fb-pixel Skip to main content

BSO taps one of its own as next principal cellist 

Blaise Déjardin succeeds the late Jules Eskin as principal cellist.Marco Borggreve

The French cellist Blaise Déjardin, currently a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s cello section, has been named its next principal cellist. Déjardin, 33, becomes the 14th cellist to hold this principal position in the orchestra’s history. He succeeds cello legend Jules Eskin, who held the position for 52 years until his death in 2016.

“It’s a huge honor, to get the job period, and to succeed Jules Eskin,” Déjardin told the Globe by phone on Monday. “For me, the most overwhelming thing about winning the job was not just that the committee chose me as a musician, but that they know me personally, and that I was respected enough by my peers. That personal aspect meant a lot to me.”


According to the BSO, Déjardin was chosen from an initial pool of around 200 applicants. Among the audition committee were BSO cello section players who were not themselves auditioning for the position, other BSO principals from across the orchestra, and music director Andris Nelsons.  

A native of Strasbourg, Déjardin joined the BSO in 2008. Prior to that, he was a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra and the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester as well as a founding member of the Boston-based conductorless chamber orchestra A Far Cry. In 2010, along with three other BSO section players, he cofounded the Boston Cello Quartet.

Déjardin’s start date as principal has not yet been announced, but according to an orchestra spokesperson, it will likely be this summer at Tanglewood. This type of position includes a one-year probationary period. The appointment also means that Déjardin will join the Boston Symphony Chamber Players.

“It will soon be 10 years that I’ve played in the orchestra,” Déjardin said. “I’ve looked up to all of the other principals and listened carefully to how they are playing. Each principal brings such a wonderful personality and sound and quality — that’s always been inspiring to me as a section player, even without knowing I’d ever get this job. It pushed me to keep improving and to just enjoy the music.”


Jeremy Eichler can be reached at jeichler@globe.com and on Twitter @Jeremy_Eichler.

An earlier version misstated Déjardin’s age.