Bonnie Hampton

Bonnie Hampton

About Bonnie Hampton

Cellist Bonnie Hampton leads an active music life as a chamber musician, soloist, and teacher.  A founding member of the Naumburg Award-winning Francesco Trio, she has also performed as part of the Hampton-Schwartz Duo with her late husband, pianist Nathan Schwartz.  Her solo debut with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra was followed by appearances with orchestras nationally performing the entire standard repertoire and many of the 20th century cello concertos.

She has been involved in performances of new music since the beginning of her career.  Her contemporary recordings include CD’s representing American works, often commissioned and premiered by the Trio and Duo.  Ms. Hampton’s chamber music guest appearances have included performances with the Juilliard, Guarneri, Cleveland, Mendelssohn, Alexander, Budapest, and Griller String Quartets, and concert tours have take her to Europe and Asia.  She has performed in many of the major halls in the United States, including Davies Hall and the Opera House in San Francisco, Alice Tully Hall, the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center, Jordan Hall, and many chamber music venues throughout the world.

A student of Pablo Casals, she participated for many years in the Casals and Marlboro festivals.  She has performed at many festivals including Chamber Music West, Seattle, Ravinia, Santa Fe, Kneisel Hall, and the Yellow Barn Chamber Music Festival.  Her early studies were with Margaret Rowell, the Griller String Quartet, and Zara Nelsova.

Her Francesco Trio Residencies have included Grinnell College, Stanford University, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she taught for thirty years.  Ms. Hampton was awarded an “Excellence in Teaching Award” from SFCM as well as the “Eva Janzer Award” from Indiana University.  Ms. Hampton has also taught at Mills College, and the University of California, Berkeley.  She is a past president of Chamber Music America.  In September 2003 she joined the faculty at the Juilliard School.

“…artistic responsibility of a rare inspiring kind.” San Francisco Chronicle

“…a highly expressive cellist.”   New York Times

Marlboro: Then and Now (in the Experience of One Participant) — by Bonnie Hampton

It has been a pleasure to have the opportunity to return to Marlboro as a participant after a period of forty five years. It is that much more meaningful since it is the Sixtieth Anniversary and the evidence of the content of those years is very present. My participation as a young cellist in the sixties was filled with inspiration and challenges. In 1962, I came first for the Casals Master Classes and then returned from 1963 until 1966 as a full participant. Those years gave us Casals’ Magic with music. That heightened exaltation in his musical involvement which carried over into everything we did. Serkin’s giving of 200% in everything he did and willing us to stretch our own boundaries. Felix Galimir’s insisting on our getting inside the understanding [...]

Searching For One’s Cello Voice — by Bonnie Hampton

It is a remarkable thing that just as our vibratos show our  individual expression, so ultimately does our “cello voice” as we develop our sound with the bow on the cello. What are the elements which make up this search? It is a given that we can’t make a beautiful sound unless our bow arms are free and we are finding our energies all the way from the back, with none to the various joints or muscles adding physical tension or tightness.  We need to have in our imagination, the qualities of sound we respond to. Perhaps we have heard a wonderful cellist who has inspired us, or perhaps there is a tone quality in our inner ear which we strive for. We are so fortunate,  the cello is capable [...]

“Which Hand Do You Hear?” — by Bonnie Hampton

When Paul Katz invited me to participate in the “CelloBello” Blog, I was intrigued and immediately saw his idea of a free exchange of cellists sharing their experiences, exploring ideas together and just being in contact as a larger community.  As cellists,we have a rich heritage and spirit and we certainly love that instrument a great deal.
  Otherwise, why would we carry it all over the world! There is so much to explore, but one thing which I find an endless investigation is the whole use of the bow.  Of course, all the issues of the left hand are immediate.  We play the notes.  Expressively, our uses of vibratos are part of our individual “voice,” but while one might call the work of the left hand, our craft, how we [...]