“Bathgate is a glorious cellist”
– Anne Midgette The Washington Post
“a bright light on the new-music scene”
– Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim The New York Times
American cellist Ashley Bathgate has been described as an “eloquent new music interpreter” (New York Times) and “a glorious cellist” (The Washington Post) who combines “bittersweet lyricism along with ferocious chops” (New York Magazine). Her “impish ferocity”, “rich tone” and “imaginative phrasing” (New York Times) have made her one of the most sought after performers of her time. The desire to create a dynamic energy exchange with her audience and build upon the ensuing chemistry is a pillar of Bathgate's philosophy as a performer. Dynamism drives her to venture into previously uncharted areas of ground-breaking sounds and techniques, breaking the mold of a cello's traditionally perceived voice. Collaborators and fans alike describe her vitality as nothing short of remarkable and magical for all who are involved.
Bathgate was a member of the acclaimed sextet Bang on a Can All-Stars for ten years. She is also a member of the chamber music group HOWL, TwoSense with pianist Lisa Moore, and Bonjour, a low-strung, percussive quintet. In 2015 Bathgate gave the world premiere of What Moves You, a collaborative performance project with jookin’ dance sensation Lil Buck at the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, SC, as well as the world premiere of a new Cello Concerto written for her by Kate Moore for the Gaudeamus Festival in Utrecht, NL. Her debut solo album, Stories for Ocean Shells, featuring a set of works for cello composed by Moore, was released in 2016 on Cantaloupe Music. That year Bathgate also commissioned the ‘composer collective’ Sleeping Giant to write ASH, a six-movement suite for solo cello, which was released on New Amsterdam Records in the fall of 2019. Her forthcoming album, 8 Track, featuring new multitrack works by Alex Weiser and Emily Cooley, as well as a new rendition of Steve Reich’s Cello Counterpoint, is due this season on New Focus Recordings. Her latest project is a new evening length work by Michael Gordon, House Music, which premiered at the 2018 Cello Biennale in Amsterdam, NL.
Bathgate’s radio/television appearances include performances on BBC Radio 3, WKCR, WMHT, WQXR’s Meet the Composer podcast with Nadia Sirota, NPR’s Performance Today, WYNC’s New Sounds Live, SiriusXM, Late Night and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Her recorded work can be found on Albany Records, Cantaloupe Music, Innova Recordings, La-La Land Records, Naxos, New Amsterdam Records, Nonesuch, Starkland and Uffda Records. She has also recorded for several podcasts presented by Wondery, Gimlet and Stitcher.
Bathgate studied at Bard College with Luis Garcia-Renart (B.M.) before continuing her education at Yale University with renowned cellist Aldo Parisot (M.M. & A.D). Originally from Saratoga Springs, NY, Bathgate began her cello studies with the late Rudolf Doblin, principal cellist and assistant music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic in the 1950’s. After his passing, she resumed her tutelage with Ann Alton at Skidmore College. A member of the Empire State Youth Orchestra at the time, Bathgate was also the unprecedented two-time winner of the Lois Lyman Concerto Competition, performing the Saint-Saens and Schumann Cello Concertos with the orchestra at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. While at Bard College, she was invited to perform both the d’Albert and Barber Cello Concertos with the American Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Leon Botstein and then went on to win Yale University’s Concerto Competition in 2008, performing with the Yale Philharmonia in New Haven’s legendary Woolsey Hall.