Winona Zelenka is one of Canada’s finest cellists on the scene today. As a soloist, she has performed concerti with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Mississauga Symphony and the Toronto Philharmonia Orchestra among many others. She is a dedicated recitalist and chamber musician, regularly performing in every Toronto music series of note as well as in the Ottawa Chamberfest. She is also a proponent of new music, having performed several world premieres of works written for her by Canadian composers. In 2006, she formed Trio Arkel with violinist Marie Berard and violist Teng Li. Since 2013, they have been running the concert series Trio Arkel Presents, featuring both well-known and contemporary chamber music works.
In June of 2010 Zelenka released her first CD set of the Bach Suites for solo cello, a recording on Marquis Classics. It has received international acclaim, and in 2011 was nominated for a JUNO award in the category of solo/chamber music CD. Her second recording, with celebrated pianist Connie Shih, was released in 2012, and is titled “Connections”, containing sonatas for cello and piano written by French composers. Her films with Moving Head Productions include interviews for BOLD TV and a complete performance of the Cassado Suite for solo cello, viewed by many thousands on YouTube.
Zelenka obtained her Bachelor of Music and Artist Diploma at Indiana University, where she studied with Janos Starker. Her other formative teachers were William Findlay, Vladimir Orloff and William Pleeth.
Zelenka has won orchestral positions in England, Canada and the United States. Her professional career has included two seasons of acting principal cellist of the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra, and five seasons as acting principal cellist of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, of which she has been a member since 2001. She has two talented grown children, James and Kathryn, and her husband Ron Searles is an acclaimed recording engineer.