Cellist Nancy Ives has been the Principal Cello of the Oregon Symphony since October 2000. Concerto appearances with the OS have included Kabalevsky Cello Concerto No. 2, Strauss Don Quixote, and Pezzo Capricioso by Tchaikovsky. In 2001, She filled in on the Dvorak Cello Concerto at the last minute for an ailing soloist with the Clark College Orchestra, and in August of 2004, joined Ron Blessinger and Stewart Goodyear in a performance of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto at he Cascade Festival of Music in Bend, Oregon. She performed Strauss Don Quixote with the Oregon Symphony and music director Carlos Kalmar in April of 2006, and the Dvorak with Salvador Brotons and the Vancouver (WA) Symphony in October 2009 and Elgar with Portland Columbia in 2011.
Upon the arrival to Portland of former Oregon Symphony concertmaster Amy Schwartz Moretti, Nancy joined the other string principals in forming the Oregon Symphony String Quartet, about whose local debut at the Classical Millennium Broderick Gallery series David Stabler of The Oregonian said, “The quartet's exhilarating energy and rhythmic drive inspired images of a rich future for fans of chamber music.” In addition to appearances across the state on behalf of the Symphony, in 2006 the quartet performed as part of the citywide “Month of Mozart” festival for Friends of Chamber Music and on the “New Music at Willamette” series. July of 2005 marked Ives’ debut with Chamber Music Northwest, and she played several times for the innovative “Music in Context” series. During the 2003-04 season, as acting Artistic Director of the new music ensemble fEARnoMUSIC, she presented a premiere by David Dzubay for the Continental Harmony Project of the American Composer’s Forum. She has been a frequent member of the resident ensemble of the Ernest Bloch Festival Composers' Symposium, a guest artist with Fear No Music and with Third Angle Ensemble, has performed with jazz fiddler Hollis Taylor on several occasions, and had the privilege of performing with Janos Starker in Lincoln Hall in February of 2001. New ventures include forming the Rovetti String Quartet (with Philadelphia Orchestra Assistant Concertmaster Marc Rovetti, violinist Denise Dillenbeck, and violist Charles Noble) and Trio Areté with pianist John Pickett and violinist Denise Dillenbeck, and she has joined the intrepid new music group fEARnoMUSIC.
As a New York-based freelancer, before moving to Portland, she was Principal Cello and a founding member of the Grammy-nominated Manhattan Chamber Orchestra and Principal Cello of the American Chamber Opera Company. She was a regular recitalist at the Friends of the Arts Beethoven Festival and the Apollo Muses Festival in New Jersey, and in addition to performing the standard concerto repertoire with orchestras in the Northeast and the Midwest, she played her own composition Dialogue III for cello and orchestra with the Danbury Community Orchestra. She appeared with many new music ensembles, notably North-South Consonance and Musicians' Accord, playing over a hundred premieres by composers such as Milton Babbitt, Chen Yi and Bruce Adolphe. Her special interest in new music led to recordings on the Opus One and Koch labels and her versatility led to soundtrack recordings for PBS and the Smithsonian. She appeared with Laurie Anderson and Brazilian pop star Gal Costa at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Next Wave Festival, with Nana Vasconcelos at The Knitting Factory and Merkin Hall, and recorded with rock star Lenny Kravitz. Ives combined acting with cello playing in an Off-Broadway production of Orpheus in Love by Craig Lucas. During several years on tour with Phantom of the Opera, she performed a comedy routine about the cello in AIDS benefits across the country.
Nancy received her early training on the cello at the influential University of Texas String Project. She received a Bachelor of Music from the University of Kansas, where she was also an active composer, and her formal education culminated in both Masters and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in cello performance from the Manhattan School of Music. She is an active teacher, both private studio, master classes and clinics around the Northwest and summer programs including Chamber Music Camp of Portland and Portland Summer Ensembles. She has served as a past president of the Oregon Cello Society and on the Board of Directors for the Oregon Symphony.