Described as creating a “mesmerizing musical experience” by combining his “deep personal connection” (Toronto Live Music Report), “luscious tone and technical prowess”(The Vancouver Sun), cellist Ariel Barnes has been engaging audiences with his imaginative interpretations and commanding stage presence. Equally comfortable in musical languages from the Baroque to music of our modern times, Ariel’s performances range from evenings of unaccompanied Bach to world premiers of contemporary art music. Critically acclaimed by the press, he has been hailed as a “rising star” by the Georgia Straight, “a surprising standout” by the KW Gazette, “new wave” by L’Acadie Nouvelle and “a musician of real stature” by the Vancouver Sun. His solo and chamber music performances have been broadcast by CBC Radio Canada on such programs as In Performance, The Signal, Tempo, West Coast Performance, Choral Concert and On Stage, and he was recently selected as one of 6 cellists across the nation to celebrate the launch of cbcmusic.ca as a featured artist in the Canadian Bach Cello Suite Project. His performances in recent years include the concertos of Dvorak, Saint – Saens, Brahms (Double), Ernst Bloch’s “Schelomo”, Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations, and recital appearances in New York, Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax, Quebec City, Vancouver, San Francisco and Guadalajara Mexico. His solo and chamber music recordings have been received with critical acclaim, having been nominated for a Juno Award and two Western Canadian Music Awards. As a winner of the 2012 Canada Council Instrument Bank Competition, he has been awarded the use of the 1730 Newland Joannes Franciscus Celoniatus cello, built in Turin, Italy, for the next 3 years. In January 2013, Ariel was appointed Principal Cello of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
The performance of 21st century art music plays a significant role in Ariel’s creative life. He has given the world premier of works by Canadian composers such as Imant Raminsh, Jocelyn Morlock, Stephen Chatman, R. Murray Schafer, Brad Turner, Marcus Goddard, John Oliver, Rodney Sharman, Dorothy Chang, Glenn Buhr, Owen Underhill, Keon Birney, Elizabeth Knudson and Farshid Samandari. His new project “Couloir” with Harpist Heidi Krutzen keenly focuses on the creation of new music for the beautiful combination of cello and harp. Upcoming projects for “music’s new rare pair” (The Georgia Straight) include the development of works by Brad Turner, Caroline Lizotte and Andrew Staniland.
Passionate about chamber music literature Ariel has spent much time performing as a former member of the Borealis String Quartet, Trio Accord and has collaborated with many fine artisits such as The St. Lawrence String Quartet, Musica Intima, Trio Verlaine, Jonathan Crow, Dale Barltrop, Barry Schiffman, Tara Helen O’Connor, Daniel Philips, Andrew Dawes, Martin Chalifour, Carrie Dennis, Mehan Esfahani, Arthur Rowe, Ian Parker and Daniel Bolshoy, among many others. Memorable appearances at chamber music festivals include the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, MusicFest Vancouver, Mendocino Music Festival, Victoria Summer Music Festival, B.C. Scene, Elora Festival, Centre D’Arts at Mount Orford, and the Banff Centre for the Arts. He is a founding member, and regular guest, of the Scotiabank Northern Lights Music Festival in Ajijic, Mexico.
Upcoming recording projects include works by Jocelyn Morlock on the Naxos label, (including her Double Cello Concerto “Aeromancy”), and Couloir’s debut CD’s on PARMA Recordings, featuring works by Jocelyn Morlock, Glenn Buhr, Baljinder Sekhon, James Maxwell and Nico Muhly. His past recordings can be heard on Atma Classiques, Skylark Records, Universal Music and Centrediscs record labels, as well as regular broadcasts of live concerts on CBC Radio.