William H. Cernota


I have been a member of the Lyric Opera Orchestra since 1982. Since 1994 I have been a Chair and member of the Lyric Opera Orchestra Members Committee. From 1982 to 1996 I was a substitute cellist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. While a student of Chicago Symphony Principal Cellist Frank Miller, I was Principal Cellist of the Chicago Civic Orchestra and performed as soloist in Richard Strauss’s Don Quixote and Ernest Bloch’s Schelomo. I have also been Principal Cellist of the Chicago Chamber Orchestra, Concertante di Chicago, Chicago Opera Theater, Peninsula Music Festival, and am currently Principal Cellist of the Southern Illinois Music Festival.

I have performed annual recitals since 2011 on international broadcasts from WFMT Chicago with Lyric Assistant Conductor and Pianist Eric Weimer; and I was a soloist on two European tours of the Chicago Chamber Orchestra. I have appeared in contemporary music concerts and also performed on baroque cello. As part of a Chicago Civic Orchestra tribute, I performed Witold Lutosławski’s works for solo cello at Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center in Chicago with the composer in attendance. With pianist Joy Doran, I issued a CD: On or About December 1910

I am currently a member of the music faculties at Loyola University Chicago and Southern Illinois University Carbondale School of Music and also joined the faculty of OPUS Chamber Music, a youth community outreach program. Following graduation in Ideas & Methods and Biology from the University of Chicago, I served three years in the Peace Corps, Sierra Leone as a biology teacher and band director.