Carter Brey was appointed Principal Cello, The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Chair, of the New York Philharmonic in 1996. He made his official subscription debut with the Orchestra in May 1997 performing Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations under the direction of then Music Director Kurt Masur. He has since appeared as soloist almost every season, and was featured during The Bach Variations: A Philharmonic Festival, when he gave two performances of the cycle of all six of Bach’s cello suites. Most recently, he was soloist in four Lincoln Center performances of Haydn's Cello Concerto in C major with Music Director Jaap van Zweden in February 2020.
He rose to international attention in 1981 as a prizewinner in the Rostropovich International Cello Competition. The winner of the Gregor Piatigorsky Memorial Prize, Avery Fisher Career Grant, Young Concert Artists’ Michaels Award, and other honors, he also was the first musician to win the Arts Council of America’s Performing Arts Prize.
Brey has appeared as soloist with many of the major orchestras in the United States. He is a member of the New York Philharmonic String Quartet, established in the 2016/17 season, and has made regular appearances with the Tokyo and Emerson string quartets, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and at festivals such as Spoleto (both in the United States and Italy) and the Santa Fe and La Jolla Chamber Music festivals.
Brey was educated at the Peabody Institute, where he studied with Laurence Lesser and Stephen Kates, and at Yale University, where he studied with Aldo Parisot and was a Wardwell Fellow and a Houpt Scholar. His violoncello is a rare J.B. Guadagnini made in Milan in 1754.