Area of study: Cello

Cello at YSM

Cello instruction at the Yale School of Music is based on the belief that even the most imaginative musician is prevented from achieving the highest potential if limited by technical deficiencies. Students concentrate first on removing tension, then learn to involve their entire body in cello playing and experience the physical sensations associated with facility on the instrument. When player and instrument function as an efficient unit, the student can explore the vast subtleties of sound, phrasing, and interpretation available to those who have thoroughly mastered the cello. The Yale cello studio has enjoyed a rich legacy of excellent instruction. Once led by legendary cellist Aldo Parisot, the program is now directed by Professor Adjunct of Cello Paul Watkins, a member of the Emerson String Quartet, and Assistant Professor Adjunct of Cello Ole Akahoshi. 

Cello students participate in chamber music, an integral part of the Yale School of Music experience. They also play in various ensembles in the New Music New Haven concert series and in the School’s orchestra, the Yale Philharmonia, which offers students the experience of performing a wide variety of repertoire under the leadership of acclaimed guest conductors. All cellists also perform in the Yale Cellos, a Grammy-nominated  ensemble that has won accolades from such publications as The New York Times and American Record Guide.

faculty spotlight

Paul Watkins
Professor Adjunct of Cello

Paul Watkins

Acclaimed for his eloquent musicianship, visiting faculty cellist Paul Watkins enjoys a distinguished career as a cellist and conductor.

Degrees + Programs

Master of Music

The two-year master of music (M.M.) degree program is open to students who hold a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in any major.

Master of Musical Arts

The performance-oriented master of musical arts (M.M.A.) program is designed for students who want to further their education beyond an M.M. degree.

Doctor of Musical Arts

The intensive doctor of musical arts (D.M.A) program is comprised of a two-year residency followed by a three-year period in which candidates launch their professional careers.

Artist Diploma

The highly selective artist diploma (A.D.) program is designed for young artists who demonstrate potential for a major concert career.

Certificate in Performance

The three-year certificate in performance program is designed for performers who do not hold a bachelor’s degree but want to study at the highest level.


The bachelor of arts/master of music (B.A./M.M) program is designed for young instrumentalists also interested in pursuing a liberal arts education.

Perform at Yale
At the Yale School of Music, there are numerous opportunities to perform in the School’s historic concert halls and throughout New Haven.