American cellist Mariel Roberts is widely recognized not just for her virtuosic performances, but as a “fearless explorer” in her field (Chicago Reader). Her appetite for collaboration and experimentation as an interpreter, improvisor, and composer have helped create a body of work that bridges avant-garde, contemporary, classical, improvised, and traditional music. Roberts is widely recognized for her “technical and interpretive mastery” (I care if you listen) and for performances which seethe with “excruciating intensity” (The Whole Note).
Roberts has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician across four continents, most notably as a member and co-director of the Wet Ink Ensemble (named “The Best Classical Music Ensemble of 2018” by The New York Times), as well as with the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Mivos Quartet, Bang on a Can All Stars, and Ensemble Signal. She performs regularly on major stages for new music such as the Lincoln Center Festival (NY), Wien Modern (Austria), Lucerne Festival (Switzerland), Cervantino Festival (Mexico), Klang Festival (Denmark), Shanghai New Music Week (China), Darmstadt Internationalen Ferienkurse für Neue Musik (Germany), and Aldeburgh Music Festival (U.K.). Roberts has been featured in a wide variety of outstanding recordings, including titles on Innova Records, Albany Records, New World Records, New Amsterdam, Carrier Records, New Focus, and Urtext Records. Roberts’ compositions have been performed at venues such as Merkin Hall and Miller Theatre at Columbia University.
Roberts has released two solo albums of new works commissioned for her. The first, Nonextraneous Sounds (2012), was noted for its “technical flair and exquisite sensitivity” (Composers Forum). In 2017, the release of Cartography solidified Roberts’ position as “one of the most adventurous figures on New York’s new music scene—one with a thorough grounding in classical tradition but a ravenous appetite for and tireless discipline in new work” (Bandcamp).
Her close collaborators have spanned a wide range of genres and include some of the most important figures on the contemporary and experimental scene, such as George Lewis, Alex Mincek, Tim Hecker, Nate Wooley, M. Lamar, Patrick Higgins (Zs), Ingrid Laubrock, Jeffrey Mumford, Sam Pluta, Eric Wubbels, and Ambrose Akinmusire.