Paul Tobias has been called a “master of the music and his instrument” by the New York Times, while the San Francisco Chronicle hailed him as “a fired-up, brilliant cellist in the great romantic tradition of Casals”. He studied under Gregor Piatigorsky, Margaret Rowell and Bonnie Hampton, and under Leonard Rose, Zara Nelsova, and Claus Adam at The Juilliard School.
Among the many orchestras with which Tobias performed are the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, and Seattle Symphony. Following his debut under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas, he performed with conductors such as Pierre Boulez, Sergiu Comissiona, Raymond Leppard, and Zubin Mehta.
The many awards bestowed on Tobias included a Walter W. Naumburg Foundation Prize and the Gregor Piatigorsky Award (presented by the Violoncello Society which proclaimed him “outstanding young American cellist”). Following his first performances with the New York Philharmonic under Pierre Boulez (broadcast over the CBS Television Network), he was given the honor of performing the American premiere of the Pederecki Cello Concerto at the Kennedy Center with the composer conducting the Polish National Radio Symphony. Particularly noteworthy, Paul Tobias championed uncommon and difficult cello works that he believed should be more widely heard. For example, Tobias was recognized as a pre-eminent interpreter of Samuel Barber’s Cello Concerto and of the autograph version of Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme, which he edited for its premier publication by Edwin F. Kalmus.
In addition to solo performances in Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, the Philadelphia Academy of Music, and the Metropolitan Museum, Tobias also participated as a chamber musician at the Aspen Festival and the Marlboro Festival (for five consecutive years at the personal invitation of Rudolf Serkin). Paul Tobias can be heard on recordings for CBS and the Marlboro Recording Society. His performances have been broadcast over NPR, PBS, CBS Television, and numerous European radio stations. A one hour documentary on Paul Tobias has been broadcast throughout the U.S. over various PBS Television stations.
Additionally, Paul Tobias was Artistic Director of New Heritage Music, a non-profit organization that commissions new works in honor of people, events, and themes central to history. Among composers designated to date are Chen Yi, Michael Daugherty, David Ott, Behzad Ranjbaran, David Sampson, Peter Schickele and Dan Welcher. The American Symphony Orchestra League calls New Heritage Music “a success story in creating new audiences with new music.”
A former Lecturer in Music at Harvard University and pre-concert lecturer for the New York Philharmonic, Tobias also served on the faculties of the Manhattan School of Music, the New England Conservatory of Music, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the University of California at Berkeley. A member of the faculty of the Mannes College for Music, New School University in New York, he was the recipient of its Distinguished University Teacher of the Year Award. Tobias authored numerous articles for American String Teacher, The Juilliard Journal, the Journal of the Conductors Guild, Strings, and The Strad.
Paul Tobias is the 16th musician to be represented in the UNCG Cello Music Collection
. Consisting of the archival music collections of Luigi Silva, Elizabeth Cowling, Rudolf Matz, Maurice Eisenberg, János Scholz, Fritz Magg, Bernard Greenhouse, Laszlo Varga, Lev Aronson, Lubomir Georgiev, Marion Davies, Douglas Moore, Ennio Bolognini, Nicholas Anderson, Margaret Rowell, and Paul Tobias, the Cello Music Collection
at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro constitutes the largest single holding of archival cello music-related material worldwide.