Houston-born cellist Erik Wheeler has been a member of the Minnesota Orchestra's cello section since 2019. He began his musical studies with Diane Bonds at the age of five, and subsequently studied with Steve Laven, Lynn Harrell, and Brinton Smith. He earned his undergraduate degree from Rice University, where his principal teacher was Desmond Hoebig, after which he spent a year at the Juilliard School with Richard Aaron. While at Rice, he performed Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations with the Shepherd School Chamber Orchestra as the winner of the school’s concerto competition, and served as principal cellist for the Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra. He has performed chamber music alongside world-renowned artists including Jon Kimura Parker, Philip Setzer, Lawrence Dutton, Timothy Eddy, Kim Kashkashian, Susan Starr and Charles Wetherbee, and has appeared as a soloist with numerous orchestras including the Houston Symphony.