Joan Zucker was first heard by New Mexicans in the mid-seventies as Principal Cellist of the Orchestra of Santa Fe, and as an aspiring jazz cellist with the Johnny Gilbert Quartet. Since then, she has performed in many of New Mexico’s finest ensembles, from the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and Opera to Sunday Chatter and the Placitas Artists Series. Joan became Principal Cellist of the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra in 1987, prior to becoming Principal of the New Mexico Philharmonic. She enjoys branching out these days: in her business “Cello to Go” playing informal house concerts followed by mini cello lessons for brave listeners; performing with the Celtic/folk/jazz quartet “Shepherd Moon”; and, most recently, performing with flamenco guitarist Juani de la Isla.
Joan spent more than three years living in Venezuela, first performing with the Filarmonica de Caracas and then as soloist and Principal Cellist with the Filarmonica de Mérida. Her frequent televised performances with the Cuarteto Internacional met with high critical acclaim.
Joan is a versatile musician who has taught extensively (cello, recorder, piano, voice, orchestra, chamber music, theory, composition, and improvisation), both privately and at institutions including U.C. Santa Cruz, Ithaca College, and UNM. She currently enjoys teaching cello students from age 6 to 86. A native New Yorker, she started playing cello because her family ensemble needed a bass instrument! Joan graduated from Bennington College, where she studied with the Finckel clan, and has a Masters in cello performance from Ithaca College.
Joan loves the outdoors and is an avid hiker, skier, gardener, and traveler. She’s had the good fortune to backpack on five continents. In her retirement, she hopes to continue these pursuits, adding some forays into visual arts, as well as bringing free chamber music programs to underserved communities