Jean Hatmaker

Jean Hatmaker

About Jean Hatmaker

Jean Hatmaker is the cellist and founding member of the Kontras Quartet, internationally-acclaimed quartet based in Chicago, and current artists-in-residence at Western Michigan University. She holds faculty positions at Elmhurst College, Lake Forest College, and Oak Park String Academy, and is an active member and former president of Chicago Cello Society. She received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in cello performance from Indiana University, where she also studied string instrument making, voice, and began her illustrious (if not particularly swan-like) career as an amateur ballerina.

Épaulement: Cello Playing Through a Dancer’s Lens

Not counting a negligible number of tap classes when I was 5 years old or so, my first real dance classes were at Indiana University, as a sophomore majoring in cello performance. I had long since forgotten my first fumbling steps as a cellist when I was not quite 3, but the struggle of learning a new skill was all too real as I would wiggle into my leotard and tights at 7:30 in the morning to make 8 A.M. beginner ballet class where I would, with my fellow well-intentioned classmates, attempt to contort myself into an elegant swan, but mainly try not to fall down. My teacher was beautiful; everything about her, her hairstyle, her smile, her hands, her long legs, even her voice, was the epitome of grace. [...]