Jon Silpayamanant is a cellist, composer and multi-instrumentalist based in the greater Louisville metropolitan area. Born in Udon Thani, Thailand and a citizen of Thailand, he began playing the cello at the age of six after playing the violin for nearly a year. He has toured or performed as a soloist and with ensembles throughout the US, Canada, Great Britain and Wales.
An extremely versatile performer, Silpayamanant has worked, or currently works with numerous ensembles including the IUS Chamber Orchestra, DePauw Contemporary Music Ensemble, T.E.C. (Turntables, Electronics, and Cello), the Terre Haute Symphony and Ahel El Nagam (classical Arabic ensemble). He is one of the founding members of il Troubadore, a world music ensemble based in Indianapolis, which gives regular performances throughout the Midwest and he tours regularly with the Cherokee Cowboys, the back-up Country/Western Swing band of multi-Grammy Award winner and Country Music Hall of Fame inductee, Ray Price. His most recent ensembles, the duet Raks Makam and Secondhand, focuses on music and dance of Central Asia with dancer, Jessica Harrison (for the former) and Vintage Goth music an dance with dancer, Isabelle Murray. In the fall of 2010, Jon joined the Balkan band, Kermes (based in Bloomington, Indiana) and started playing with the River City Klezmer Band based in Louisville, Kentucky.
As a four year recipient of the DePauw Performance Merit Scholarship, Silpayamanant completed a Bachelors of Music in Cello performance at DePauw University School of Music (DPU) in May 1996, where he was a two time winner of the Concerto Competition. As a student he acted on numerous occasions as principal cellist of the Chamber, Opera and Symphony Orchestras. Silpayamanant has also attended numerous chamber festivals including the IU String Academy, Point Counterpoint, and the Kentuckiana Summer Music Institute. As a World Music performer Silpayamanant has appeared with Badal Roy and his World Jazz Combo, Carmine Guida, Kevin Hartnell, George Wakim and Firas Madbak, Raquy Danziger, Keni Washington and his OMniverse World Jazz Sinfonia. He has given and taken many workshops and private lessons on improvisation techniques and world music styles including Arabic Taqasim, Indian Hindustani music, West African drumming and dance, and Brazilian Capoeira.
Jon Silpayamanant offers private instruction to students of any level as well instruction for beginners and intermediates in a variety of non-Western musical styles. As an instructor for Gymboree Play and Music, he taught music classes to toddlers and pre-schoolers both in-store and through programs with pre-schools. Silpayamanant is also a cello coach to local school ensembles including the Floyd County Youth Symphony and the Floyd Central High School Orchestra. In 1993-1994 he was the assistant to Eric Edberg at DePauw University School of Music, giving lessons to majors in cello and also taught as a guest and substitute instructor for the Music Theory, Wagner Topics course, and 20th Century Music literature course. Jon is currently adjunct professor of cello at IU Southeast and also teaches cello for the IU Southeast Arts Institute though he still maintains an active performing schedule.
Silpayamanant’s cello teachers and chamber music coaches have included Eric Edberg, Rostislav Dubinsky, Lawrence Zoernig, Claude Cymermann, Julia Preston, Susanna Onwood, Megumi Ohkubo, Deborah Caruso and Nancy Snustad. He has performed in masterclasses for Janos Starker, Eleanore Shoenfeld, Steven Kates, Fritz Maag, Owen Carmen, the Borromeo String Quartet, Gary Karr, Janet Anthony, the American String Quartet, and Stephen Schumway.
Silpayamanant also plays Arabic percussion (Egyptian tabla, riq and daf), Thai Saw U and Saw Duang, the Chinese erhu, Uzbek doira, and sings in over a dozen languages regularly with il Troubadore.