Dorothy Lawson, cello
Dorothy Lawson is a Canadian cellist and composer based in New York City. She is best known as a co-founder and artistic director of the string quartet, ETHEL. On the founding of ETHEL she says, "we realized that we were in the middle of a really powerful new upsurge of creative energy in music of our time, for which we were kind of the perfect vehicle.”
Established in New York City in 1998, ETHEL quickly earned a reputation as one of America’s most adventurous string quartets. More than 20 years later, the band continues to set the standard for contemporary concert music. Known for its enlivened playing, blending uptown, conservatory musicianship with downtown genre-crossing, ETHEL has been described as “indefatigable and eclectic” (The New York Times), “vital and brilliant” (The New Yorker), and “infectiously visceral” (Pitchfork). Since its inception, ETHEL has released nine feature recordings (one of them nominated for a Native American Music Award), performed as guests on 40+ albums, premiered 225 new works, won a GRAMMY® with jazz legend Kurt Elling, and performed in 14 countries, 45 states, and 250 cities.
Prior to ETHEL, Lawson toured for several years with Mikhail Baryshnikov's White Oak Dance Project, the Bang on a Can All-Stars and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. In New York, she was a longtime member of the American Symphony Orchestra, and performed occasionally with both the New York Philharmonic and the Toronto Symphony. She was a founding member of the Rossetti and Roerich String Quartets, and served 10 years as faculty of Joseph Fuchs' Alfred University Summer Chamber Music Institute. Lawson was an orchestra member of the 2002 Off-Broadway production of Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years and the 2005 Broadway production of The Woman in White. She has been a member of the Ron Carter Nonet for 25 years.
Lawson is an MM and DMA graduate of the Juilliard School and holds the Diploma of the Vienna Academy. Her mentors include André Navarra, Leonard Rose, Harvey Shapiro, Vladimir Orloff, Janos Starker, Antonio Janigro, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi and Zara Nelsova. She has taught on the faculty of the Preparatory Division of Mannes College at the New School, in New York City, for 16 years. She is quoted numerous times in the book How to Grow as a Musician: What All Musicians Must Know to Succeed by Sheila E. Anderson, on the topic of how to balance work and family as a working musician.