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Students, Faculty + Alumni

Generation YSM: Meet cellist Jonah Ellsworth '22MMA


Meet cellist and first-year master of musical arts degree candidate Jonah Ellsworth. Jonah spoke with us recently about working with faculty cellist Paul Watkins, reading Kobe Bryant’s autobiography, and more.

Q: You come from an established cello studio and are now part of one that’s relatively new. What appeals to you about working with a faculty member, Prof. Paul Watkins, who’s just establishing a presence and program at YSM? 

A: What appeals to me about working with Prof. Watkins is that he is an incredible musician. I have only heard him play twice with the Emerson String Quartet and both times I was blown away. 

Q: Are there specific areas you’re eager to explore with Prof. Watkins? 

A: I guess I am interested in working on 20th-century pieces this year, but to be honest, I'd be happy to work on any piece of music with Prof. Watkins.

Q: What is the focus of your career, and how do you imagine your time at YSM will help you build your future? 

A: I still dream of getting a prize at an international competition. I believe that YSM can help me prepare for that through its incredible faculty.

Q: In what ways do you hope and plan to tap into Yale’s resources to inform and deepen your music-making? 

Apart from the amazing faculty here, there are wonderful libraries that I should take advantage of. I want to learn more about the composers whose music we play.

Q: How did you exercise your creativity this summer?

A: I started to cook a bit more, something that I had not done very much of before the pandemic.

Q: What have you been reading, listening to, and watching lately?

A: I have been reading a book written by the late, great Kobe Bryant. It is very inspiring to read about his incredible work ethic and preparation toward the game of basketball. I have been listening to Martha Argerich playing Chopin's preludes. And I watched basketball when play resumed.

This is the fourth installment in a series called Generation YSM: Fall 2020.