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Esther Back

Esther Back





Esther Back is an acclaimed cellist, known not only for her solo, orchestral, and chamber performances, but also as an avid educator and outreach advocate. A pupil of world-renowned cellist and viol player Jaap ter Linden, Ms. Back went to Germany to study at Frankfurt University at the age of eleven and came to America years later. She has studied with Peter Stumpf (faculty at Indiana University), Ben Hong, Ronald Leonard (former Principal Cellist of Los Angles Philharmonic), Bernard Greenhouse, and Eleonore Schoenfeld.

After earning a Bachelor of Music degree in Cello Performance at California State University/Fullerton, Ms. Back completed a Master of Music degree in Cello Performance at the University of Redlands. At the present time she is working toward a Doctor of Philosophy in Musicology, as well as in Historical Performance Practices (Baroque cello and viola da gamba) at Claremont Graduate University.

Ms. Back started her professional orchestra career in 2007, winning a position as Cellist with the San Bernardino Symphony, American Youth Symphony, and as a finalist for the Assistant Cello position at Redlands Symphony. She has served as the Principal Cellist for the Orange County Symphony, Orange Coast College Symphony, La Mirada Symphony, University of Redlands Orchestra, Summit Music Festival Symphony, Texas Music Festival Symphony, and Cal State Fullerton Symphony. She has also performed with the Burbank Philharmonic, Torrance Symphony, and Downey Symphony, and has experience as a recording studio musician.

She also has collaborated in concerto performances, chamber music, and orchestral symphonies with renowned artists such as Lynn Harrell, Bernard Greenhouse, Dr. Robert Watson, and Alexander Treger. Her several solo appearances in concertos and concert pieces included works by Dvořák, Schumann, Prokofiev, Vivaldi, and Paganini. Ms. Back won numerous awards, including Grand Prizes in the Concerto Competitions at both the University of Redlands School of Music and at CSU/Fullerton. She was the Grand Prize winner of the American String Teachers Association Greater Los Angeles Finals in 2004. In South Korea she was awarded first place in the Kang Won State Annual Competition and the Music Journal Competition.

Well-known as a cello teacher, Ms. Back serves as a faculty member at CSU/San Bernardino. With more than twenty years of teaching experience with her large private studio, her students have won top awards at various music competitions: soloist opportunities with professional orchestras and invitations to regularly perform at prestigious venues. Ms. Back has been a cello instructor at Cal State University/San Bernardino Summer Music Camp, Valley Christian Schools, and also at the University of Redlands Community School of Music, the West Music Conservatory, SOMA Music School; and she has been on the cello faculty at the California Music Clinic, GMI School of Music, and now for CMIsc (Chamber Music Institute/So Cal).

An avid desire to increase classical music awareness has led Ms. Back to become involved in many outreach and educational organizations. She has formed the California State University/San Bernardino Cello Ensemble and directed this growing group, which has received an invitation to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City on June 18, 2021, since 2018. She also was the founder and music director of the Orange County Cello Ensemble, a non-profit music organization, which concert-toured France in 2017. In June 2019 this was the first cello ensemble group to be selected to perform at world-famous Walt Disney Concert Hall.  

Ms. Back is the Solo Competition Chair for CalASTA Los Angeles (American String Teacher’s Association), where she organizes competitions for music students. She also holds professional memberships at ASTA, the Music Teacher’s Association of California (MTAC), American Federation Musicians Local 47, Southwestern Youth Music Festival (SYMF), and the Musical Arts Competition Orange County (MACOC).



  • Doctor of Philosophy in Musicology & in Historical Performance Practices (Baroque Cello & Viola Da Gamba), Claremont Graduate University, in progress
  • Master of Music Degree in Cello Performance, University of Redlands 
  • Bachelor of Music Degree in Cello Performance, California State University, Fullerton 


MUS 1420-02: Lower-Division String Instrument I: Cello

MUS 2420-02: Lower-Division String Instrument II: Cello

MUS 2392-02: Applied Strings and Repertoire I: Cello

MUS 3420-02: Upper-Division String Instrument I: Cello

MUS 3392-02: Applied Strings and Repertoire II: Cello

MUS 3832-01 : Cello Ensemble

MUS 4392-02: Applied Strings and Repertoire III: Cello

MUS 4420-02: Upper-Division String Instrument II: Cello

MUS 4500 Applied Pedagogy: Orchestral Strings

MUS 2135 Musicianship II

Research and Teaching Interests

Studio Teaching (Cello & Baroque Cello)
Cello Orchestra/Ensemble Directing & Managing
Orchestral Repertoire
Chamber Music
Music Education