At age 27, John Sharp became one of the youngest principal players in the history of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. A top prize winner of the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, he has appeared as soloist with the Chicago Symphony in performances of the Britten Symphony for Cello and Orchestra with Mstislav Rostropovich conducting, the Beethoven Triple Concerto with Itzhak Perlman and Daniel Barenboim, and in concertos conducted by Sir Georg Solti, Pierre Boulez, Bernard Haitink, Lorin Maazel, Charles Dutoit, and Michael Tilson Thomas. Most recently he was featured as soloist with the Chicago Symphony in the Elgar Cello Concerto conducted by Riccardo Muti. Sharp performed in the Chicago premiers of Penderecki's Concerto Grosso for Three Cellos and Boulez' Messagesquisse, and is the featured soloist on a Chicago Symphony recording of Strauss' Don Quixote with Daniel Barenboim conducting.
An active chamber musician, John Sharp has participated at the festivals of Marlboro, Santa Fe, Vail, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He has recorded Tchaikovsky's "Souvenir de Florence" with the Vermeer Quartet, and has performed in chamber music concerts with Mitsuko Uchida, Pinchas Zukerman, Yo-Yo Ma, Emmanuel Ax, and Christoph Eschenbach.
Born in Texas, John Sharp studied the cello with Lev Aronson and later with Lynn Harrell at the Juilliard School where he earned a bachelor's and a master's degree. Prior to his appointment in Chicago, he was a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and later served as principal cello of the Cincinnati Symphony. He has given master classes throughout the United States and in Europe, and has coached at the New World Symphony, the National Orchestral Association, the National Youth Orchestra of the USA, and the Chicago Civic Orchestra. Currently he is a professor of cello at Roosevelt University.
John Sharp plays a rare cello made by Joseph Guarnerius in 1694.
John Sharp last performed for La Jolla Music Society in SummerFest 2015.