Zexun (Jason) Shen


Lev Aronson Chair, Endowed by Betty Taylor Cox

Zexun (Jason) Shen joined the DSO cello section in 2022. Born in Shanghai, China,he studied at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music with Professor Da-Hai Liu and graduated with honors in 2009. In the same year, he began his studies with Timothy Eddy at the Mannes College of Music (BM 2013, MM 2015) and was awarded a full scholarship and the Goldsmith Foundation Award. Shen served as the principal cellist of the Mannes Orchestra from 2011 to 2015. After graduation, he completed his professional study with Dean’s Award under the guidance of Philippe Muller at Manhattan School of Music. He joined the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in 2016. In May 2021, Shen was awarded the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Stony Brook University where he studied with Colin Carr.

Shen has performed extensively in the U.S. and abroad (including China, Australia, and Poland) as a soloist and chamber musician, playing at venues such as the Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Metropolitan Museum and Morgan Library Museum, and he has taken part in music festivals such as the Sarasota Music Festival, Heifetz International Music Institute (String Quartet Seminar), and the Taos Chamber Music Festival, working with the members of the Borromeo String Quartet, Brentano String Quartet, the Moscow Rachmaninoff Piano Trio, the Guarneri String Quartet and the Orion String Quartet, among others. He has also performed and worked with world-renowned musicians such as Shmuel Ashkenazi, Paul Biss, Andres Diaz, Vladimir Feltsman, Miriam Fried, Herbert Greenberg, Frans Helmerson, Christoph Henkel, Gary Hoffman, Paul Katz, Ralph Kirshbaum, Laurence Lesser, Robert McDonald, Marcy Rosen, Joseph Silverstein, Mark Steinberg and Michael Tree.

Shen has appeared in the Starry Night concert series at Stony Brook with Hagai Shaham and musicians from the Emerson String Quartet and the concert series of The Society for Chamber Music in Rochester with faculty members of the Eastman School of Music and musicians from the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Shen and his colleagues, pianist Miki Aoki and violinist Emre Engin, founded an online classical concert series “Musik in the Air” and performed in many online concerts.

Zexun (Jason) Shen plays on a 1723 Italian cello with an 1860 French bow made by Joseph Henry. The instrument is loaned by an anonymous sponsor, and the bow is made available to Mr. Shen as a gift from a sponsor from Taiwan.