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 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, and 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 Winona 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, released in 2012, is titled “Connections” and is of sonatas for cello and piano written by French composers, with the celebrated pianist Connie Shih. 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.
Winona obtained her Bachelor of Music and Artist Diploma at the University of Indiana, where she studied with Janos Starker. Her other formative teachers were William Findlay, Vladimir Orloff and William Pleeth.
Winona 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. Winona has two talented grown children, James and Kathryn, and her husband Ron Searles is an acclaimed recording engineer.