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David Bjella

Professor of Music, Cello

"...the heart and finesse to bring out the feeling in each burst of melody-to make the extroverted ones surge and swell, and to make the quiet ones seem to just float from the cello."
-Orlando Sentinel

A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, cellist David Bjella has a multi-faceted career as a teacher, chamber musician, orchestral player and soloist. He is professor of cello and as well as co-principal of the IRIS Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Michael Stern and was a member of the Inman Piano Trio for 13 years. He is one of the featured IRIS chamber musicians for the Naxos-released CD, "Music of Stephen Hartke," which was chosen by the New York Times as a Top Ten Classical Recording of 2003. Bjella has also served as visiting associate professor of cello at Florida State University, professor of cello at the University of Central Florida and taught in the Valade Master Teacher program at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan.

During summers, he has been a part of the faculty at the Orfeo Festival in Vipiteno, Italy; the Rocky Mountain Summer Conservatory in Steamboat Springs, Colorado; the Bellingham Festival in Washington State; the Quartz Mountain Festival in Oklahoma; the Interlochen Music Center in Michigan; the Black Hills Chamber Soloists and the Bay Area Music Festival in St. Petersburg, Florida. In May of 2012, Bjella was asked to join Cuerdas de Enlace, a performing and teaching festival in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. As soloist, Bjella has appeared with many regional and college orchestras in the Southeast and Midwest. In addition to his orchestral work with the IRIS Chamber Orchestra, he has also been principal cellist of the Florida Symphony, Orlando Philharmonic, Southwest Florida Symphony and the Annapolis Symphony. He has also been a member of the cello section in Cincinnati, Tampa (associate principal) as well as a substitute for the Baltimore Symphony.


  • M.M., Peabody Conservatory
  • B.M., Drake University

Course Topics

  • Studio Cello
  • Orchestral Excerpts
  • Chamber Music
  • String Methods

Research Interests

  • Most recently the Elgar Cello Concerto at the Royal College of Music and at Edward Elgar's birthplace. This full summer grant of research also included coachings with the cellist, Raphael Wallfisch.


  • Music of Stephen Hartke, Naxos, 2003


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