Deborah Pae

A photo of Deborah Pae

Associate Professor of Cello


354 Alexander


[email protected]

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What does the dream classical music career look like? One example is that of cellist Deborah Pae. 

— Cleveland Classical


Praised by critics for her “extraordinary musicianship" (San Diego Union Tribune), “superb tone,” and “high level of interpretative intelligence” (Transcentury), Korean-American cellist DEBORAH PAE has received international acclaim for her powerful performances, uncompromising curiosity for expression, and devotion to the arts. Pae has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician throughout North America, Europe, and Asia at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall in London, the National Concert Hall in Taipei, and the Berliner Philharmonie.

Recent season highlights include engagements in Berlin, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver, Taiwan, Maui, and Boston where she gave the world premiere of a new cello concerto by award-winning composer, Jeffrey Mumford, titled ‘of radiances blossoming in expanding air’ with Phoenix Orchestra. Her academic appearances include masterclasses and performances at Bowling Green State University, the University of Houston, University of California, Los Angeles; the University of Michigan, Taipei National University of the Arts, and Tunghai University in Taiwan.

Pae is the cellist of two award-winning ensembles: the Formosa Quartet, recipients of the First Prize and Amadeus Prize at the 2006 International London Quartet Competition, and the Namirovsky-Lark-Pae Trio, winners of the 2020 German Record Critics Award/Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik in the category of chamber music, one of Europe’s most coveted honors, and Fono Forum’s 5 Best Albums of 2020 for their debut album Masterpieces Among Peers: Trios by Frank Bridge and Johannes Brahms. Within her wide-ranging repertoire, she is passionate about lifting up the works of living composers, specifically those from underrepresented groups and highlighting the musical traditions of indigenous nations in Taiwan, and introducing valuable yet lesser-known musical compositions to world-wide audiences. Over the span of 25 years, Pae’s performances have been augmented by numerous radio and television broadcasts and recordings for ECM, New World, TYXarts, Bridge, Fuga Libera, and Outhere Records. 

A highly sought after collaborator, Pae has been a featured artist at festivals including Marlboro, Ravinia, Crans-Montana Classics, and the Amsterdam Cello Biennale where she has shared the stage with artists including Itzhak Perlman, Cho-Liang Ling, Pamela Frank, Kim Kashkashian, James Campbell, and members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, Mendelssohn, Takács, and Cleveland String Quartets.

A graduate of the Juilliard School, New England Conservatory, and an Associate Artist at the Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth in Belgium, Ms. Pae is committed to mentoring the next generation of young artists. She is Associate Professor of Cello at Eastern Michigan University where she is a recipient of the 2021 Ronald W. Collins Distinguished Faculty Award in Creative Activity, the highest honor Eastern Michigan University presents to an individual faculty member; cello and chamber music faculty at the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Formosa Chamber Music Festival, and Taipei Music Academy & Festival, and Faculty Emeritus at the Perlman Music Program. An advocate for equity in the arts, Pae serves as Governor on the board of The Recording Academy® Chicago Chapter. Her mentors have included cellists Gary Hoffman, Laurence Lesser, Joel Krosnick, André Emelianoff, and Nellis Delay; violist Kim Kashkashian, and violinist Itzhak Perlman.

Ms. Pae travels and performs with her trusty companion, a Vincenzo Postiglione cello (c. 1885) from Naples, Italy.


  • Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth, Artist-in-Residence '15
  • New England Conservatory, MM '12
  • The Juilliard School, BM '10


  • Applied Cello

Grants, Honors and Awards

2021 Ronald W. Collins Distinguished Faculty Creative Activity Award
2020 German Record Critics Award / Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik
2020 Fono Forum Magazine "5 Best Albums of 2020"
2019 Summer Research/Creative Activity Award; EMU Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies and Research
2019 WQXR Best Classical New Releases of January 2019
2019 WFMT Chicago's Featured New Release
2017 Women in Philanthropy Award
2016 Tarisio Trust Young Artist Grant
2013 Diapason d'Or CD Award
2013 Klassiek Central Award
2012 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition
2010 2nd Prize, King International Competition
2006 1st Prize and Amadeus Prize, 10th London-Wigmore Hall String Quartet Competition

Professional Affiliations

Additional Information

Deborah Pae:

EMU Cello: