Acclaimed musician and arts ambassador Khari Joyner is one of the leading cellists of his generation. Dubbed by the New York Classical Review as one of the most exciting young musicians on the classical scene, he has a following nationally and abroad, and has made a number of accomplishments including teaching residencies and concert series for over one thousand students in Beijing, Shanghai, Japan, Vancouver, The Netherlands, and across the United States. A passionate advocate for the music of today, his most accomplishments include performing the world premiere of MacArthur Genius Tyshawn Sorey’s Cycles of My Being, the New York Premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s cello concerto Notes on Light, and the world premiere of Carman Moore’s MADIBA for cello and orchestra. He has also recently performed as a guest with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra throughout Japan. Further accolades include a private performance for President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, a performance of Britten’s Symphony for Cello and Orchestra as soloist with the Juilliard Orchestra, and the U.S. Premiere of the late Valentin Bibik’s Cello Concerto No. 2, with the New Juilliard Ensemble. In addition, he was recently awarded a 2017-2018 career grant from the Leonore Annenberg Fellowship for the Performing and Visual Arts.
Other achievements include winning First Places in the Juilliard Concerto Competition, 12th Annual Sphinx Competition Junior Division, and an appearance on the Radio Show “From the Top” in El Paso, TX, after winning $10,000 as a Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist. In 2008, he became the ASTA Competition Georgia State winner and in 2007, he won the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra (ASYO) Concerto Competition. Heralded by Atlanta Journal Constitution as “one of the most promising cellists in the country”, Joyner made his orchestral debut at 17, performing the Haydn C Major Concerto with the Atlanta Symphony under renowned conductor Robert Spano, and made a return with the orchestra ten years later performing Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations for over 12,000 people in Piedmont Park and Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto in A Minor at Symphony Hall. He has also had numerous engagements with the Buffalo, New World, New Jersey, and Sphinx Symphonies performing the Elgar, Dvorak, and Boccherini Concertos. Joyner’s cello studies started at the age of eight, with instructors Bonnie Cohan and Martha Gerschefski, and his prodigious career was launched four
years later in an unexpected way when he was asked to perform for the late Coretta Scott-King in a featured performance with his two older brothers in the KAJ trio.
As a fervent recitalist, Joyner has made debuts in France at the L’Oratoire du Louvre in Paris and the Chateau du Fontainebleau—performing works by Schnittke, Greif, Ravel, and Dutilleux—and debuts in China including chamber music recitals at the Shanghai Tower and Keystone Academy in Beijing, among others. He has also given chamber music and solo premieres in Dinard, Brittany, as a member of Festival Daniou. Recitals in the Atlanta Metropolitan area have included the Emory University Upcoming Young Artist Series performing with pianist William Ransom, the Casual Classics Concert Series, the Annual Trumpet Awards Breakfast, Border’s Music Series, and a featured performer for the 2008 Maya Angelou Birthday Celebration. Moreover, he has been featured several times on radio station NPR, and has been a featured performer for WSBTV’s People to People Segment. Furthermore, Joyner is also an aficionado of chamber music. He has made numerous guest appearances in the Ritz Chamber Players in Florida, Discover Melody Artists, Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia, Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival in North Carolina, and the KAJ trio, for which he is a founding member with violinists Amyr and Jarin Joyner. He was also featured on
WQXR, for the Midday Masterpieces series, and at the Temple of Dendur concert Arvo Pärt at Eighty hosted by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. As a founding member of the Altezza Piano Trio, he has given performances at South Orange Performing Arts Center of New Jersey, The Harvard Club of New York City, Alice Tully Hall, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
Joyner received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The Juilliard School, with research into mathematics and music found in his dissertation, “The Vertex: An Analysis of Mathematics and Music for the 21st Century Student and Performer.” While in his doctoral studies he was named a fellow of the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund, sponsored by the Tokyo Foundation, and also received a Benzaquen Career Grant. Joyner continues to serve as a Teaching Assistant for Joel Krosnick in the College Division at Juilliard, as well as a substitute faculty at Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University. He has given many masterclasses for cello students at Oberlin Conservatory, Stetson University, and Clayton State University among many others; he also has taught workshops at many local arts high schools on the west coast in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and San Francisco. Joyner also frequently participates in community engagement in the New York City and Atlanta metro area and has given concerts in venues such as the Hetrick-Martin Institute for LGBTQ Homeless Youth, Felicity House for women with autism, Publicolor, and various churches and elementary schools.
A former recipient of the Azira G. Hill Scholarship, he is an alumnus of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Talent Development Program, and was also a former participant of the Hank Aaron Chasing the Dream Foundation. Joyner was a featured performer for Hank Aaron’s 80th birthday celebration at the Smithsonian Museum in D.C., and Mr. Aaron’s 77th birthday celebration in NYC, with President William Clinton, Harry Belafonte, Governor Mario Cuomo, and Mayor David Dinkins, among others in attendance.
Joyner is also very passionate about his academic studies, and while studying in Juilliard’s Accelerated BM/MM program he pursued a concentration in Mathematics in an exchange program with Columbia University. Furthermore, he has held multiple positions in leadership roles, including his serving as a Fellow for the Perlman Music Program, and on campus at Juilliard as Teaching Assistant and Fellow for the College Division Music History and Music Theory Departments. He has also served as President of Juilliard’s Chess Club, Diversity Representative for the Juilliard Student Council, and as a member of the Student Search Committee for Juilliard’s Seventh President, Damian Woetzel. He also served for two years as a school ambassador for the annual National Conference on Race and Ethnicity. In his free time, Joyner enjoys endurance driving, playing chess, as well as attending and performing at car shows as an ardent enthusiast of classic American, European, and Japanese cars.
Joyner has also been a very avid supporter and performer for the American Cancer Society, and other organizations working with Cancers and Blood Disorders such as the Make-A-Wish foundation. He has given performances for in-patients at the Hassenfield Center for Childhood Cancers and Blood Disorders, in Manhattan, and he has played at Emory’s Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. His first solo album, Cellocomotion®, featuring both original compositions and music from the 17th century to the present, is available for purchase digitally on all music streaming platforms.
“A gifted virtuoso” (San Francisco Chronicle) with “mesmerizing artistry and extraordinary ability to communicate” (The Post-Standard), “poetic, electrifying” (Michigan Live) with “masterful technique and a veritable deluge of sonorities” (La Presse Montreal), 25-year-old Llewellyn Sánchez-Werner was selected First Prize Winner of the 2022 Concert Artists Guild International Competition. Named a Gilmore Young Artist, an honor awarded to the most promising American pianists of the new generation, his multi-faceted artistry has been featured on NPR, PBS, CNN International, the Wall Street Journal, and WDR-Arte.
Llewellyn’s recent international performances include The Royal Concertgebouw in the Netherlands, CultureSummit Abu Dhabi, the Louvre and Grenoble Museums in France, Smetana Hall in the Czech Republic, State Philharmonic Hall in Slovakia, Verbier Festival in Switzerland, Ashford Castle in Ireland, Gijon International Piano Festival in Spain, and Jack Singer Concert Hall, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montreal, and Banff Arts Festival in Canada. In the United States, he has frequently concertized at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lincoln Center, and National Sawdust in New York, Mary B. Galvin Hall in Chicago, Richardson Auditorium at Princeton University, Paramount Theater in Oakland, and the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Art Museum, and Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C.
Llewellyn performed at the Kennedy Center and the White House for President Obama and now-President Biden, for President Peña Nieto of Mexico, Prime Minister Peres of Israel, and President Kagame of Rwanda. Committed to public service, he received the Atlantic Council Young Global Citizen Award recognizing his dedication to social action through music in such countries as Iraq, Rwanda, France, Canada, and the United States. Fellow honorees included Robert De Niro. General Petraeus commended his “courageous humanitarian contributions through the arts…strengthening the ties that unite our nations.”
On UN World Day for Cultural Diversity, he played with the Iraqi National Symphony in Baghdad, raising funds for the Children’s Cancer Hospital, and in Rwanda, he performed for economic leaders and President Kagame as Rwandans continue rebuilding from the Tutsi genocide. He augmented awareness when he was featured on CNN International. In Paris, he performed at the U.S. Embassy for a special event honoring the visit of the U.S. State Department’s Special Envoy to Muslim Communities, Shaarik Zafar, which was attended by an American delegation and local representatives from various religious groups and civil society advocates.
Renée Fleming, Eric Owens, Marina Poplavskaya, Richard O’Neill, and Cynthia Phelps are among the leading artists Llewellyn has collaborated with as an active chamber musician. He was Artist-in-Residence at the Canandaigua LakeMusic Festival, Discovery Artist of the New West Symphony, and served as music director for a production of Aida at City College Arts Academy in New York. He partnered with the Gershwin family on a concert and biographical tribute to the Gershwin brothers, and performed “Hallelujah Junction” for John Adams at his 70th birthday celebration in New York. For a Hilan Warshaw WDR-Arte documentary titled “Wagner’s Jews,” which explores the controversy of performing Wagner in Israel and has been aired around the world, Llewellyn recorded works of Liszt, Wagner, and Tausig.
Since making his concerto debut at age 6, he has performed under the batons of such conductors as Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, Peter Oundjian, Karina Canellakis, Michael Morgan, Boris Brott, Tito Muñoz, David Lockington, William Noll, Burns Taft, Robert Lawson, and Karim Wasfi. His long relationship with Michael Morgan, with whom he has soloed with 3 orchestras, expanded beyond performing titans of the concerto repertoire when they took on the rarely performed Carlos Chávez piano concerto in a performance that received the Ross McKee Foundation Grant. His adventurous programming also took him to perform Philip Glass’ piano concerto, “After Lewis and Clark,” under the baton of Tito Muñoz.
Llewellyn was awarded a National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts’ YoungArts gold medal in music. Further, he performed Beethoven, Mozart, and Haydn concerti in partnership with the National Academy Orchestra of Canada and the New West Symphony in 16 concerts for 20,000 North American students to excite more youth about classical music. He continued performing with maestro Boris Brott for an additional 6,000 students as part of an anti-bullying campaign.
A California native, Llewellyn began his first college degree at age 5, and at age 6 began performing regularly with orchestras. Principal teachers have included Ilya Itin, Boris Berman, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Robert Durso, composition with Lowell Liebermann, and improvisation with Noam Sivan. He has extensively worked with Robert Levin, Joseph Kalichstein, Wu Han, Gilbert Kalish, Robert McDonald, and the Brentano, Borromeo, and Shanghai Quartets.
Llewellyn holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Juilliard, where he was awarded the Kovner Fellowship, won the concerto competition, and was the youngest admittee to each program at ages 14 and 18, respectively. He received an Artist Diploma from the Yale School of Music, where he was awarded the Charles S. Miller Prize. Llewellyn is a Steinhardt Doctoral Fellow and Adjunct Professor at New York University. He studies with Eduardus Halim.