Adam Satinsky, Principal Cello
Dan & Betsy Ferguson Chair
During his 24-year tenure with the Naples Philharmonic, Adam Satinsky has been lauded in his role both as a leader of the cello section and as a soloist with the orchestra. He has become a sought-after performer in concert series throughout the Naples area. Notably, he performed twice at Big Arts Sanibel, once in collaboration with the Bergonzi String Quartet of the University of Miami and once with his own established group, the Ars Nova Trio, which was formed with two musicians from the Naples Philharmonic. In the more intimate setting of a duo cello/piano collaboration, some of the finest pianists in the eastern United States have entrusted the great repertoire with his expertise and sensitivity— pianists such as Alexandra Carlson, Bella Gutshtein, Thomas Bagwell, Richard Bosworth and William Noll. He had the privilege of performing with the concert pianist Jeremy Denk while they were students in Indiana, and, more recently, his impromptu Schumann encore with Emanuel Ax after a Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 performance garnered him high praise.
In his early years, Adam played in a trio with two violinists, performing and competing in the greater Washington, D.C., area, calling themselves the “Trio Con Brio.” He attended the Interlochen Arts Camp for three summers, giving him his first opportunities to solo with an orchestra. It was then that he began commuting to Baltimore for lessons, chamber music and orchestral studies in the Peabody Institute’s Preparatory division. As the only prep student in Stephen Kates’ studio, he was exposed to the great repertoire young and eventually performed a Haydn Concerto with the school’s orchestra. His subsequent college degrees include a Bachelor of Music from Eastman and an Artist’s Diploma from Indiana University.
Since the age of 14, he has made his inimitable contribution to the summer festival scene in such scenic places as Boulder, Colorado; Teton Village, Wyoming; Bellingham, Washington; Marlboro, Vermont; Aspen, Colorado; Ernen, Switzerland; and Banff, Canada. More recently, he has helped establish new chamber music festivals—one in the Low Country (in and around Beaufort, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia) and one in North Miami Beach (held in the winter).
His cello is a Christopher Dungey, less than one year old (2019), made in Grand Junction, Colorado.
Adam has expanded his range of pursuits in recent years to restaurateur, opening a local chain of popular Thai Fusion restaurants with his wife, who is a chef. His two sons, a 9-year-old and a 13-month-old, are always fun and challenging, as he prizes his role as a father.
I am from Potomac, Maryland. As a high schooler, I commuted to Peabody Prep in Baltimore for cello lessons and chamber music (which is also how I learned to drive a stick shift). After that, I attended Eastman and Indiana University. I then played in the Charleston Symphony for two years before joining the Naples Philharmonic as principal cellist in 1997.
What has been your most memorable moment with the orchestra?
It has been a particular honor and thrill to perform solo concertos with the orchestra. My first opportunity was Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations, and my most recent was the Shostakovich Concerto No. 1.
What inspired you to become a musician?
I think it is in my blood. I apparently inherited the musical gene from my maternal grandfather, who was a professional pianist in Philadelphia. I guess I have felt a kinship with fellow musicians ever since I started surrounding myself with them. Attending Interlochen for three summers and the New York String Orchestra for two Christmases are two of the more defining experiences I had that lit my fire about making the cello my life pursuit.
What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
Ever since I started here 21 years ago, I have seen the organization and the orchestra continually challenge itself to see how far it could go. I have loved witnessing all the milestones it has been able to reach. Its connection to the community, the talent it has attracted both inside and outside the orchestra, the merging of the art forms, the beautification of the campus, and numerous other achievements that inspire me to be part of this place.
What’s challenging about playing your instrument?
There are many things that are challenging about being a cellist. There is the simple physicality of the thing. It takes strength to draw a sound with the bow and to depress the strings fully into the fingerboard with the left hand. Once in a while, I switch hands to give a fresh perspective of what it is that I am doing—kind of like writing with your non-dominant hand. Honestly, the challenge of playing is what keeps me doing it. I don’t think I would like to do something for a living that was devoid of challenge or difficulty. There is incredible reward when you can surmount the challenge of a difficult musical challenge or a long, arduous symphony.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Believe it or not, I am also a restaurateur. My wife and I have three Thai restaurants in the area. She is a brilliant chef, so I do what I can behind the scenes to make everything run smoothly for her. It is certainly a departure from being a cellist, although I’d say I must draw on my natural creativity at times.