut performing the Schumann Concerto conducted by Rostropovich. She was re-engaged to appear with the NSO on a North American tour in 1991. Under
Rostropovich's baton, she performed with the Bamberg Symphony for a 1991 European tour, making her debuts in Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Köln, Düsseldorf and Berlin. "He made the Prokofiev Symphonia Concertante and Shostakovich No. 1 fit like a glove. He challenged me to new heights and made me feel that I had no limitations," recalls Warner.
Warner's discography includes the 2010 release of The Beethoven Project – featuring unknown Beethoven piano trios with pianist George Lepauw and violinist Sang Mee Lee; Wendy Warner Plays Popper and Piatigorsky; Double Play: Twentieth Century Duos for Violin and Cello with Rachel Barton Pine, (all on the Cedille label); Hindemith's Music for Cello & Piano for Bridge Records and the critically acclaimed Samuel Barber: Orchestral Works, Volume 2 featuring Barber's Cello Concerto, with Marin Alsop and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, released by Naxos. Her first duo recording with pianist Irina Nuzova was released in 2010. Titled "Russian Music for Cello & Piano," the Cedille Records collection of romantic works features Sergei Rachmaninov's Sonata in G minor, and the first time the rarely-performed Sonata in A minor by Nikolai Miaskovsky has been recorded by an American on American soil. Also included are works by Sergei Prokofiev, Alfred Schnittke, and Alexander Scriabin.
A recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, Warner is on the faculty at Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Arts, the Music Institute of Chicago and the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University in Georgia where she holds the Leah D. Hamer Distinguished Chair in Cello.