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David Hardy is one of the leading orchestral cellists in the United States. He began studying cello at the age of eight and graduated from the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore in 1980. He had already made his debut with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at the age of 16 and then was a member of that orchestra; in 1979 he entered the Geneva International Cello Competition, winning a certificate.
His teachers at Peabody were Stephen Kates, Bert Senofsky, and Laurence Lesser. After graduation, he applied for the position of Associate Principal Cello of the National Symphony Orchestra, Washington, D.C., and was appointed to it by Mstislav Rostropovich, the star international cellist who was then the music director of the NSO.
He entered the Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow in 1982, winning the Special Prize for Best Performance of the specially commissioned test composition, the Suite for Solo Cello by Victoria Yagling. The Soviet news agency TASS commented on his performance of the Dvorák cello concerto as "beautifully spontaneous" and noted the "varied use of his colorful and powerful sound."
When Leonard Slatkin succeeded Rostropovich as music director of the NSO, he promoted Hardy to the position of Principal Cellist in the orchestra. Hardy has been credited with solo performances on some NSO recordings, including Slatkin's performance of Michael Kamen's New Moon in the Old Moon's Arms on Decca. He has also appeared on the Delos, Melodiya, RCA, and London labels.
Hardy frequently performs solo recitals in the D.C. Area. He is also a founder of the Opus 3 Trio, an ensemble in residence at the Washington Conservatory of Music, and is a member of the 20th Century Consort. He has taught at the Congress of Strings and the Levine School of Music.