Message from the Editor
Coincidentally, two noted music authors are currently writing books about stage fright, and, coincidentally again, both contacted me for feedback on their ideas. The funny thing is that I struggle with stage fright, so I felt a bit uncomfortable giving them my thoughts. I have, of course, read tons of books on the subject, Barry Green's The Inner Game of Music, Kato Havas' Stage Fright, and on and on. Reading a book is easy, it's applying the principles that they contain that's not so easy.
I have my own half-baked ideas on stage fright, which originate from my exploration of psychotherapy. From what I can discern, stage fright is often a symptom of low self-esteem. Playing in front of people taps into our mistaken core beliefs about ourselves, which have been pounded into us since childhood (i.e. "If I make a mistake, I am bad," or "If I make a mistake, I am not worthy," or "I don't deserve to be seen," and so on). Look at the following paraphrased story about Piatigorsky, for example:
Now, if Piatigorsky doesn't sound like he has a self-esteem issue, I don't know who does! My notion is that we need to learn how to counteract these core self-esteem issues with positive inner messages à la Barry Green's book. Well … I'm still working on this part.
While pondering these somewhat lofty ideas, I was recently brought down to earth with the reality that I had a concert coming up. As usual, my insides got tighter and tighter as the concert approached. The day of the concert, I did everything I could to center myself, breathing deeply, and so on, which sort of worked but not really. My stomach could have doubled as a timpani that morning!
The concert started at 2pm. As I walked out on stage, something wonderful happened, which caught me completely by surprise. I caught my mom's eye and she started to giggle. Here I am putting "it" on the line, and she's laughing! How dare she! Then, out of nowhere, a sense of calm washed over me. All of a sudden I realized, in the grand scheme of things, how unimportant this concert was. Yes, I wanted to play well, but it didn't matter if I did or didn't, except for the possibility of a bruised ego. Then I started to secretly giggle with her. As if by magic, most of my stress had disappeared and I then proceeded to play in one of the best concerts of my life! What a wonderful feeling!
The moral of the story for me is, "For crying out loud, lighten up!" Maybe next time I'll have somebody tickle me in the Green Room before a concert or I'll put on a Marx Brothers video. Or maybe I'll watch a documentary about our disappearing rain forests or live through a 6.8 earthquake ... anything to gain the proper perspective. I guess I'll worry about what I'll do when the next concert comes.
I suppose I should get back to my half-baked theories about low self-esteem. Well, maybe not just yet. I'm still basking.
p.s. Thanks, Mom.
>> Thank you for your informative and absorbing newsletter 'Tutti Celli' ... brilliant!
One writer asks sensibly,"At what age should a child start to learn the cello?" At the other end of the scale I refrain from asking, "Is 77 too old?" Foolhardy or not I have started and so require no answer.
It all began when local inquiries for a cellist to pose for a painting failed to produce a stampede or even one reply. So as art is long and life is short I thought, "Buy a cello and see if it attracts a model." Also as a bonus I could learn to play it myself. The problem with the bonus part is that I shall have to dispense with the wisdom of a teacher. Life is rife with lone parenting, the domestic scene, painting, carving, writing and protest marching to Trafalgar Square.
On the plus side, drifting back in time, my musician (pianist) father gave me a good ear but failed to teach me the piano, my friends yes, me no. His solution was to give me a violin and pack me off to an unsuspecting lady teacher. With knees jutting out of short trousers I endured blushing agony in an adult quartet. In those days one did as one was told but I was saving up for my dream, a clarinet.
So, now I have a cello which resonates through my very being and, yes, I can detect a small flowering of tone and bravura even at this early stage, but my situation does not permit me to wander off regularly to a tutor. The proprietor of the music shop searched fruitlessly through his stock for a DIY book but finally found one entitled, "Dr. Downing's Cello Technique Doctor." It is only 15 x 10cms. but it is big on information. The author is Sylvia Mann formerly principal cellist of the BBC Radio Orchestra and an ex-student of the Royal Academy of Music. This saved me and put me on the right road but as it is not a 'first-steps-tutor' with exercises I should be grateful if an expert would stop muttering and raiding hands in horror and recommend me a suitable beginner's book.
That apart I have a problem. My legs do not seem to fit or ride the cello correctly. In the book the lady and cello sit perfectly together, pin at correct height, pegs near left ear etc. My legs and I are average, not deformed (height 170cms and inside leg 80cms.) The height of chair etc. is adjusted but the sharp edge of scalloped out part opposite base of 'f' hole digs into my left inside knee. In the picture it also appears to drill into the lady's inside knee but she smiles bravely or is on pain killers.
Does anyone have a sensible answer? I'll do the comedy. Best wishes, Bernard Cotes
>> I am trying to find a (replacement) copy of the poster "The 'Cellist" by Clyde Corrello, Ann Arbor Instrument Maker. The poster also has printed at the bottom "Howard Bond 1974, Published by MHC Associates."
I had a copy that somewhere through a couple of moves seems to have completely disappeared. I would very much appreciate any leads that any ICS members might be able to suggest for re-obtaining this interesting cello poster.
>> Editor's Note: The following letter was intentionally not "cleaned up" for publication. Some letters have more impact in their original form:
Hello My name is Charlene.
I feel a little foolish, I hope I have found someone that can help me. I am a single Mom and love music, and always encourage my children to play and enjoy every thing about it, I feel it is a window to the soul.
I have to sell my house and move to a much smaller place. I have to sell are family Piano (player with rolls). What I feel I need to do for my self is play Cello. I hope that do's not sound to wearied, but it is like when I here it, its as if heaven, God himself sends the music doun from his ears to are's and puts his arms around me. To me there is no other music like it on earth. So I would like to get a cello. Can you tell me how to go about buying a used one? I feel I have to do this for myself no matter how impassable it may be.
Thank you so much Charlene I am in Calif. in Torrance.
>> "Notes for Cellists with Pets" or NCPdot oh never mind.
Recently I announced in a letter to Tutti Celli that my son has a gerbil who chides me for my near zero performance on the cello, but offers advice. Obviously this is not verbal but in sign or body language. It can be confusing even to me and I must warn over-eager members not to rush off to buy gerbils willy-nilly. I have enough responsibilities.
A feeling prevails that my son's gerbil 'Sam' is a one-off. Unlike me, he is untaught in everything. No! He does not play the cello, how ludicrous, he is merely a useful critic.
At the risk of appearing boorish I must issue a warning. Sam is untrained and it is obvious from his dimensions that his brain is pea-sized and, I repeat, he does not play the cello. Despite that, his action method of communication is highly honed. If you buy a gerbil after reading this and find that he or she does not perform like a musical barometer please do not bother to sue. You may be lucky!
Anyway this experience made me wonder, "Are other pets so gifted?" Don't all rush in. The question is rhetorical. Someone said, "Dogs are man's best friend!" Yes, well assuming that your dog doesn't howl every time you lift the bow (some do), he could become a music lover with training but only in a limited sense.
Like normal people, cellist pet owners will vie with each other to prove any vestige of musical appreciation shown by their pets and the quiet attentive suffering/sorry/pleasure they incur during their owner's cello practice. I had to ask once, "What is that howling noise from the kitchen?"
Many will vow that they have highly trained musical pets who lie quietly at their owner's feet during practice. Perhaps he or she can honestly say, "He simply adores music!" hurriedly kicking a chewed-up score under the sofa. So how do owners assess their pet's degree of musical understanding? "Oh goodness-me! Every time I play that scherzo he rolls on his back and wants his tummy tickled!" One hasn't the heart to point out, "That's what they call 'Playing dead.' Other dogs sleep through it all while some run in carrying their lead, bowl, bone, dead rat and so on.
Cellists are called upon to answer many questions regarding pets but without enquiry we are offered, "Oh... when my Gypsy listens to me playing the ... her eyes go all misty and she sits so still and attentive that I think... " "How wonderful!" ad inf. But what affect does a practice session have on a pet? Might not the highly strung (no pun intended), over-sensitive or weak-minded become unhinged by the repetition of the same mistake time after time?
Can your pet, if you have one, tell the difference between harmony, a composer's intended dissonance or an accidental 'cock-up'? Watch dog's ears, eyes, tail; your cat's upright tail and stilted walk as it leaves the room, or your bird in cage with head under wing or worse fallen off perch. You can test them with different mood pieces but don't be deceived by reproachful Spaniel eyes.
Lighten-up, let's not get too scientific about it, but for example, does 'Dog A lie down and listen, obviously enthralled or Dog B slink away or go berserk?' Musical input affects animals in different ways. As a tender lad of eleven, if you can imagine, I stood alone with my violin practicing 'Moto Perpetuo' (I think it was) when Fluffy our beautiful wonder dog pushed open the door and trotted purposefully towards me. She then stood on her hind legs, clutched my lower leg with her forelegs and tried to ravish me! I was quite shattered but later wondered if it was my playing that had sparked off this assault.
Hurriedly leaving this scene I ask, gerbils aside for a moment, "Assuming that your rendering of a piece is constant, would it have the same effect on different animals?" (Don't bother it is only diversionary to hurry us away from that assault.) Obviously the pitch of certain notes hits us in the solar plexus. What research has been done about the effect on our pets? Are high notes appreciated more by your bird or by that hairy creature sulking over there... Ah! Sorry it's a rug!
On a postcard please: If you had to say what you consider to be your pet's favorite piece of music or it's most disliked, what would be your answer?
Please state pet's name, age, breed (if any), sex, (no goldfish please) and 'Do you consider your pet to be musically gifted? What is his/her favorite piece of music? The most hated piece? Is there no reaction to any? Is your pet tone deaf?
NOTE: Einstein maintained (apart from his theory) that there is no such thing as tone deafness. He proved it at a musical soiree, to a journalist who, when asked how he had enjoyed the performance, admitted that he was tone deaf.
Somebody asked me, "What about elephants?" Well we don't allow them in the house. We cannot stand their trumpeting. Please refer to brass section.
Fruitful playing, Bernard Cotes
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by Tim Janof
As a chamber musician Laurence Lesser has participated at the Casals, Marlboro, Spoleto, and Santa Fe festivals; in the last decade he has been a regular contributor to the artistic life of the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada.
Mr. Lesser attended Harvard where he studied mathematics and graduated with honors. Upon his return to music he was greeted by Pablo Casals at the Zermatt Master Classes with the words, "Thank God, who has given you such talent!" At the end of a Fulbright year studying music in Germany, he won first prize in the Cassadó Competition in Siena, Italy. His New York debut recital in 1969 was greeted as "triumphant."
In a life filled with successful concerts, Mr. Lesser has always been passionate about teaching. He came to the New England Conservatory in 1974 as a member of the faculty after being a teaching assistant of Gregor Piatigorsky at the University of Southern California and spending four years at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore. He currently teaches an international class of highly gifted cellists at NEC, and was the subject of the cover story in the July/August 1997 issue of "Strings" magazine.
Mr. Lesser plays a 1622 cello made by the brothers Amati in Cremona, Italy. He has recorded on the RCA, Columbia, Melodyia and CRI labels.
TJ: When did you start playing the cello?
LL: In 1944, I received a cello for my sixth birthday in my hometown of Los Angeles. Los Angeles was a remarkable place at that time, musically speaking, because it was the home of the Hollywood motion picture industry. Every studio had a full-time, full-sized contract symphony orchestra, and many of the musicians were wonderfully trained Europeans who had come to the United States because of the Holocaust. Since their studio jobs weren't that demanding or artistically satisfying, many chose to teach on the side or to play in chamber music concerts. The musical life in Los Angeles, particularly in the 1940's and well into the 1950's, was remarkably rich.
My first teacher of any length of time was a man named Gregory Aller, whose daughter was Eleanor Aller, cellist in the Hollywood String Quartet. Gregory Aller, whose born name was actually Altschuler, was a cousin of a famous Russian, also a cellist, named Modest, who came to New York in the first part of the 20th century and conducted a Russian-émigrés orchestra. The name "Aller" came about because Gregory didn't want to have the same name as his famous cousin, so he took the first 2 letters and the last 3 letters of "Altschuler" and compressed them. That's where Eleanor Aller got her name.
(Click here for the complete transcript.)
by Nathaniel J. Chaitkin
Gaspar Cassadó was one of the last great composer-performers, and his dual life was clearly represented in the concerts he gave. An appendix to the paper contains several of Cassado's recital programs, and their significance is briefly discussed. The combination of the standard cello repertoire with his own compositions and arrangements made for very personal programs; these concerts were not merely a good combination of pieces, but were a representation of Cassadó himself. His versatility stands out all the more from the perspective of today's highly specialized musical world.
(Click here for the complete transcript.)
My cognizance of the spread of these pieces has come in ever growing waves. I was fortunate to have been able to premiere them at the First World Cello Congress in 1988, just after their publication by Oxford University Press. This gave them a good send off which lead to other publicity including a featured article in Strings Magazine. After that, years passed without much news, aside from several positive reviews. In the mid nineties, I started to notice that when I would attend music festivals, cellists would come up to me and tell me how much they enjoyed my etudes. On one occasion, I attended a festival and was immediately drafted as a coach. Next thing I knew, a group performance of my etudes was added to the program! During those years I also started to receive letters, programs and phone calls from concert cellists and professors from around the world.
(Click here for the complete transcript.)
Hi y'all! Here I am, AKA "DWThomas" on the EZboard(s).
Bio? Well, I was born at a fairly young age; fumbled my way through public school and some college. I have supported my hobbies through tinkering with mechanical and electronic gizmos and computers for nearly forty years.
For the past seven years my day job has been a series of custom software projects replacing control systems in some paper mills in the South. Thankfully, these projects are now winding down. After the novelty wears off, a paper mill is not [cough! phew!] that much fun to be around. They are also typically located (for good reasons) in remote areas where cultural events are few and far between.
I started on the cello about the time I should have started slowly lapsing into ancient decrepitude. This can happen when you're winding up six decades on the planet and still don't know what you want to be when you grow up. My early musical history included "Tonettes" in third grade, and a few years of harpsichord lessons in the 1980s. At that time I built a harpsichord from a kit (cheaper than a sports car for a mid-life crisis.) After my teacher for that instrument became too busy to continue with lessons, I slowly lapsed into playing mostly the stereo.
(Click here for the complete transcript.)
by Dimitry Markevitch
When I was a young student the only two works by Boccherini ever performed were his celebrated minuet and the B-flat Cello Concerto (in a very freely edited version by Grützmacher, which is, unfortunately still played by some cellists). One of the first to become aware of this sad situation was my teacher Gregor Piatigorsky. He convinced his mother-in-law, the Baroness Germaine de Rothschild, to write a biography of Boccherini, which was published in 1962, and to sponsor a 700 page catalog of his works by a young French musicologist, Yves Gerard. Since then Gerard has become known as Boccherini's Koechel, the first letter of his name being used to number Boccherini's production, which is close to 600 works! Unfortunately, Piatigorsky's goal to render Boccherini's music better known and more popular has not yet, in the last 40 years, really been achieved. In any case the Gerard Catalog, published by Oxford University Press, should be every cellist's bible. Its second updated edition is now being prepared. Let's hope that it will not take too long to come out.
(Click here for the complete article.)
This is the personal website for Nicholas Anderson. Particularly enjoyable are his many photos.
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>>Casals' Bach Suites
Now I know what I am about to say may very well amount to blasphemy... but here goes...!
Reading a previous post about Casals Bach recordings on Naxos wetted my curiosity and having heard the Bach suites by almost everybody who's ever recorded them except Casals (by itself a major sin I reckon), I though, "let's find a clip on Napster and hear a little before buying."
Surely enough there they were, so I downloaded the Prelude from No1 and sat back to enjoy what I thought would be a revelatory experience. God himself playing in my living room…!
At this point to avoid the stoning that looms large, I must say that I am not a cellist by profession (but nevertheless a musician and a late starter on the cello). What I mean to say is that I don't consider myself qualified to pass judgement on the technical aspects as a cellist, but as a listener I think I make the grade. (After all, music is played for the listeners is it not ... or do I have it all wrong?)
Well ... after the first few bars, to be blunt, I was mortified! Was this the great Casals? Am I dreaming? Is it the recording that has ruined it? Can it possibly be so bad (worse than bad... much MUCH worse!)
Or is it simply my limited powers of musical comprehension? But in that case why am I carried to ecstasy by everybody else's interpretation?
Tortelier, Janigro, Ma, Ocsbay (a favorite)... they're all divine! From the position of the listener the Casals rendition was scratchy with weird timing and I bet the intonation was not all there! And it's ironic (given all that Casals has done for the solo suites) that I caught myself (blasphemously again) thinking that had this been my first exposure to the suites, I would have simply have lost interest.
Coincidentally I had just read David Blum's Casals and the Art of Interpretation which describes so beautifully Casals' preoccupation with intonation and perceiving time relationships. And then this recording! Almost a Monty Python caricature of the real thing!
Could it possibly be a case of "The Emperor's new clothes " or a case of "Yes, the Parthenon is a classic of Western Architecture, but would you go live in it? It set the foundations but now it's time has passed."
Unless of course it was Pablo CasZals (the little known Hungarian cellist) that was playing in the recording and I didn't notice :-)
Gary Stucka replies: If it hadn't been for Casals' revolutionary ideas about playing the cello, we wouldn't have today's technical whiz-kids. Examples? Prior to Casals, cellists were instructed that proper playing technique was derived from keeping both elbows very close to the body. Students of the period were often instructed to practice while holding books under each arm! Casals is also chiefly responsible for freeing up left-hand technique with the incorporation of "pan-position" fingering "stretches."
It's been quite some time since I've heard Casals' Bach. (I've just ordered the Naxos set to compare the transfers with those on EMI.) We are currently in a period of great neatness in cello playing; neatness that, in my opinion, has crossed the border to sterility. There is such a dread of bow-on-string noise (scratch), for example, that, IMHO, much musicality, projection, and tone gets sacrificed in this relentless pursuit of smoothness. In Casals' era, this obsession was not in vogue. To modern ears, I'm not surprised that his playing is heard as crude.
I still have great reverence for his interpretive powers, though. I also have great respect for his reverence toward the Bach Suites; he worked on his musical interpretations of them for 12 years before even daring to perform them in public. Now, anybody with a recording contract can crank them out without the same careful and spiritual consideration.
One other point in Casals' defense: he was well into his 60's when he started recording the Bach. Even Slava's recent traversal (at 70) is not entirely successful if one is going to quibble about pitch. Casals also didn't have the benefit of today's modern-recording editing techniques. In the 78 RPM era, one had to play as perfectly as possible for 4 and 1/2 minutes. Any errors within that "take" could NOT be fixed without doing the whole side over again -- often an economically prohibitive process.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion. To me, however, being disappointed in Casals' Bach as documented on crude 78's is a bit like being disappointed that the 'real' God only left us the Ten Commandments on ephemeral stone tablets.
BA replies: I agree with Gary. I would also add that the first thing you should do is go find Casals' recordings from c.1917-21 (someone can help me with better dates). Mainly just short salon pieces, but you will hear very clearly the greatness of Casals as an instrumentalist as well as a musician.
Almost every student of Casals agrees that the later recordings did not at all do justice to his actual playing. In addition to being old, and long absent from the performing stage, he was a very nervous recording artist. Remember Nelsova's story of how she practiced Bach 6 with his recording until she could imitate it exactly, but when she played it for him that way, he found it far too exaggerated!
I agree that these later recordings have problems, but if you can learn to listen past them there is still so much that can be learned. Try a few experiments -- compare tempos of the movements between Casals and Ma. Compare where they take rubato and how much. Listen to whether you think each of them is phrasing in larger units or smaller groups. Casal's conception to the suites is really very keyboard oriented, which seems clearly appropriate. Have patience and try to hear passed the limitations of those late recording sessions.
Bob replies: While everything BA says is true, I would dispute that Casals' recordings of the Suites show a cellist in technical decline. He was in his early 60s at the time, and as we know, he had many years of activity ahead of him. But many things were different back then. Casals played on reedy-sounding gut strings. As has been pointed out, "editing" as we practice it today didn't exist back then. There was not this fixation with cleaning up every little flaw in a recording. Moreover, Casals' entire aesthetic went to seeking musical truth, cutting down to the artistic "bone" of a piece rather than slathering it with long slurs and a fat, unvaried vibrato. There is more imagination in one Sarabande of Casals than in Yo-Yo's entire recording. Yes, the sound isn't as sensually beautiful, but it is much more than that. It is a unique vision of Bach's genius filtered through a lifetime of study and performance, sharply etched. I feel sad for anyone who doesn't respond to these recordings. To each his own, of course, but such people are, as yet, unable to perceive what true MUSIC-MAKING is all about.
>>Arched vs. Level Knuckles
I'm not sure that arching the knuckles is a good idea. What are the advantages?
The advantages with level knuckles are:
I found that playing runs up and down the a string in thumb position much easier with the level knuckles in the left hand.
So...what are the advantages to arching the knuckles? I'm really interested in hearing this and possibly learning something that I've overlooked.
Actually, until I began studying with Panteleyev and Feigelson, I used arched knuckles myself. Not that I was taught to do that. Until then, I'd never been told otherwise. Many of my left hand and intonation problems were solved with these left hand principles. Paul Tseng
Tim Janof replies: The feedback I've heard is that you lose your line of power when you have flattened knuckles. You don't have that arch in your hand, the key to architectural strength in buildings as well. The sound suffers as a result (less focused). When it was demonstrated, it seemed to be true. And the knuckles should be arched throughout all the positions, with exceptions of course.
My guess is that people like Starker, Mantel, August Eichhorn advocate or advocated the arched knuckles.
Paul Tseng replies:It is a very common method in the Russian school. I've seen many cellists from Russia who play quite naturally this way and play very well. And I learned it from Feigilson and Pantaleyev at the age of 30 when I converted from Arched to Level. Actually, Channing Robbins (Rose's assistant at Juilliard) taught me a bit of this too when I was 17.
You know, initially, I "thought" I lost my line of power too. But after you get used to not using so much force from your fingers to play, you realize that the you are actually much more relaxed. You don't use any strength (force) to hold the string down, especially in thumb position where you CAN'T squeeze the neck. It's all balance of arm weight.
This illusion of losing strength comes from the limiting of the range of motion of your fingers. But I discovered that your really don't need to lift your fingers very high off the fingerboard to play. How high do you need to lift your finger when you play with a different finger? Actually, not high at all.
The level knuckles are actually more architecturally sound than and balanced than the arched ones (maybe not for buildings, but for human hands on the cello.) Sound might suffer if the balance is not understood. What I mean is when someone who is not accustomed to this hand position tries to simply force his hand into this position and approach the execution the same way as he would with arched knuckles, they will feel very disoriented. Sound (as Feigilson pointed out my interview) comes from the bow. The left hand is responsible for vibrato and pitch. If you are saying sound suffers from playing with level knuckles, I have to ask if you think Rostropovich or Yo Yo's sound are suffering?
It's clear that arched knuckles are advocated by 'respected' cellists. But I'd like to know if they use their 4th finger at all in thumb position and if they have a jump of a 6th, 7th or octave, do they always have to shift or slide? How do they feel about playing 10ths? It's interesting to note the difference in fingerings for the Prokofiev op. 125 edited by Rostropovich (Boosey & Hawkes) and Nelsova (International). Clearly two different approaches to the piece and greatly affected by fingerings. I don't know if Nelsova advocates level or arched left knuckles. But I know that Slava's fingerings would be very diffcult to use if the knuckles are not level.
By the way, if you are attempting to change your hand position to level knuckles while not fully understanding the proper balance, you might feel disoriented in your left hand and might very well naturally imitate this disorientation in your right hand. After all, our hands have a tendency to imitate each other (that's why it's difficult for many people to rub their tummies and pat their heads and switch hands). This may very well be the cause of sound suffering "when it was demonstrated." Who demonstrated this? Did they really know what they were doing when they tried to level their knuckles?
P.S. I have a picture of Starker playing in 4th position and his left knuckles are level, not arched. I don't know if this was just for a pose or if his left hand looks different while he's playing in other postions.
Tim Janof replies:I do question one statement you made:
"The level knuckles are actually more architectually sound than and balanced than the arched ones (maybe not for buildings, but for human hands on the cello.)"
I have a hard time buying this. The musculature is not at its strongest when it is extended. Just rest your weight on the edge of a table top with flat knuckles and watch your knuckles hyper-extend. The energy goes into bending the knuckles backwards instead of into the tabletop. This is much less powerful than resting your weight on the tabletop with curved fingers and knuckles.
I also question whether the hand is more balanced. Just because you are crouched to the ground doesn't mean you are more balanced. It just means you have less distance to fall. I think of balance as meaning that your body is in more of a "power stance." Having flat knuckles does not represent this, at least as I'm envisioning it.
There do seem to be some advantages to flat knuckles. So the question is whether these advantages warrant using flat knuckles ALL the time or just in certain circumstances. I also wonder if flat knuckles work better when playing with a long end-pin. When the cello is more vertical (i.e. short endpin), the fingers/knuckles may need to be more curved just to reach the string.
Gerhard Mantel through an e-mail to Tim Janof replies: It is an interesting issue. We should keep it far away from any moral or ideological reasoning. The "pro-curved" argument with architecture does not really always apply to physiology. In physiological matters, only physiological arguments are really applicable. They may or may not have analogies in the dead physical world. The "pro-collapsed" arguments you mention are not very satisfactory either. The hand may be closer to the fingerboard, which is not an advantage in itself, and the stretching between 2nd and 3rd finger does not depend on the arched or collapsed form of the fingers, but on the degree of pronation of the forearm: With the forearm pronated somewhat, the lack of spreading ability between fingers 2 and 3 is substituted by the difference in stretching of these two fingers, the 2nd being more curved than the 3rd.
One of my teachers, Paul Tortelier, recommended locked (collapsed) end knuckles. It then was regarded as a heresy, and the "arch" argument was even then brought up against it. To me, the only argument applicable is what works best for an individual person.
I therefore do not see any "school," neither Russian nor otherwise, to promote either one of the two possibilities.
As is so often, "it depends." It depends, to start with, on the individual hand. With some cellists, the knuckle is locked if there is an angle of 180 degrees, meaning no angle at all, as for instance with me. I therefore use both positions with ease. With others, there is an angle of almost 90 degrees if the finger is pressed on the fingerboard with collapsed knuckles. Here, I would at least recommend to EXERCISE an arched position, if only to get some more strength into the fingers. If a player observes that his end knuckle collapses, which invariably is the case with the first finger in thumb position with the thumb at a distance of a halftone, he should play like this with a good instead of with bad conscience. He should play this position intentionally, not as a bad habit occurring. The bad conscience certainly is worse than the collapsed end knuckle!
If a finger is not on the fingerboard, but in the air, its end knuckle is always curved. (I strongly advocate that fingers that are not used should leave the fingerboard, with the exception of fast runs. That is, we should "play the piano" for various reasons not to be discussed here). The MIDDLE knuckle is always curved naturally. With fingers in the air, nobody can stretch the end knuckle, if the middle knuckle is curved, which is always the case in cello playing, maybe with the exception of very short 4th fingers. That means, that every finger reaches the fingerboard in an initially curved position. It then can collapse or not. To me, therefore, there is a difference if I play very fast runs or if I play melodic, slow finger application. In fast runs, it would waste time to have the end knuckle arrive in a curved form and then collapse, I therefore leave them curved (this happens without particular intention), with the exception of the above mentioned 1st finger in thumb position, where playing on the finger nail is worse to me (also with rare exceptions) than locking the finger end knuckle.
There is another aspect in favor of the collapsed end knuckle, at least with fingers that are not hyperextended. A locked end knuckle does not have any movement tolerance, while a curved one does. With a locked knuckle, the hand has one joint less. This means, there is one joint less to represent a leeway of insecurity of movement. Therefore, there is a difference in shift security which can go as far as producing a relaxed feeling in the trunk. In many cases, security is much higher with both the starting and the arriving fingers locked, since there is less (intonation) leeway in the fingers. It would probably exceed this discussion to name a few shifts in the classical repertoire where this can apply. In an upward scale, for instance, the first finger doing the shift is more secure in a locked than in a curved form. Here the 1st finger touching the fingerboard stays locked during the whole scale.
The sheer vibrato quality difference between the two positions to me is so tiny that it is negligeable as compared to the other arguments.
So, I think there is no such thing as right or wrong in this issue. Forcing a student to do something which contradicts his or her physical conditions certainly will do a lot of damage. On the other hand, exercises to strengthen our fingers will never hurt, even if we finally choose to play with locked end knuckles.
The discussion is similar to the question of the right thumb. Rostropovich locks it, with the exception of fast movements at the frog, where there is no thumb pressure needed, and where the thumb can stay therefore in its slight natural curve.
>>Jacqueline du Pré
What du Pré "is" now is someone who made some amazing recordings. That is her legacy. She gave a few masterclasses, but no one could honestly be called "her student." There really is nothing else she has left to the world. Other cellists left legacies in addition to their recordings; Slava all that literature he commissioned, Starker and Rose all those well-trained cellists, etc. Many of us, including me, heard du Pré and deeply value those memories. But we'll all be dust pretty soon.
Picasso and Mozart were, by all accounts, people who behaved badly. But so what? What they have left us will endure forever. Does anyone need to know the details of their personal lives to appreciate their art? Ridiculous. So too with du Pré's art.
There were so many stupid, wrong, and/or offensive things in "Hilary" movie I wouldn't know where to start. It didn't even attempt to convey (because there is no way it could have) the incredible magnetism she possessed on stage. We saw merely that she developed rapidly as a child. Hell, so did I. But her unique, lambent artistry was simply beyond the ability of Hollywood (or wherever) to capture. But it was this special gift which was the SOLE REASON we were sitting there watching the movie in the first place! Her MS affliction was tragic, of course, but lots of other people contract MS too, some very talented in other fields, and no one makes big-budget movies about them. Probably more people than we might think sleep with their in-laws too, but we don't generally hear about that either unless we watch Jerry Springer. No, the reason the siblings wrote a book, and the studios ventured a major movie, and many of us went to see it was because du Pré was one of the major performing artists of the century. Not one frame of the film came close to conveying that.
I, and anyone, could go on and on about the film's flaws, and indeed the venality and pettiness that were its basic underpinnings. But (and here, for those who've bothered to read this far, is the point of this post) SO WHAT? Du Pré's permanent, as opposed to ephemeral, legacy is her recordings. Before this sick, stupid movie came out, Ponticello hadn't heard any. Now, thanks to the movie, he/she has. Is it really important what sort of image of the du Pré family he/she might carry around? Not to me. I only know that someone has been exposed to a great artist that he/she might not have otherwise. That's good, right?
This is why we don't need to trouble ourselves with Kiffer, Nupen, Danny, or anyone else. None of that is ultimately important; what IS important (her music) has now entered someone's life, and this scenario has undoubtedly been repeated in tens of thousands of others' cases. There have been similar contretemps concerning Shostakovich and Stravinsky, people fighting over their souls after their deaths. It's silly and ugly. What matters is what they left us that will endure forever, and in this case, the movie has, on balance, done good in the world.
>>Meeting Pablo Casals
In 1969 when I was a sailor aboard the USS Thomas Jefferson SSBN 618, a fleet ballistic missile nuclear powered submarine in the United States Navy, I had the rare opportunity to talk to Pablo Casals at his home in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Submarine was in port in Puerto Rico and when I was off duty one evening I just looked in a telephone directory in a phone booth and looked up Pablo Casals' telephone number and wrote it down on a piece of paper. Back then I was pretty young and very naive. A few days later when I got a chance I just went to a public telephone and dialed the number. Pablo Casals' wife answered the phone and I asked to speak to Pablo Casals. She told me that he wasn't home at the time, that he was in Europe and would be home the following week and that I could call back then. I told her that I would try to call him back later. The next week I called again, but this time his aide answered the phone and when I told him that I was an American sailor who played the cello and who wanted to talk to Pablo Casals, he told me that "Pablo Casals doesn't speak to just anyone on the phone." Of course he was correct, but I started to argue with him because I knew that this would be my only chance to make contact with this great cellist who I so admired. As he started to hang up the phone, I heard a voice in the background asking "What seems to be the problem?" He replied "There's this American sailor who wants to talk to you." The voice was Pablo Casals and he said "Good, invite him out to the house." Later, I found myself in a room at Pablo Casals' home waiting to see him when it hit me. I started to get very nervous and I wondered just what I was going to say and how I was going to justify being there! Then Pablo Casals appeared at the doorway and I greeted him with a handshake and I called him maestro. He said, "I understand you are a cellist." And I said, "A very mediocre cellist." And he said "Well, aren't we all." I looked at him closely and he was serious about his comment. We spent the next couple of hours talking about music, mostly the Bach cello suites. I felt as though I was in a dream. I couldn't believe that I was actually talking to Pablo Casals. And I remember him telling me that he thought that most other cellists could play much easier than he could. He thought that he had to work much harder in order to be able to play certain musical phrases in the Bach suites and that other cellists most likely could do it easier than he could. When I eventually left I looked at my watch and realized that I had been there for about two and a half hours. I was only a beginning cellist and I had spent an afternoon, one on one, with Pablo Casals. Musically speaking, the only thing good about me was my intentions and yet Pablo Casals gave me his time and his understanding and his wisdom and an invaluable experience which I will never forget.
After I returned home and told my cello playing friends that I had seen Pablo Casals and had spent an afternoon with him, I was asked if I got his autograph. That seemed a little strange to me at the time, but I figured that if I got a second chance to see Pablo Casals, I would ask him for an autograph. Just before I finished my enlistment in the Navy in 1970 when I was aboard the USS Entemedor, an old WWII diesel powered submarine, once again I got the opportunity to travel to Puerto Rico and this time I took a paperback copy of the book, "Conversations with Casals" by J. Ma. Corredor with me. Before I arrived I wrote Pablo Casals a letter and told him how much I enjoyed our first meeting and how much it meant to me. I don't remember just exactly what happened next, but I do remember stopping by Pablo Casals' house with the book and leaving it with someone at the house for him to sign and mail back to me. Several weeks later I received the book in the mail with a personal note on the inside cover saying, "To Duane K. Nevins with best wishes - Thank you for your lovely letter" and signed, "Pablo Casals." I still keep that book in the envelope that it was mailed back to me in with Pablo Casals' return address on it. Now, if I could only study how to play the cello with that same degree of enthusiasm that I had back then.
>>Developing Tone Color
Okay, I've come far enough I don't usually have to worry about intonation/rhythm anymore, so now my biggest concern is creating a range of different tones/colors. I know to experiment with bow speed/pressure, different articulation, playing high on lower strings, low on higher strings, etc. Do any of you have suggestions on developing tonal/color range? For example, I've heard of using scales and picking different emotions each time through the scale. I suppose this works for some people, but I tend to need a more analytical approach. I listen to a lot of recordings and many times, I'll hear something I want to duplicate but can't figure out what the player is doing. Any ideas/suggestions/experience you might be able to relate would be appreciated.
Tim Janof replies:This is a difficult question to answer without lapsing into useless cliches or annoying psychologizing, but I'll do my best to avoid both.
From your description it sounds like you know what tones/colors you want to achieve, but you just aren't sure how to create them. It also sounds like you understand what many of the ingredients are that you can alter in order to vary your sound. It seems that what you want is some sort of cookbook that will tell you what ingredients to use and in what proportion, depending on the color or sound you want to achieve. Not a bad idea!
It sounds like you are at a wonderful cross-roads in your playing. You realize that there is more to playing the cello than noodling and you are feeling the frustration of your own technical limitations. Congratulations! This is a good thing! As Paul Tortelier once said, "I have noticed that when some of my students succeed in correcting poor technical habits, there is a change in their interpretation. They become aware that their interpretation has been mediocre as well as their technique."
It seems that you have learned many of the "rules" and now it's time for you to question them, to look outside your current assumptions. The great news is that you are not the only one who has struggled with this issue:
So it sounds like it's your turn. Of course I encourage you to try to achieve your colors through "sound" technical principals first. But maybe it's time for you to experiment with other ideas, perhaps playing with flatter fingers for certain passages, flatter knuckles (yikes!), sagging elbows, over-pressing with the bow, bowing above the fingerboard, lengthening your endpin, or whatever you have been telling yourself is wrong or bad! Just try out new ideas! I'm not saying you should use these techniques ALL the time, but maybe there are times when they will come in handy.
As an example, you won't find Lynn Harrell's ideas on his ever-changing bow 'grip' in any textbook:
"For a more powerful bow hold, I lower the third and fourth fingers. The third finger is lowered so that it can grab underneath the frog, and the fourth finger is almost underneath the frog too. The thumb slides down and presses directly into the crook of the frog, but at an angle, so that it doesn't slide through. My wrist is flatter when I use this bow hold. With this hold, it's almost impossible to twist the bow at all, it's almost like holding the bow like a baseball bat, which gives one a very strong grip. "
My guess is that your challenge is going to be that, as an intelligent analytical type, once you figure something out you probably say to yourself, "I figured that out. Now on to the next thing." Well, maybe now it's time for you to go back and re-examine the things that you think you have figured out. I guess it's about "letting go."
What the heck, maybe you would benefit from taking Nick Anderson's "Inner Cellist" seminar. Another cellist I know is delving into the Feldenkrais Method: "The more aware we are of our body mechanics and motions, the wider our tonal palette becomes. What kind of sound can I produce if I move my left foot while playing, for example." Maybe you need a new teacher or a change of scenery just to get the creative energy flowing.
I hope that there's something useful in this post. The quotes from the big-names were meant to give you ideas on specific things to try, not just casual examples of "thinking outside the box."
Erik Friedlander replies:While the left hand contributes a lot to tone color with vibrato (wide, narrow, none) the bow is really the tone-meister so I think being able to control bow speed, contact point are huge in terms of tone color.
I like the long tone exercises I learned from Zara Nelsova which I have at my website: http://www.erikfriedlander.com/cello.htm (look for "Olympic Cello Workout"). It's a very basic exercise but it's not easy and I think after practicing it for a few days you'll start to feel more control over your bow.
This exercise will give you some tools to work with but the real key to all this is what you can imagine the music sounding like before you play. This aural "vision" will guide your hands, which with training, will produce the effects you're looking for.
Jon Pegis replies:I prefer to use my ear rather than an analytical approach. I've listened to both instrumental and vocal pieces and tried to imitate the sound. Lynn Harrell always encouraged his students to listen to vocal music. If you do this long enough you begin to incorporate certain breathing and phrasing ideas without even realizing it. For example, when I was in high school I had a recording of Aida that I just about wore out. Placido Domingo sang "Celeste Aida" on this recording, and I tried to imitate his sound and phrasing. You don't need a long piece or even a lot of time -- just a few minutes listening and then playing. When I "got it" I would then look in the mirror and see if anything had changed in my playing that I could see. Some of my other favorite challenges are:
Zukerman in the Elgar Violin Concerto with St. Louis and Slatkin
Lynn Harrell in just about anything.
Different vocalists in Schubert and Schumann art songs.
Great arias sung by both men and women to get the feel of the different vocal registers. Look for singers with voices that are both big and full/rich, never tight or strained.
Paul Tseng replies: I think you are well on your way. Someone once said "In order to have that beautiful sound, you must WANT it." Well, duh... but seriously, it's true. Finding methods and understanding tone production concepts are only the beginning. They are a means, not the end. Definitely experiment and learn from others. Get that sound you want in your ear.
There's a lot of conventional wisdom that can be reversed.
>>Playing the Variations in Beethoven's Fifth Symphony
Hearing Ron Leonard's excerpt CD again the other day has led me to ponder again the opening theme of the 2nd movement. Leonard claims the actual rhythm is somewhere between a sixteenth and a triplet. His demonstration is not entirely a satisfactory answer, but it is true that played as a strict dotted eighth/sixteenth it seems to sound a little too 'jaunty' to keep the flowing character. Have any of you found a satisfactory resolution?
What about tempo? Does any conductor (aside the 'authentic' specialists) take it at Beethoven's marking? I hear it usually played either slow or slower, though I find Furtwangler's compelling nonetheless.
Jon Pegis replies: I'm going to disagree with Ron Leonard on this one. Every teacher and coach I've had said that the rhythm in this excerpt must be exact and precise. The real challenge is to play a legato dotted rhythm -- something that is very difficult to do since your hands cannot influence each other. If the right hand is dominant the tone will be smoother but the dreaded triplets may appear. And if the left hand is too dominant the rhythm will be precise but the line of the phrase gets chopped up. As for tempo, I think it's best to play the theme and variations at the same speed even though a lot of conductors don't do this. I've played this passage anywhere from 84-92. The faster tempo makes it easier to avoid running out of bow, but you don't want the theme to sound rushed. I hope this helps a little--I'm sure you'll get a lot of opinions on this one!
Ryan Selberg replies: I'm going to agree with Jon on this one. There is a very compelling reason that it appears on virtually every orchestral cello audition, primarily for the reasons Jon stated. The few candidates who are able to play with a clear rhythm AND a beautiful legato AND dynamics really stand out quickly as someone to consider for the job (assuming the rest of the audition doesn't fall apart).
David Sanders replies: I've wondered about the tempo of this for years at auditions. I've had colleagues tell me that they vote no if the first variation isn't the same tempo as the theme, but every time we've played it, the first variation is almost always faster than the theme. So what's the answer? I would say to stay pretty much in the same tempo, but to make it more flowing, which would probably translate into somewhat, but not a lot, faster.
Gary Stucka replies: Personally, I vote NO on a candidate who doesn't keep a strict tempo between the theme and subsequent variations. David's probably right about concert realities, ESPECIALLY with the current crop of the overly self-indulgent and un-disciplined maestri at the helm, but I need a barometer of some sort at auditions to try to tell if a candidate is a potential "rusher" or not.
Also, as has been stated earlier, the excerpt CAN be played smoothly, beautifully, and musically, while maintaining the printed rhythm. Anything less is, in a word, unacceptable.
zambocello replies:Ditto from me: For auditions play accurate dotted rhythm, legato, soft, in tune, and consistent tempo. In concerts, play with the section. (And in concerts if you have to choose between playing with the conductor and playing with the section, play with the section.)
1. Attention, Record Collectors
Vestige Classics is planning on producing a series of recordings that feature the late Oscar Shumsky, one of the great violinists of the 20th Century. Ensemble partners include Leonard Rose and Bernard Greenhouse. The first CD, "Oscar Shumsky - A Life Portrait" is already available.
2. Solo Cello Composition Competition Winners
(Finally) announcing the winners of the Inaugural 1999 Hultgren Solo Cello Works Biennial:
"Fast Music was composed to exploit the cello wizardry of Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi. It is approximately ten minutes of solo cello virtuosity which flies, propels, drives, flashes, chugs, blurs, and rocks. These different kinds of fastness appear and reappear in a sort of exponential rondo: The opening fastness -- fleet, breezy, and amiable -- returns often enough to spread a benign whimsy over the proceeding but not without being challenged by other fastnesses which are rougher, threatening, rambunctious, even frenzied. Close to the end, a theme with an almost Straussian heroic character appears to rescue the piece from its more diabolical tendencies and usher in the final fling of the opening fastness."
"The Artist and His Model melds the two disparate sound sources of the acoustic instrument and the electronically conceived tape. There is a dichotomy between the sequenced performance material and the performance by the live musician. Added to this is a third part which is a recording of a musician performing while being guided by a click track -- thus a compromise between machine and live performance. The work was written for Craig Hultgren is recorded on Innova Recordings."
3. Irene Sharp Seminar
The Irene Sharp Cello Seminar will be held June 18-22, 2001, at the Mannes College of Music in New York City. There will be a two-hour session each morning and each afternoon. For more info, go to http://home.pacbell.net/gszent/. Application Deadline: May 1, 2001.
4. Solo Bach Workshop
America's Shrine to Music Museum is offering a new early music workshop entitled, Interpreting Bach on Flute, Cello, and Keyboard, June 4-9, 2001, in Vermillion, South Dakota. The workshop will explore the performance of solo and chamber music by Bach with special attention to his solo instrumental works, like the cello suites.
5. New Jacqueline du Pré Documentary
Chistopher Nupen, who directed four previous documentaries on Jacqueline du Pré, including her performances of Schubert's "Trout" Quintet, Beethoven's "Ghost" Trio, and the Elgar Concerto, has come out with a new documentary on the legendary cellist. It includes interviews with Daniel Barenboim (his first interview about du Pré since her death), Pinchas Zukerman, Itzhak Perlman, and Zubin Mehta.
6. Yo-Yo's Latest Project
Yo-Yo Ma has launched a global program of festivals inspired by Asia's Silk Road. The "Silk Road Project" celebrates the diverse musics and cultures along the ancient trading route linking Asia and Europe. The two-year program will showcase both newly commissioned concertos (Richard Danielpour and Peter Lieberson) and traditional works. The non-profit project will also feature recordings on the Sony Label.
7. New Shanghai Quartet Cellist
Nicholas Tzavaras is the new cellist with the Shanghai Quartet. The 25-year-old Tzavaras studied with Laurence Lesser at Boston's New England Conservatory. He is the son of Roberta Guaspari, the New York violin teacher portrayed by Meryl Streep in the film Music of the Heart.
8. Paul Katz honored
Former Cleveland Quartet cellist Paul Katz was honored by Chamber Music America for his contributions to chamber music.
9. New Books
The Art of Playing the Cello
Edited by Walter Grimmer
Translated into English by J.S. Rushworth
Published by Schott Musik International
ISMN M-001-12947-3 (order number: ED 9303)
in French ISMN M-001-12682-3 (order number: ED 9176)
or German ISMN M-001-08482-6 (order number: ED 8342)
An Analysis of fundamental principles, technical exercises and examples from the cello repertoire all demonstrate‚ The Art of Playing the Cello, written during the lifetime of the celebrated cellist Maurice Gendron and now published by his pupil Walter Grimmer.
The following has been quoted from the book's introduction:
"In these chapters I have attempted to fill the gaps I have found in some‚ tutor 'books and I have done my best to provide clear and simple advice ... People speak of the French, the German, the Belgian and the Russian school of playing. Differences may be identified, of course, but -- as my teacher Gérard Hekking was fond of saying: 'There are only two ways of playing the cello: the right way, and the wrong way!' "
-- Maurice Gendron
"It is good to see that some of these recordings have since been re-issued on the international market, allowing a sizeable selection of these masterly performances to be enjoyed afresh. Gendron’s recordings set admirably high standards for the younger generation of cellists, in particular, with an unmistakable individual style and original interpretations that communicate insights of enduring value. Deeply sensitive to the nature of his instrument and its very soul, Maurice Gendron had the ability to set the seal of perfection on his playing. His unerring instinct for rhythm and musical phrasing, together with the enchanting quality of the sound he produced, delighted all who heard him play. From his very first record release in 1935 -- when he was just 15 years old --Gendron showed a remarkably mature sense of assurance in terms of style. When still a child, he met the legendary Emanuel Feuermann (1902 - 1942): the encounter must have had a great impact on him.
"Perhaps this meeting made such a mark on the young boy that he intuitively recognized Feuermann’s brilliant and faultless playing style as pointing the way forward for his own gifts.
"Like the older Casals before him, Feuermann understood the essential connection between the art of perfect phrasing and the careful choice of fingering. Even in his early years as a cellist, Maurice Gendron recognized the importance of the interrelation of phrasing and fingering -- an insight which he was to develop and refine further over the course of his life.
"Thanks to him, we cellists nowadays have a system of fingering that is comparable in its scope to that used by violinists. The importance of this contribution to the history of performance has not yet been universally acknowledged - and therefore not yet widely enough assimilated in the development of our art.
"I am very happy to be able to present a few examples of such fingerings here from my teacher’s œuvre, most of them previously unpublished. Readers are urged to study them thoroughly; after some initial surprises, they will find that they acquire greater facility in their own choice of fingerings.
"As early as the 1950s, Maurice Gendron was already working on a plan to publish his insights into the art of playing the cello in the form of a practical manual. Having spent three years as a student in his masterclass in Saarbrücken, I was acquainted with the intended content of this manual. Renewed and more concentrated involvement with his fundamental ideas began for me, however, in 1978, when Maurice Gendron decided to enlist my help in preparing the written draft. The ensuing consultations -- always with practical illustrations provided on the cello -- constituted the last and most advanced phase of my tuition. Never did I feel myself closer to his thought processes than in those evenings spent at his kitchen table (usually piled high with papers and scores) at his delightful country house in Grez-sur-Loing. His simple lifestyle made an ideal complement to the unerring way he had of concentrating meaning in such a way as to encapsulate complex ideas in phrases full of clarity.
"Unfortunately, The Art of Playing the Cello (L’Art du Violoncelle) was left unfinished. The major part of my task was to organize such material as was available in order to produce a coherent sequence of contents. I decided early on to work in German, translated from the original French; this was because I felt that I could best do justice to my task in the language in which I am most at ease.
"My sincere thanks are due above all to Monique Gendron, who demonstrated enormous confidence in me when she handed over for purposes of preparation and publication the material used in this volume. My editor Dr. Rainer Mohrs I thank for his great patience and his kind, well-informed and valuable suggestions.
"Heartfelt thanks also go to François-Eric Gendron for the illuminating photograph of his father’s hands, as well as to Kazuo Yokoi for his drawings and Emmanuel Goffart for the updated discography."
10. International Violoncello Competition 2001 -- The Domnick Cello Prize
The Domnick Foundation of Baden-Württemberg, Germany, in conjunction with the Baden-Württemberg Academy of Music and Performing Arts Stuttgart, is sponsoring a competition October 4-7, 2001. The Domnick Cello Prize for young soloists was established in 1982 by the Stuttgart psychiatrist, art collector, film-maker and patron of music, Ottomar Domnick (1907-1989). Initially the Domnick Cello Competition was restricted to music academies in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, but since 1996 has been open to candidates from other countries. It is a biennial event held in the Baden-Württemberg Academy of Music and the Performing Arts Stuttgart. The registration deadline is July 31, 2001. For more information, write to: email@example.com
11. Prize Winners
13. Gerhard Hamann dies
German cellist Gerhard Hamann died in December at age 65. In addition to working as a soloist in Germany and Scandanavia, he was a renowned teacher of cello and chamber music. In 1971 he founded the International Chamber Music Courses in Sveg, Sweden, remaining at the helm for 28 years.
14. Paul Katz honored by CMA
Chamber Music America (CMA) honored two of its ex-Presidents with the Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award -- Heidi Castleman, professor of viola at Juilliard, and Paul Katz, founding cellist of the Cleveland Quartet.
Manchester Cello Festival
Manchester (England) International Cello Festival, May 2 - 6. "Exploring the American Influence7334; with cellists Bailey, Bengtsson, Bylsma, Carr, Coin, Demenga, Eddy, Friesen, Georgian, Geringas, Gutman, Leskovar, Lesser, Mork, Muller-Schott, Nelsova, Parisot, Pergamenschikow, Qin, Starker, Tsutsumi, Wallfisch. Also the Yale Cellos. Concerts, recitals, lectures, masterclasses, exhibitions. Cello & bow making competition. For a brochure, send a s.a.e. to Festival Office, The Grange, Handforth, Cheshire SK9 3NR, U.K.
Dordrecht Cello Festival
Dordrecht Cello Festival, the Netherlands, May 24 - 26. Masterclasses, workshops, recitals and concerts with Conjunto Iberico, Marien von Stallen, Jaap Kruithof, Quirine Viersen, Lucia Swats and Gregor Horsch. http://www.cellofestival.dordt.nl .
American Cello Congress/Leonard Rose Competition
Leonard Rose International Cello Competition and Sixth American Cello Congress, College Park, Maryland, May 24 - June 2, 2001. firstname.lastname@example.org
New Directions Cello Festival 2001
New Directions Cello Festival, University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT), June 15-17. Workshops, exhibitions, concerts, jam sessions with Ernst Reijeseger, Erik Friedlander, Big Fiddle, Rasputina, and the Chris White Quartet. http://www.newdirectionscello.com.
Kobe (Japan) Cello Festival
July 25-29, 2001. They hope to assemble a cello orchestra of 1000 players! Solo performers to be announced. http://www.kobe-cello.com
Kronberg Cello Festival
October 25-28, 2001. Kronberg's 5th Cello Festival in Kronberg, Germany. Cellists include Natalia Gutman, David Geringas, and many more.
World Cello Congress IV
Plan ahead! World Cello Congress IV will take place May/June 2006 at Towson University, Baltimore, Maryland. Concerts, recitals, masterclasses, workshops, symposia, exhibits, receptions. http://www.towson.edu/worldmusiccongresses .
For those who attended World Cello Congress III, videos will soon be available via the website above. Also promised is a "Gala Benefit Performance" in 2003 to raise funds for WCC4. "Many of the greatest stars of the music world will join forces to present a one-of-a-kind event not to be missed."
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