A native of Boise, Idaho, Jake Saunders holds a MM in music performance from Boise State University and a BM in cello performance from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theater and Dance, where he studied with Richard Aaron. In September 2016, Saunders was appointed principal cellist of Symphony Tacoma. Additionally, he regularly serves as principal cellist with the Opera Idaho. Until May 2014, Saunders performed with the Boise Philharmonic and as an inaugural member of the Boise State Graduate String Quartet Fellowship (Ezra Quartet). In 2014, Saunders created 208 ensemble with composer David Biedenbender. 208 ensemble is the first professional ensemble in Boise dedicated to the advocacy and performance of music written by living composers. Saunders currently serves as the ensemble’s cellist, manager, and concert curator. 208 ensemble’s 2016-17 concert season was generously supported by the Boise City Department of Arts and History. In 2012 Saunders created Boise Cello Collective, a collaborative project among some of Idaho’s preeminent cellists that specializes in the performance of classical, contemporary, and popular music in nontraditional venues. Saunders serves as the group’s manager, arranger, and principal cellist. Boise Cello Collective has presented two world premieres, including a quintet for piano and four cellos by Idahoan composer Dave Earnest in January 2014 and “eMerging” by Evan Ware in November 2014.
Saunders has attended music festivals in the United States and abroad, including the Music Academy of the West, the Castleman Quartet Programs, the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the Astona International Festival (CH), and the International Music Academy at Pilsen (CZ). Former chamber music mentors include members of the Cleveland, Takacs, Cavani, Zemlinksy, Fry Street, and Ying Quartets, as well as Charles Castleman, Laura Bossert, and Terry King.