Hailed for his “seriousness and depth of an authentic concert soloist,” Holgen Gjoni has been steadily gaining a reputation as one of the most sought after cellists of his generation and has performed as soloist and recitalist throughout United States, Europe and Asia. Gjoni was awarded first prize at the John Hsu Cello Competition, Nancy Tumarkin Cello Concerto Competition and the Bucharest Music University Concerto Competition; awarded second prize at the Mihail Jora International Cello Competition; awarded special prize at Jeunesse Musicales International Cello Competition, Karl Zeise Memorial Cello Award for Outstanding Commitment of Talent from the Boston Symphony Orchestra; recipient of the Presidential Award from The Boston Conservatory; recipient of the Jerome L. Greene Fellowship Award from the Juilliard School and the Gregor Piatigorsky Fellowship at the New England Conservatory. He has been praised by critics for his “technique, beauty of sound and emotional projection,” “tempestuous musical sensibility, marked by an ineffable luminosity of expression,” "an elite musician," while the legendary Yo Yo Ma wrote "a cellist of great talent."
Highlights of his versatile career include performances at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher, Alice Tully and Merkin Halls, Kennedy Center, Strathmore, Jordan, Seiji Ozawa and Tchaikovsky Concert Halls, Berlin and Budapest Opera Houses, Vatican, Tokyo City Opera, Shanghai Center Theatre and Beijing Century Theatre. Since his prize winning debut with Korca String Orchestra (Albania) at the age of twelve, Mr. Gjoni went on to play as soloist with numerous orchestras, including the Radio Chamber Orchestra (Romania), Radio and Television Orchestra (Albania), Kosovo Philharmonic, Greeley Philharmonic and SBS Orchestra (USA), while touring extensively around the world as the featured soloist of the Symphonia Orchestra (Italy) and the Philharmonie of the Nations, in solo performances as an Ambassador of Peace, including for the Papal audience in Vatican. An avid chamber musician, Mr. Gjoni's recent collaboration with the Borromeo String Quartet (Avery Fisher Grant winner) was praised by The Boston Musical Intelligencer: “The round, full bodied tones of guest cellist Holgen Gjoni were especially notable.”
Orchestral collaborations have included the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, New World Symphony and Philharmonia of the Nations under the directions of Maestros Seiji Ozawa, Kurt Masur, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Sir Roger Norrington, Sir Colin Davis, Leonard Slatkin, James Conlon, Charles Dutoit, Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos and many others.
A Virtu Foundation scholar, Mr. Gjoni was a visiting cello faculty at The Boston Conservatory, where his master classes on the topic of Cello Physics were enthusiastically received by a sold out audience. He has been invited to teach at Cactus Pear Music Festival, Vianden International Music Festival, Luxembourg, Saarburg International Music Festival, Germany, University of Northern Colorado and the University of Arts in Tirana, Albania and has served as substitute teacher at the Juilliard School and New England Conservatory Preparatory Division. Mr. Gjoni joined the cello section of the San Antonio Symphony in September 2015 and is Adjunct Professor of cello at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas. Holgen Gjoni holds degrees from New England Conservatory, the Juilliard School, Boston Conservatory and Bucharest University of Music, having studied with cellists Paul Katz (former cellist of the Cleveland String Quartet), Bonnie Hampton (disciple of Pablo Casals and Zara Nelsova), Andrew Mark and Marin Cazacu. He was selected to play in masterclasses for Yo Yo Ma, Janos Starker, Natalia Gutman, Franz Helmerson, Radu Aldulescu and has extensively worked with chamber music experts such as Joel Smirnoff, Samuel Rhodes and Joel Krosnick of the Juilliard String Quartet, Martha Katz of the Cleveland String Quartet, Michael Tree of the Guarneri String Quartet, Norman Fisher and Mark Sokol of the Concord String Quartet and Pamela Frank, to name a few.