top of page

The Kaboff Cello School, Bow Lightlys

The Kaboff Cello School, Bow Lightlys 🇺🇸 USA


John Kaboff, B.M., M.M., studied with Janos Starker at Indiana University as well as Jacqueline DuPre’s teacher, William Pleeth, at the Holland Music Sessions in the Netherlands and at the Britten-Pears Summer School in England. In addition to serving as Mr. Pleeth’s teaching assistant, he studied at the International Academy of Chamber Music in Kronberg, Germany, with Arto Noras. A resident of the Washington since 1995, D.C., Mr. Kaboff has performed as recital and concerto soloist locally at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The United States Department of State, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, The Embassies of Germany, France and New Zealand, The Church of the Epiphany, Dumbarton House and has been a repeat concerto soloist with the JCC Symphony Orchestra and the Landon Symphonette.

He has performed with the Manhattan Symphonie in Carnegie Hall and his concert appearance at Strathmore Hall, in North Bethesda, MD, was acclaimed by The Montgomery County Sentinel as, ”beguilingly lyrical” and in “top form”. Internationally, he has performed as recital soloist in the Kleinezaal of the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, The Cologne Museum of Modern Art, Frankfurt Museum of Contemporary Art, The Adelaide Towne Hall and various venues throughout Italy. Mr. Kaboff is a highly successful private teacher of pre-college age students who frequently garner prizes in local and regional cello competitions. Most recently, his students took top prizes in all levels of the 2016 Washington Performing Arts Society competition. In 2015 two students were prizewinners at the American Protégé Competition, resulting in Carnegie Hall, Weil Recital Hall debut recitals. In 2015 and 2016, his students have been featured in the Classical Spotlight Showcase for Maryland Public Television.

His former students matriculate from highly competitive music schools such as the Curtis Institute, Indiana University, the University of Michigan, the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Mannes College of Music with substantial merit scholarship.

They have held positions in the Baltimore Symphony, Austin Symphony, Aspen Music Festival, Castleton Music Festival and other European orchestras.

His students, known as the Bow Lightlys, were featured guest artists at the World Cello Congress III (2000), where they were featured in an internationally broadcast cello ensemble workshop with world famous cellist, Yo-Yo Ma which then resulted in a cello choir concert at the Sixth American Cello Congress (2001) as part or Mr. Kaboff’s appearance as a guest lecturer.

They performed at the 2014 Tennessee Cello Workshop. The Bow Lightlys have been featured in concert on live radio broadcast in Washington, DC. They have also performed cello ensemble concerts at the Embassy of France, Almas Shriner’s Temple as well as many local religious centers.

They often perform at charity events for the American Diabetes Association. As a way to share their musical expression, the Bow Lightlys also perform at senior living centers as to bring music to the homes of those who might not be able to enjoy otherwise.

Mr. Kaboff has adjudicated preliminary competition rounds at the 2000 Third World Cello Congress’s Master Class Competition, 2006 Johansen International String Competition and the 2009 & 2012 Washington International Competition for Strings. He was the Chairman of the 2022 Washington International Competition held at the John K. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

He succeeded in fundraising substantial prize money from various private donors and philanthropic organizations such as the Maryland Lyric Opera.

In addition to financial contributions, Mr. Kaboff arranged for the loan of fine instruments from Christophe Landon Rare Violins and the Brobst Violin Shop for the winners of the 2022 Washington International Competition for Strings.

As a frequent guest lecturer, he has conducted master classes and performed at the Flinders Street Conservatorium in Adelaide, Australia, Purcell School of Music in London, England, Indiana University Summer String Program, Michigan State University, Longy School of Music in Boston, The Music Academy of North Carolina and the Universities of Tennessee and Rhode Island.

He was in artist in residence in 2011 at Appalachian State University and was a featured artist at the 2010 Tennessee Cello Workshop.

Mr. Kaboff has earned Suzuki certification through level 10 and was invited by the Suzuki Association of Australia to conduct workshops, master classes and solo recitals in Melbourne and Adelaide, Australia.

He has received accolades for his teaching by numerous world-class cellists such as Yo-Yo Ma and Janos Starker and has been the feature of numerous articles in such publications as the Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Jewish Weekly, The Vienna (VA) Connection and The Montgomery Journal.

Yo-Yo Ma, also notes him in a biography about him entitled, “Musicians with a Mission”, as being a superb teacher of young children.

bottom of page