A Conversation With Cellist Julian Schwarz

Two Weekend Concerts In South Florida Feature Cellist Who Has Music In His DNA


Marvin Glassman

Many musicians often come from musical families, but American cellist Julian Schwarz of Seattle truly has an unusual royal musical lineage.

Schwarz, who will be performing classical musical selections on cello in a concert recital on Sunday, April 14 at 1 p.m. at Temple Israel in Miami and on Tuesday, April 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale with the South Florida Symphony Orchestra, has ten relatives who attended the prestigious Julliard School Of Music and became acclaimed professional musicians.

Schwarz’s father is Gerard Schwarz, first a trumpet player who became conductor and then music director of the Seattle Symphony for over 25 years and is now music director of the Frost Symphony Orchestra at the University of Miami. His mother is flutist Jody Schwartz and his maternal grandfather, Sol Greitzer, was the principal viola of the New York Philharmonic.

Schwarz’s musical lineage includes his aunts and cousins who became accomplished classical musicians. “I always felt proud of my family and the musical life I shared with my family. I absorbed all I could listening to my father conduct the Seattle Symphony many times each week and I fell in love with music almost from the first note I heard,” said the 28-year-old Schwarz.

“The love of music is central to the many musical marriages of musicians in my family. My parents met through my maternal grandfather when my father was principal trumpet with the New York Philharmonic.” Julian Schwarz will also be marrying a musician soon. His fiancé is Canadian pianist Marika Bournaki, whom he will perform with at his Temple Israel Of Miami concert recital next week.

“To say the least, understanding the life of a musician and the love of music is central to not only my life, but fundamental in the many marriages of musicians in my family,” said Schwarz.

Also central to Schwarz’s musical DNA is a love of Jewish music that is part of his Jewish heritage. The Sunday concert at Temple Israel will be highlighted by Schwarz and Bournaki performing “Meditation Hebraque” by Ernest Bloch, which is based on a Jewish melody.

“I always loved my background and have been interested in Jewish music for many years, especially Jewish composers such as Bloch. Last year, I performed the music of the Jewish composer Joachim Stutschewsky, who uses Jewish folk music elements and cantorial influences. As a very emotional player and a Jew, singing in a cantorial manner though my cello comes very naturally to me.”


Schwarz first performed at age nine, playing the cello in “Kol Nidre” as part of the High Holy Day services at Temple De Hirsch Sinai in Seattle, which he continued doing for the next eleven years. Although Schwarz has never performed in Israel, plans are in the works for him to tour with a well-known Israeli orchestra. “It is a joy to perform Jewish music at Temple Israel in Miami and am looking forward to both performing and meeting patrons there.”

Schwarz will be meeting patrons at brunch at Temple Israel Of Miami prior to the Sunday, April 14 concert at 11:30 am. Also to be performed are: “Concert Piece Number Two” (Franz Danzi), “Fantasy Pieces” (Robert Schumann), “Introduction And Polonaise Brillante, Op 3” (Frederic Chopin),”Sonata Number 1 For Cello and Piano, Op.38” (Johannes Brahms) and “Sonata For Cello And Piano In D Minor” (Claude Debussy).

At the Tuesday, April 16 concert at Broward Center, Schwarz will perform with the South Florida Symphony Orchestra “Concerto For Cello And Orchestra” (Liebermann) and “Symphony No. 5 In D Minor” (Shostakovich).

Schwarz made his orchestral debut at age 11 with the Seattle Symphony conducted by his father. For most of his life, Schwarz has been on extensive tours as cello guest artist with major orchestras, such as his 15 concert American tour with the Moscow State Radio Symphony and a ten city China tour with his finace Marika Bournaki on piano.

He also teaches at music schools as a faculty member with multiple schools in Canada and the United States. To learn more about Schwarz, go to

Cellist Julian Schwartz and pianist Marika Bournaki perform in a concert recital of six classical music compositions, highlighted by “Meditation Hebraque” by Ernest Bloch on Sunday, April 14 at 1 p.m. at Temple Israel Of Miami, 137 NE 19th Street in Miami as part of the South Florida Symphony Orchestra Temple Israel Chamber Series. Tickets are $45. Patrons are also invited to a brunch at Temple Israel of Miami at 11:30 am prior to the concert. Tickets are $90 (for brunch and concert recital). For more information, call 954-522-8445 or go to Also, Tuesday, April 16 at 7:30 p.m. with the South Florida Symphony Orchestra in the Symphony’s Masterworks IV program of two classical music compositions on cello by Liebermann and Shostakovich, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets range from $40-90. For more information, call 954-522-8445 or go to

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