JChas Helge began his cellistic career in kindergarten in a Suzuki Strings program in Wayzata, Minnesota. After moving to Michigan, he became a student of Jean Coonrod and then of Crispin Campbell, cello instructor of the Interlochen Arts Academy. Chas found early success serving as three-time Principal Cellist of the Michigan All-State Orchestra in 2006, 2008, 2009, the Assistant Principal in 2007, and the Assistant Principal of the Michigan Youth Arts Festival Orchestra 2009. He would go on to earn his Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance from Indiana University studying under Professor Emilio Colón. In 2015, he earned his Master of Music in Cello Performance from Western Michigan University and served as the Graduate Assistant to Professor Bruce Uchimura. Chas is currently earning his Doctor of Musical Arts in Cello Performance with Dr. Jonathan Ruck of the University of Oklahoma where he assists Dr. Sanna Pederson and Dr. Michael Lee in the musicology department as their teaching assistant.
As a performer, Chas has been a featured soloist and chamber musician in the orchestral and chamber settings, having played alongside faculty of the Interlochen Arts Academy and Western Michigan School of Music. Serving as Principal Cellist of the WMU University Symphony Orchestra has given him a wide range of formative experience. Whether he is soloing over full orchestra and chorus during Richard Danielpour’s An American Requiem, serving as a core member of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Residency, or playing under Maestro Leonard Slatkin on the 2014 USO tour, Chas is in his element in a variety of contexts. His versatility has lead him to engage with performing artists ranging from Son Lux to John Sharp of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Beyond the realm of orchestra setting, Chas has experience in both early music and contemporary composition. Chas was an Associate Principal of the Indiana University Baroque/Classical Orchestra and worked with Stanley Ritchie, Michael McCraw, and Nigel North. At WMU, Chas was, the cellist in WMU's New Music Ensemble Birds on a Wire (conducted by Dr. David Colson) and has performed, premiered, and recorded works of living composers. His work ranges from playing concerts for Society of Composers Inc. to recording Paul Lansky’s Contemplating Weather for Bridge Records.
Chas’ teaching career is as multifaceted as his performing career. In 2011, Chas began working with The Fairview Violin Project, an elementary strings program directed by Dr. Brenda Brenner that provides free violin lessons to students at Fairview Elementary in Bloomington, Indiana. During his senior year, Chas' involvement with Jacobs School of Music’s String Academy further developed his pedagogical skills under the supervision of renowned pedagogue Mimi Zweig. He has served as a counselor for Summer String Academy and as an assistant instructor of cello under the supervision of IU String Academy cello faculty Helen Ford.
In the summer 2013, Chas was selected as an Apprentice Artist for St. Olaf’s Cello: An American Experience and worked as an instructor, chamber coach, and mentor. That fall, he gained experience working as the lead cello instructor for the Kalamazoo Symphony’s Kalamazoo Kids in Tune after-school El-Sistema program. Summer 2015 marked a new experience as he served as an assistant at the Interlochen Cello Institute with Crispin Campbell of the Interlochen Center for the Arts, Dr. John Marshall of The University of East Washington Spokane, and Astrid Schween of the Julliard String Quartet.
Chas is a Certified Suzuki Instructor (supervised by Grace Field of the Kalamazoo Suzuki Academy) and is a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas. He maintains a cello and violin studio at The Norman School for Strings.
If you are interested in a musical engagement for a performance, event, or artistic collaboration, please contact Chas as firstname.lastname@example.org.