Detroit native Jesse Calcat is a versatile multi-instrumentalist with over 20 years of professional teaching and performance experience across diverse musical settings. Jesse's musical studies began with piano lessons at age four. He studied several woodwind instruments throughout primary and secondary school, and viola and cello in high school. Jesse began his college music studies focusing on both piano and viola performance at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, graduating in 2005. He went on to earn a Post-Graduate Certificate in Orchestral Studies (Viola) from Wayne State University in Detroit in 2009, studying with several members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Further graduate studies in viola continued at the University of Florida, during which time Jesse gave in to an ever-growing calling to the cello, an instrument he had studied sporadically on the side since his teenage years. After an intense two years of cello studies, Jesse was accepted to Bowling Green State University (Ohio) in 2013 on full scholarship, where he was also the cellist for the BGSU Graduate String Quartet. He earned his Master’s of Music in Cello Performance in 2015. Jesse’s performance credits are numerous, having performed in well over two dozen orchestras throughout the Midwest and Southern United States. He has performed in many first violin, second violin, viola, and cello sections as a section player, assistant principal, and principal. He has also performed as a soloist and in chamber music ensembles. As a pianist, Jesse is a versatile and in-demand piano accompanist, having begun professionally accompanying instrumentalists, vocalists, choirs, and ensembles, while still a high school student. He currently is the piano accompanist for Suzuki Music School of Lincoln Park.
Jesse developed a passion for the study of historically informed performance, taking private viola da gamba and baroque cello lessons while an undergraduate, and attended the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute in 2005. He has also studied and performed many types of music outside of Western classical music and had strongly considered a career as an ethnomusicologist. As a teenager, he fell in love with traditional East and Southeast Asian music, having taught himself the Chinese erhu and guzheng, initially using instruments he built himself. While an undergraduate, he studied Caribbean and African traditional music and instruments, and was a member of Bowling Green State University’s Balinese gamelan. Jesse has also been passionate about traditional Scottish, Irish, and Welsh music since childhood; he has performed on guitar, fiddle, viola, Celtic harp, guitar, vocals, and accordion in two Celtic bands, one of which he founded.
As a teacher, Jesse has been actively teaching private piano, violin, viola, and cello lessons since 2002, having taught both from his home, as well as in various music studios. He has taught students from the ages of 4 to 74, and focuses on using a custom-tailored approach to each student, based on their strengths, goals, musical and personal backgrounds.
Outside of teaching private lessons, Jesse works during the week as a bookkeeper and sales assistant at a violin shop, and as a cello coach for the orchestra program at a suburban high school. On the weekends, he functions as church organist and music director. He has also completed a year of the Chicago School of Violin Making’s instrument making and repair courses and plans to embark on a career as a luthier upon the completion of his studies.