Shannon Hayden


As you are here reading this, you know already the deep and very personal meaning music can have. It is something we all enjoy and can be free to draw upon throughout our lives. At an early age I wanted to further my own experience and began studying music choosing the cello and later guitar. I was lucky and found technical challenges fairly easily overcome so it wasn’t a burden to develop a means for expression. Early success in competitions, though not wholly fulfilling in itself, resulted in working with great players like Janos Starker and, after high school, I started a graduate course of study with Aldo Parisot at Yale.

Focusing on modern works yielded new ideas. With a little technique and a mindset towards stripping away any excess baggage, an instrument and it’s player will make good travelling companions down new paths. Always together. Such travel makes you hungry for more, however, and I had an appetite for what microphones and pickups could do for my old acoustic instrument. I found the electrified cello equal to the guitar at providing new sounds along with new experimental opportunities and even surpassing it in many ways. Gear developed for the guitar made it’s way over to the cello to be revised and adapted only to make it’s way back to the guitar again, but with new purpose. I now play utilizing computers, loop machines, found sounds, and various percussive techniques to produce what you hear and hopefully feel. I do all recording myself at our farm using solar and wind power, though live shows are how music is meant to be heard and is my primary focus.


“Still in her early 20s, this classical cello/guitar virtuoso composes and performs a visionary fusion of classical and electronic that is stunning and mind-expanding. Shannon records off-the-grid with wind and solar power at her family’s organic farm in central Illinois. If you get a chance to see her live, go!”

Jim Manion, WFHB Radio Music Director


From a performance of David Lang’s “Pierced” at Yale University Sprague Hall 

“…but the star turn was Shannon Hayden’s spectacular cello playing in David Lang’s punishingly intense Pierced for three soloists plus strings, offering the piece all the style and brawn it deserves.” 

-David Stephen Johnson of the New Haven Advocate

“Shannon Hayden, 22 years old, is an extremely talented cellist, guitarist, songwriter and vocalist. She combines both classical and electronic cello into one uniquely organic and smooth sound. She started playing the cello at the age of seven and has not stopped since. Shannon’s unique and hauntingly beautiful sound comes from her recording studio in Martinsville, IL which dually functions as a family owned, self-sustaining organic farm.”

Nossa Magazine


She can do anything with the cello, but what will it be?”

– Janos Starker 

WFHB Radio Interview – click to stream or download

From a performance at Observatory Studios in Chicago

“…She had a cello, a guitar, some pedals, a bell and her voice and she used them all to make such full, elaborate music. And while most of us would look at the difficulties in being a one-man band, Shannon used that as an opportunity to be original.”

– F-Stop Poetry