Carol Cole’s appearances in the United States, Canada, South America, North Africa, China, and throughout Europe have brought unanimous critical praise for her musical artistry, flawless technique and beautiful tone.
“She knows how to capture the hearts of her listeners,” writes the Messaggero of Venice, Italy; “Passionate violin playing, carefully sculpted and crafted,” notes The Pocono Record in Pennsylvania. From Saratoga, New York, the Post Star described her playing as “brilliant, focused and impassioned – exceptional.” The Philadelphia Inquirer reviewed Ms. Cole’s performance at the Mozart-on-the-Square Chamber Music Series as “providing firm, accurate and spirited leadership – her sense of timing and sound (are) musical indeed.”
Equally at home as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestra leader, Cole has appeared at major music centers in more than 22 countries and 25 U.S. states. The venues include Carnegie Hall, Philadelphia’s Academy of Music, Field Hall at the Curtis Institute, the San Francisco Opera House, the Gusman theater, Broward and Kravis Centers for the Performing Arts in South Florida, the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver, Teatro de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, Teatro Royale in Madrid, Santa Cecilia in Rome, the R.A.I. auditoriums in Rome and Turin, and La Scala in Milan. She has performed in the world’s most prestigious music festivals, including the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds in Italy; Konzertring in Rottweil, Germany; Jeunesses Musicales in Belgrade, Serbia & Montenegro; Grand Teton in Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Festival Miami, Philadelphia’s Mozart on the Square and the String Seminar at Carnegie Hall.
Carol Cole has collaborated with the most distinguished artists of our time, including Rudolf and Peter Serkin, Leon Fleisher, Bruno Gelber, Martha Argerich, Andre Watts, Emanuel Ax, Isaac Stern, Yehudi Menuhin, Henryk Szeryng, Pinchas Zukerman, Elmar Olliveira, Barnabas Keleman, Vadim Repin, Ida Haendel, Viktoria Mullova, Joshua Bell, Janos Starker, Mstislav Rostropovich, Myron Bloom, Pierre Rampal, Maurice Andre, Ricardo Morales, Keisuke Wakao, Luciano Pavarotti, Maria Callas and Cecilia Bartoli. She has played under the most celebrated conductors including Leonard Bernstein, Eugene Ormandy, Claudio Abbado, Pablo Casals, Sergiu Commissiona, Krzysztof Penderecki, Carlo Maria Giulini, Riccardo Muti, Daniel Barenboim, Sir Neville Marriner and Pierre Boulez. Cole has served as concertmaster of Opera Barga in Italy, as associate concertmaster of the Florida Philharmonic and Florida Grand Opera, and as concertmaster and solo violin of “I Solisti Aquilani,” with which she recorded and toured the world. She was also a member of the Vancouver Symphony, the Radio Orchestra of Torino, La Scala Orchestra of Milan, the Philadelphia opera , ballet and Philly Pops orchestras, and the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Cole has recorded for Sony, Miramax, Bongiovanni, Harmonia Mundi, on Eurartists as a member of the Sagee Trio, and has performed on live broadcasts from Philadelphia, San Francisco, Miami and Radio Italiano of Turino and Rome. As winner of the San Francisco Symphony Young Artists competition, Carol made her debut with the San Francisco Symphony at age 13. She won top prizes in the Stresa International Violin Competition, the San Francisco Music Club, and the “Performers of Connecticut Chamber Music Competition” at Yale as a member of the Wielopolska Piano Quartet. She is a laureate of the Romano Romanini, Rodolfo Lipizer and Klumpky International violin competitions, and the Kennedy Center Competition for Contemporary Music.
Carol Cole has always been involved in the performance of new music, having played and toured with the Contemporary Music Ensemble of Philadelphia , as well as having given debuts of music written for her by Edward Arteaga and Douglas Brainard. The Repubblica of Rome wrote of her Rome debut of Scelsis’ Anahit, “a penetrating, heartfelt performance by violin soloist Carol Cole – an unforgettable performance.” At age 15 she was hailed as “one of California’s most gifted musicians” by the San Francisco Chronicle after a flawless performance of Bernstein’s Serenade for violin and string orchestra.
Pursuing her multi-faceted musical interests, Cole has backed artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Nestor Torres, Gloria Estefan, Dizzy Gillespie, Vic Damone and with artists including Michael Jackson, Ricky Martin, Julio Iglesias, Barry Gibb and Barbra Streisand.
In her native San Francisco, Cole studied with William Pynchon, a classmate of Isaac Stern, of the Nauom Blinder-Adolf Brodsky Russian School of Violin Playing. Her education continued in Philadelphia after receiving a full scholarship to the famed Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied violin with Arnold Steinhardt and chamber music with Felix Galimir, Jamie Laredo, Jascha Brodsky of the Curtis Quartet, Alexander and Mischa Schneider of the Budapest Quartet, and Michael Tree of the Guarneri Quartet. She also played in master classes for Joseph Gingold and Dorothy Delay.
In addition to sustaining an active solo career, Carol, along with her husband of 45 years, cellist David Cole, continues to present duo and chamber music concerts, collaborating with celebrated musicians of our time. Recent appearances include a recital in Boston, chamber music performances with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra and The Saratoga Chamber Players, duo concerts in Beijing, tours of Cuba and Jamaica with the Cole-Robertson Piano Trio, and as soloist in the Beethoven Triple, Brahms Double and Mozart concertos with the Lynn Philharmonia. She is heard frequently on the Lynn University concert series and throughout South Florida.
For over 25 years Carol has devoted herself to violin teaching in South Florida. Her students have been awarded dozens of prizes at state, national and international violin competitions and many have full time teaching positions. They have won positions in the major symphony orchestras of Chicago, Pittsburg, Colorado, The National of D.C., and The Sun Symphony of Hanoi, Vietnam, as well as orchestras of Brazil and Puerto Rico. Furthermore, her students have performed full seasons with the Cincinnati and Grant Park orchestras through diversity programs, and play with the many professional orchestras of South Florida. For twelve summers, Cole was a performing artist, violin professor and chamber music coach with the String Academy and Music Festival of Indiana University in Bloomington. Carol Cole is currently professor of violin and chamber music in the Conservatory of Music. She is the recipient of the 2014 Gitner Excellence in Teaching Award and was named 2012 Studio Teacher of the Year by the Florida Chapter of the American String Teachers Association.
Carol plays a Camillus Camilli violin, made in Mantua in 1738, and a Dominique Peccatte bow, made in Paris in 1865.
Attended Curtis Institute of Music
I believe in teaching the student, not the violin, and developing each student's innate musical gift through nurturing guidance. In verbal instruction, I find it beneficial to use the word "we" instead of "you" thus joining our interconnected knowledge. I believe that we are what we repeatedly do, that excellence is a habit, and that lofty goals are constantly present in all that we do. I want my students to become independent thinkers through the understanding of traditional and modern pedagogy and through the practice of analytical awareness. I strive not only to help my students achieve high musical standards, but perhaps more importantly to help them continue to love music throughout their lives so they can teach future generations with joy, generosity, humility, triumph, democracy, spirituality and compassion.