Samuel Sykes is currently a junior at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He began studying the cello at age three with Karen Geyer at the Northeast Iowa School of Music and made his concerto debut at age twelve. He then continued his studies with Kevin Price Brenner and Peter Thomas, and attended the Interlochen Arts Academy from 2017-2019. In May 2017 he was the recipient of the Interlochen Arts Academy’s Fine Arts Award for Cello Performance. While at Interlochen, he performed under the baton of renowned conductors including Karina Canellakis, JoAnn Falleta, Carlos Kalmar, Cristian Măcelaru, Carlos Izcaray, and Jung-Ho Pak. Samuel attended the Meadowmount School of Music (Westport, NY) over the summers of 2018-2019 and the Sitka International Cello Seminar (Sitka, AK) in 2020-2021.
Samuel has participated in masterclasses with the Juilliard String Quartet, Calidore String Quartet, and the Cavani Quartet and is currently a member of the Advanced Piano Trio Program at CIM where he has performed in seminars for Jaime Laredo, Daniel Shapiro, Jessica Lee, and other esteemed musicians. Some of his leading mentors include Hans Jørgen Jensen, Sharon Robinson, and Zuill Bailey. Additionally, he was a National YoungArts Winner in 2019 for Classical Music and performed at the winner’s concert in New York City. This past year, he placed first in the 2021 Tennessee (TCW) Cello Competition and second in the 2021 Schubert Club Scholarship Competition. He is currently under the tutelage of Dr. Melissa Kraut at the Cleveland Institute of Music.