Described as creating a “mesmerizing musical experience” by combining his “deep personal connection” (Toronto Live Music Report), “luscious tone and technical prowess”(The Vancouver Sun), Ariel Barnes has been hailed as “truly an inspiring artist…the outstanding Canadian Cellist of his generation” (Maestro Bramwell Tovey). Equally comfortable with Baroque to Modern musical languages, his international concert engagements include concerto appearances, chamber music collaborations, solo recitals and world premiers of contemporary art music. As both a celebrated performer and recording artist, Ariel is often broadcast by CBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio 3, and was selected as one of 6 cellists across Canada as a featured artist in CBC Radio’s Canadian Bach Cello Suite Project. His recordings have garnered two Western Canadian Music Awards, a Juno nomination, and are met with critical acclaim by the press. Ariel’s concerti performances include appearances with the Vancouver Symphony, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Okanagan Symphony, Victoria Symphony, Vancouver Island Symphony, West Coast Symphony, PRISMA Festival Orchestra, Festival de Febrero Chamber Orchestra and The Turning Point Ensemble, including the works of Elgar, Haydn, Tchaikovsky, Bloch (Schelomo), Brahms, Dvorak, Saint-Saens, Owen Underhill, Dorothy Chang and Jocelyn Morlock.  The coming season sees new collaborations with the Nuernberger Symphoniker, Kingston Symphony, McGill Chamber Orchestra and the Knightwind Ensemble, and return engagements with the Turning Point Ensemble, Vancouver Island Symphony, Okanagan Symphony, and the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra with a touring & recording project featuring the concerti of Michael Oesterle and Joseph Haydn. Inspired by the innovative and unique compositional voices of our time, he thrives on creating art music written by contemporaries and contributing to the 21st Century Art Music canon.  Included in over 50 World Premiers he has had 3 concerti written for him and has been involved in commissioning 10 new works in the chamber music literature. He has commissioned and/or recorded and championed works by Jocelyn Morlock, Ana Sokolovic, Glenn Buhr, Andrew Staniland, Brad Turner, Caroline Shaw, James Maxwell, Nico Muhly, Baljinder Sekhon II, Richard Danielpour, John Mackey, Marcus Goddard, Keon Birney, Elizabeth Knudson, Imant Raminsh, Owen Underhill and Dorothy Chang, often working closely with the composers during the various processes of creation. His recent recordings include the concerti of Underhill and Chang (both written for Barnes) Morlock’s Double Cello Concerto “Aeromancy” and the Kammermusik Concerto of Paul Hindemuth. Ariel has received generous project support from the British Columbia Arts Council, Manitoba Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts, most notably as a winner of the 2012 Canada Council Musical Instrument Bank Competition. The breadth of his musical interests have led to collaborations with performing artists such as Patrick Watson, Michael Buble and The Tragically Hip to Baroque specialist Elizabeth Wallfisch and maverick harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani.

With a passion for communication in music making, Ariel finds collaborating in the chamber music genre at the core of his nourishment as an artist. His chamber music partners include the Zodiac Trio, Dover String Quartet, St. Lawrence String Quartet, Musica Intima, Trio Verlaine, members of the Attacka String Quartet, Austrailian String Quartet and Fine Arts Quartet, and many individual artists.  He has thoroughly enjoyed repeat appearances at the Saronic Chamber Music Festival (Greece) Ottawa Chamberfest (Canada), Victoria Summer Music Festival (Canada), The Zodiac Music Festival and Academy (France), and is proud to be a founding member of the Northern Lights Festival de Febrero (Mexico). Along with Harpist Heidi Krutzen, Ariel forms COULOIR, an award winning cello/harp duo dedicated to developing 21st Century Art Music for this colourful and evocative combination of instruments. Upcoming projects for “music’s new rare pair” (The Georgia Straight) include the development of works by composers Jeffrey Ryan and Ana Sokolovic, and two double concerti from James Maxwell w/The Turning Point Ensemble and Kelly Marie-Murphy w/McGill Chamber Orchestra (

As a dedicated teacher Ariel has fostered the talents of many young cellists, aiding them in garnering prizes and recognition at the Bosun Maru (Korea), Johansen (USA), Stulberg (USA) and Sheen (CAN) competitions and helping them continue their studies at some of the World’s finest music schools including the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, Colburn School in Los Angeles, Hans Eisler Hochschule fur Musik in Berlin, the University of Toronto and Schulich School of Music @ McGill University. Ariel’s solo and chamber music recordings can be heard on Ravello Records (PARMA), Atma Classiques and Centrediscs record labels, purchased on iTunes or heard on the Naxos Music Streaming Library.

Nourished by his experience in all major genres of performance and pedagogy, Ariel’s natural musicianship is recognized in his collaboration with musicians throughout the world.

“…played passionately by Ariel Barnes…”

      BBC Music Magazine