Isabel Castellvi is dually based in New York City and Durham, NC. She is a cellist, vocalist, composer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. As a versatile musician she performs and composes a broad range of music from western classical, folk, indie rock, Indian classical music, electro-acoustic, modern jazz, music for dance, experimental performance art and free improvisation.
Collaborative creation is an integral part of her work, and has led to various projects with musicians, composers, choreographers, visual and performance artists. Current ensembles and collaborations include Alula, The Bell Cycle, Diane Cluck, Mark Kozelek (Sun Kil Moon), Rima Fand, Shamash, Marc Farre, Brooke Reynolds and Sonya Kitchell. As a songwriter she performs under the name, Masu.
Gratefully Isabel share’s music with audiences all over the world. She has performed, recorded and taught throughout North America, Europe, Asia, South America and the Middle East with various artists including Diane Cluck, CocoRosie, Alula, The Bell Cycle, Manu Delago, Mivos Quartet, J.G. Thirlwell, Rima Fand, Ned Rothenberg, Sasha Siem, Tori Ensemble, CelloVox, Copal, Mark Kozelek, Timucin Sahin, Katie Mullins, Marc Farre, Labyrinth Dance, Parul Shah Dance, Beth Nielsen Chapman, ThingNY and more. She was a founding member of the Mivos Quartet, an acclaimed contemporary string quartet, with whom she spent four years performing, touring and teaching internationally. In the genre of contemporary classical music she has collaborated with many composers developing and performing new works and premiering hundreds of compositions.
Alongside an active performance career Isabel is passionate about teaching music and improvisation to all ages both privately and in various institutions and universities. She also leads workshops on Nada Yoga and Sound healing in various yoga studios and most recently at The Omega Institute. She has been a disciple of vocalist, Rajyasree Ghosh (Kolkata, India) since 2010. Her ongoing studies of North Indian classical vocal music have and continue to make a deep impression on her musical voice.
Isabel received a Master's Degree in Contemporary Music Performance from The Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with renowned cellist, Fred Sherry. She earned her Bachelor Degree in Music Performance from DePaul University, where she studied with Katinka Kleijn and Steve Balderston. Previous teachers include Fred Zlotkin (NYC Ballet), Danny Morganstern (Lyric Opera, Chicago) and Myriam Santucci (National Symphony, Argentina).
She has done artists residencies at The Omega Institute (2014), in Rhinebeck, NY and Edenfred (2009) in Madison, WI. She continues to cherish these focused times of creative work. Each summer she takes time on a retreat to compose, record and practice and when possible spends the winters in India with her Guru studying Raga.
As a recording artist she has recorded on dozens of albums ranging from pop, rock, contemporary classical, jazz, folk, children’s music to world music. Her recordings include Tzadik releases with Ned Rothenberg and Mivos Quartet as well as George Lewis’s Hello Mary Lou; Carrier Records with Wet Ink Ensemble; Mivos Quartet (Mivos Plays Mivos, Extremes, and with composers Jarrett Cherner, Luke Dubois, Patrick Higgens, Mikael Karlsson, Andrew McKenna Lee, Sam Pluta, Sasha Siem, Boris Slasky, Jay Vilnai, Timucin Sahin, Bojan Vuletic, etc.); Argento Ensemble’s Haas: In Vain; ThingNY’s self-released album of their opera ADDDDDDDDD; and with bands The Bell Cycle, Diane Cluck (Important Records), CocoRosie, Falu, Sonya Kitchell, Gelsey Bell, Echo Bloom, Daniel Blake, Beth Nielson Chapman, Copal, Gomez(Ato Records), Gorguts, Hope Harris, Shy Kedmi, Danielle Parente, Elena Moon Park, Adam Randolph’s Go Organic Orchestra, Triple Cobra, Shamash, PAWS (Fatcat Records), etc.; as well as on film and television scores with Sean Ferguson, Charles Stenton Inc., BBC Television, and J.G. Thirwell.
Past ensembles and performances in classical music include Mivos Quartet, dal niente, Wet Ink Ensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble, Accende Ensemble, Ensemble Pi and Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas. She has also participated in the St. Lawrence String Quartet Chamber Music Seminar at Stanford University, All Tomorrows Parties, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Symphony Orchestra Academy of the Pacific in British Columbia, Las Vegas Music Festival and Hell Hot Music Festival in Hong Kong.