Colette began playing the cello at the age of 4 at the Institute of Music and Dance in downtown Detroit, Michigan. Her earliest memories of music are climbing the stairs to take Orff lessons in the old building on Kirby (now demolished), and sneaking off in between orchestra and group cello class to get some Cheetos from the snack machine in the basement.

Interlochen, Meadowmount, and concerto competitions all followed. But she also loved listening to her father’s rockabilly band perform, and was inspired by the string arrangements peppering her favorite bands’ albums as a teenager - Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Tori Amos, Bjork, PJ Harvey, Loreena McKennitt, and REM.

Attending Sarah Lawrence College introduced the practice of classical improvisation, and newer more contemporary styles of classical music. Her graduate studies at California Institute of the Arts focused on contemporary classical cello performance with Erika Duke-Kirkpatrick and Lucky Mosko as her mentors. 

Since graduating with an MFA in cello performance from CalArts, she’s been lucky enough to work with many artists in concert and in the studio, including Rilo Kiley, Jens Lekman, Girls in Trouble, Josh Groban, The Pop-Ups, Angelique Kidjo, Sara Bareilles, Saturday Looks Good to Me, Matt Jones & the Reconstructions, Drafted by Minotaurs, Greg Laswell, and the Bengsons. Lately she has focused on music for theater and dance, writing an original composition Seed/Stem/Calyx for Sonya Tayeh’s piece Face the Torrent, commissioned by the Malpaso Dance Company.

She currently resides in Rhode Island and continues to record and perform her own works, and with various artists.


Photographer: Doug Coombe

Performing with Matt Jones & the Reconstruction at the Ark in Ann Arbor, September 2014