Taft Museum and Cincinnati Symphony partner on 2023 Duncanson Artist-in-Residence

In partnership with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s Diversity Fellowship program, the Taft Museum of Art welcomes cellist Anita Graef, as the 36th Duncanson Artist-in-Residence, April 16-30, 2023. The partnership is a collaboration between two award-winning programs focused on elevating the profile of Black and Brown contemporary artists.

Described as a musician of “superb artistry” (Pasadena Now) who plays with “high energy and polish” (WQXR), Graef has earned recognition not only as an artist equally at home exploring traditional as well as contemporary works, but for her deep commitment to service, outreach and education.

2023 Duncanson Artist in Residence Anita Graef
Photo by Todd Rosenberg

Graef’s notable appearances include Strings magazine’s “Sessions” video performance series, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert series, and “Concerts from the Library of Congress.” Graef has also performed with orchestras across the United States.

Graef has performed and taught masterclasses at numerous major universities, and served as a teaching artist for several respected in-school programs. Her approach to her own concert programming mixes works from the classical canon along with those from underrepresented voices, and has included several world premieres. She also serves as artistic director and cellist of the Juliani Ensemble, a multifaceted chamber group with which she has performed nationally and internationally.

Graef was recently named as the 2022 Gheens Young Artist – an award from the Gheens Foundation that included her concerto debut with the Louisville Orchestra, as well as performing, speaking, and serving as an educator throughout the city. In 2021, she received the American Prize in Instrumental Performance.

Born into a family of professional musicians, Graef grew up surrounded by music. She was introduced to the piano at a very young age and added the cello at age four. She made her concerto debut at the age of twelve. Graef went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of CSO principal cello Ilya Finkelshteyn.

For two weeks, April 16-30, Graef will lead public programs, teach workshops, and visit schools across Greater Cincinnati.


Public Programs & Events

Welcome Night: Duncanson Artist-in-Residence

Sunday, April 16

  • 6–7 p.m. Taft Museum of Art
  • Galleries open to program attendees at 5 p.m.
  • Remarks at 6:15 p.m.

Welcoming event for Anita Graef with a meet-and-greet opportunity, including a performance and remarks. Light bites and drinks. Free valet parking.

This is a free event and includes access to the current special exhibitions “Memories & Inspiration: The Kerry and C. Betty Davis Collection of African American Art” and “Universal Magnetic: New Works by Terence Hammonds.” Registration is recommended.

Finale Concert: Duncanson Artist-in-Residence

Saturday, April 29

  • 7–9 p.m. The Carnegie, 1028 Scott St., Covington

Anita Graef will perform solo and with the CSO’s Nouveau Chamber players and special guests.This is a free event. Registration is recommended.

Duncanson Artist-in-Residence Program

Established in 1986 by the Taft Museum of Art and the Robert S. Duncanson Society, this award-winning program honors the achievements of contemporary Black American artists working in a variety of disciplines. The program honors the relationship between Black American painter Robert S. Duncanson and his patron, Nicholas Longworth, who commissioned Duncanson to paint landscape murals in the foyer of his home, now the Taft Museum of Art. Graef will be the 36th artist-in-residence throughout the program’s long tenure.

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