After meeting a cello in an instrument petting zoo for the first time in Texas, Allegra Montanari knew she had found the instrument for her. Almost twenty years later, this love at first sight has blossomed into an exciting and diverse career.
Allegra has performed extensively in orchestras across the nation. She has had the pleasure of playing principal for orchestras of the Chicago College of Performing Arts, Round Top Festival Orchestra and the Spoleto Festival USA. Allegra has served as an Associate Member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and a Finalist for the New World Symphony in Miami, Florida. A big lover of opera, Allegra is a section member of the Sarasota Opera Orchestra has served as a member of the Ash Lawn Opera in Charlottesville, VA.
Also an avid chamber musician, she has received chamber instruction from some of the foremost musicians of our time including Shmuel Ashkenasi, Nokuthula Ngwenyama, Roger Chase and William Preucil. She has performed chamber recitals throughout the United States and has collaborated with artists such as the Pacifica Quartet, Stefan Hersh, Orion Weiss and the Fifth House Ensemble. As a founding member of The Battery String Quartet, Allegra joined one of only two quartets invited to work closely with composer Joan Tower and the Muir Quartet in the Deer Valley Music Festival’s Emerging Quartets Program. In 2013, Allegra co-founded Duo Sogno with classical guitarist Jack Cimo and performed frequently across the Chicagoland area. Ms. Montanari remains active across the city as a performer with VOX Ensemble, Main Street Opera and other freelance engagements.
Dedicated to sharing her love of the cello, Ms. Montanari maintains an active teaching career. Allegra has studied pedagogy with some of the foremost cello teachers of today including Janos Starker, Emilio Colon, Helga Winold and received Suzuki training from the Suzuki Association of Americas, Chicago Suzuki Institute. In addition, Allegra has performed in master classes for renowned pedagogues such as Richard Aaron, Andres Diaz, Thomas Landschoot, John Sharp and Peter Stumpf. Current teaching engagements include Private Instructor at the Urban Prairie Waldorf School in Chicago and Adjunct Faculty for the Carthage College Music Department in Kenosha, WI.
Lastly, Allegra maintains a strong commitment to helping music serve her community. In 2012, Ms. Montanari created Sharing Notes, a nonprofit organization that engages young professional musicians to share their gifts in uplifting, interactive live performances for Chicago hospitals. Through her vision and initiative, Sharing Notes has grown to provide approximately 3,000 hospital patients and their loved ones each year with the healing power of music. She has created successful partnerships with Chicago healthcare institutions and medical staff that have resulted in over 150 performances for those in need. Committed to empowering young professionals, Allegra also formed unique educational partnerships with the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Negaunee Institute to offer students valuable skills of community engagement and entrepreneurship. Ms. Montanari has been featured on WGN, ABC 7 Chicago and in 2013 received the Friends of La Rabida Award for Community Partnership in honor of outstanding service to the La Rabida Children’s Hospital.
Ms. Montanari graduated from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University with High Distinction and a Business Minor. There, Allegra studied with Professor Emilio Colon and had the opportunity to play several times for Janos Starker. Allegra completed her Masters at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University where she was a student of John Sharp, Principal Cellist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.