Ariel Barnes wearing a blue and white striped shirt, playing the cello

Ariel Barnes

Truly an inspiring artist, it’s always an event when he performs… is the outstanding Canadian Cellist of his generation.

Grammy and Juno Award Winning Maestro Bramwell Tovey

Described as creating a “mesmerizing musical experience” by combining his “deep personal connection” (Toronto Live Music Report), “luscious tone and technical prowess”(The Vancouver Sun), Ariel Barnes has been hailed as “truly an inspiring artist…the outstanding Canadian Cellist of his generation” (Maestro Bramwell Tovey). Equally comfortable with Baroque to Modern musical languages, his international concert engagements in Europe, North America and Asia include concerto appearances, chamber music collaborations and solo recitals, featuring performances in such venues as Taiwan’s National Concert Hall, Canada’s Orpheum Theatre, Germany’s Meistersingerhalle, Smetana Hall in Prague and the Tisch Auditorium in New York City. As a celebrated performer and recording artist, he is broadcast on platforms including CBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3, Hessischer Radio and Bavarian Radio & Television, has toured as a featured Jeunesses Musicales Canada Solo Artist and was featured in CBC Radio’s Canadian Bach Cello Suite project to launch their highly successful on-line music portal. His critically acclaimed recordings have been released on the Paladino (AUS), Orlando (AUS), Analekta (CAD), Centrediscs (CAD), Redshift (CAD) and PARMA/Ravello (USA) record labels, and his solo appearances include collaborations with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia Varsovia, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, INSO Lviv Symphony Orchestra, Victoria Symphony, Kingston Symphony, Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Island Symphony, Nuernberger Symphoniker, Canadian Chamber Choir, Festival de Febrero Chamber Orchestra, Cantus Ensemble and Turning Point Ensemble with conductors Bramwell Tovey, Yoav Talmi, Anne Manson, Earl Stafford, Steven Mercurio, Evan Mitchell, Pierre Simard, Tania Miller, Rosemary Thompson, Lutz Köhler, Owen Underhill, Julia Davids, and Alexander Zemtsov. With a passion for creating 21st Century Art Music he is consistently involved in working with composers and ensembles to develop new literature for the cello as a solo and chamber music instrument, currently having 6 Concerti and 11 Solo and Chamber works written especially for him. Ariel was awarded 1st Prize at the 24th International Johannes Brahms Competition, is a recipient of two Western Canadian Music Awards, a Juno nomination, the Felix Galimir Chamber Music Award @ the University of Toronto and has received generous project support from the British Columbia Arts Council, Manitoba Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts, most notably as a winner of the 2012 Canada Council Musical Instrument Bank Competition. He is former Principal Cellist with the Vancouver Opera Company, CBC Radio Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and is currently Principal Cellist of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra.

At the core of his nourishment as an artist are his chamber music projects and collaborations. Dedicated to this genre for nearly 20 years now, his partners have included the Zodiac Trio, Dover String Quartet, St. Lawrence String Quartet, Musica Intima, members of the Attacca String Quartet, Manhattan Chamber Players, Australian String Quartet, Ensemble Made in Canada and the Formosa String Quartet, and many individual artists including Jane Coop, Arthur Rowe, Sarah Davis Beuchner, Francine Kay, Pawel Kolesnikov, Mahan Esfahani, Lars Vogt, Lara St. John, Soyoung Yoon, Bogdan Božović, Mark Fewer, Martin Chalifour, Benjamin Bowman, Jonathan Crowe, Andrew Wan, Steven Dann, Juan-Miguel Hernandez, Teng Li, Carrie Dennis, David Harding, Rosalind Ventris, Julian Arp, Lorna McGee, Susan Hoeppner, Sergio Pallottelli, Daniel Bolshoy and new music luminaries such as Steven Schick and Caroline Shaw. He has enjoyed repeat appearances at the Saronic Chamber Music Festival (Greece) Ottawa Chamberfest (Canada), Banff Centre for the Arts (Canada), Victoria Summer Music Festival (Canada), The Zodiac Music Festival and Academy (France), and is proud to be a founding member and regular guest of the Northern Lights Festival de Febrero (Mexico). Harpist Heidi Krutzen and Ariel Barnes form COULOIR, a cello/harp duo dedicated to developing a body of 21st Century Art Music for this colourful and evocative combination of instruments. COULOIR was awarded the honour of “2016 Artist of the Year” at the Western Canadian Music Awards for the release of their second recording, MAXWELL, MUHLY & COULOIR (

As a dedicated teacher, Mr. Barnes has fostered the talents of many cellists, aiding them in garnering prizes and recognition at the Busan Maru (Korea), Johansen (USA), Stulberg (USA) and Sheen (CAN) competitions and helping them continue their studies at some of the World’s finest music schools including the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Colburn School of Music in Los Angeles, the Hans Eisler Hochschule für Musik in Berlin, the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto, the Schulich School of Music at McGill University in Montreal and the Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Mr. Barnes is the former co-head of the cello department at the Vancouver Academy of Music and as a visiting artist has taught masterclasses at the University of Toronto, University of Manitoba, Brandon University and Penn State University. Mr. Barnes currently teaches a private class of students in Nuremberg, Germany.

Nourished by his experience in all major genres of performance and pedagogy, Ariel Barnes’ natural musicianship is recognised in his collaboration with musicians throughout the world.


This page was last updated in July 2023.