Cellist Paul Wiancko will take up the role in 2024

paul wiancko

Paul Wiancko © Peter Frank Edwards

Read more news stories here

Spoleto Festival USA has named cellist and composer Paul Wiancko as its Charles E. and Andrea L. Volpe director of chamber music. Wiancko succeeds violinist Geoff Nuttall, the founding violinist of the St. Lawrence String Quartet who died of cancer in 2022, aged 56.

Wiancko’s appointment marks the first time that a standing director is both a performer and composer.

’I am deeply honoured and incredibly fired up to be the next director of chamber music at Spoleto Festival USA,’ said Wiancko on social media. ’I will be bringing the entirety of my heart and experience to this role - my endless love for music and the sharing of it, the urgency that comes with what I know music is capable of doing for our world, and no doubt a healthy dose of the joyous unpredictability that has come to define my own artistic existence.’

Wiancko has been cellist of the Kronos Quartet officially since 2023 and was previously in the Harlem Quartet from 2009 to 2011. He has been involved in the Spoleto Festival USA chamber music programmes in recent years and has also served as composer in residence. Wiancko is a founding member of the viola and cello duo Ayane & Paul, as well as the quartet-collective Owls.

He has shared the stage with artists such as Richard Goode, Mitsuko Uchida, Yo-Yo Ma, Terry Riley, Caroline Shaw, and members of the Emerson, Guarneri, St. Lawrence, and JACK quartets.

His compositions have featured on the Aizuri Quartet’s Grammy-nominated album Blueprinting and he is the recipient of the S&R Foundation’s Washington Award for composition, and was named one of The Washington Post’s ’22 for ‘22: Composers and Performers to Watch’. In addition to Spoleto Festival USA, he has served as composer in residence for Music from Angel Fire, Portland Chamber Music Festival, Caramoor, and the Banff Centre, and has composed works for the St. Lawrence, Kronos, Aizuri, Parker, Calder, and Attacca Quartets, yMusic, Alisa Weilerstein, Alexi Kenney, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, plus many others.

Spoleto Festival USA was founded in 1977 by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Gian Carlo Menotti, who sought to create an American counterpart to the annual Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, that he founded in 1958. The next edition of Spoleto Festival USA takes place in Charleston, SC from 24 May to 9 June 2024.

Best of Technique

In The Best of Technique you’ll discover the top playing tips of the world’s leading string players and teachers. It’s packed full of exercises for students, plus examples from the standard repertoire to show you how to integrate the technique into your playing.


The Strad’s Masterclass series brings together the finest string players with some of the greatest string works ever written. Always one of our most popular sections, Masterclass has been an invaluable aid to aspiring soloists, chamber musicians and string teachers since the 1990s.


American collector David L. Fulton amassed one of the 20th century’s finest collections of stringed instruments. This year’s calendar pays tribute to some of these priceless treasures, including Yehudi Menuhin’s celebrated ‘Lord Wilton’ Guarneri, the Carlo Bergonzi once played by Fritz Kreisler, and four instruments by Antonio Stradivari.