Described as "a world class musician" (Galena Gazette), Chicago native Anita Graef has earned recognition for her music making as an artist performing throughout the United States. She has performed with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra as a CCM-CSO Diversity Fellow, and concertizes as a solo and chamber artist frequently, including a recent debut recital on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert series. Upcoming appearances for 2019-2020 include performances on live radio as a guest of “Live from WFMT,” at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, and at the Library of Congress.
She has performed at various festivals, such as with the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, at Brevard Music Festival as principal cellist, the Catskills Chamber Music Festival, Miami Music Festival as assistant principal cellist, as well as Credo Chamber Music Festival at Oberlin Conservatory. She is a member of the Juliani Ensemble, where she has collaborated with members of both the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera Orchestra, among others. The Juliani Ensemble, as well as the Juliani String Quartet-an extension of the ensemble-performs extensively throughout the city of Chicago, including appearances at Preston Bradley Hall and on 98.7 WFMT. She has been a prizewinner at numerous competitions, including the First Prize at the Grand Prize Virtuoso Competition, Third Prize at The North International Music Competition, Silver Prize at the Muse International Competition, and the Silver Prize with Distinction at the Young Classical Virtuosos of Tomorrow international competition.
In the past, she has had occasion to work with and perform for musicians such as Stephen Geber, Johannes Moser, Felix Wang, the Shanghai String Quartet, Roberto Diaz, Joel Smirnoff, Eric Kim, Charles Pickler, Paul Watkins of the Emerson Quartet, Anne Martindale Williams, the Calidore Quartet, Yehuda Hanani, Martin Katz, and the Chiara Quartet. Former teachers include Anthony Elliott, Marc Johnson, Hans Jorgen Jensen, and several members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, including Jonathan Pegis, Richard Hirschl, and Brant Taylor. She has performed in several orchestras under the baton of maestros such as Leonard Slatkin, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, James Gaffigan, David Efron, JoAnn Falletta, Rossen Milanov, Louis Langree, James Conlon and Keith Lockhart.
Born into a family of professional musicians, Anita grew up surrounded by music. She began piano studies at age two, while beginning to study cello at age four, going on to make her concerto debut at age twelve. She went on to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre, and Dance, where she studied with professor Anthony Elliott. Following this, she completed studies for a Master’s Degree at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, under the tutelage of Ilya Finkelshteyn.
When not making music, Anita enjoys reading, cooking, weight lifting, hiking, spending time with friends and family, and exploring new cities.
Anita performs on a modern Italian cello by Ferdinando Garimberti, dated 1923.