What's New at ICS
Message from the Editor
ICS Forum/Cello Chat Board
Music Festival Watch
Other Internet Music Resources
We have a new Assistant Webmaster, webmaster (email@example.com). We have updated the pages for Emanuel Feuermann and Summer Camps and Festivals. We have also added our own search engine; to try it, go to "Search the ICS" in the Main Menu, or click on http://18.104.22.168/cgi-bin/search.cgi.
At last we have found someone to help our Webmaster, Marshall St. John! Our new Assistant Webmaster is webmaster. We are overjoyed to find someone to help Marshall share in the "fun" of maintaining our huge and very active website. Thank you John!
In keeping with the spirit of the Internet Cello Society, this newsletter draws from several countries throughout the world. We have an interview with world-renowned American cellist Bernard Greenhouse, a Membership Spotlight written by an ICS member from Brazil, a review of Bulgarian solo cello works, and an article on the Chinese "version" of the cello. You can't get much more international than this!
You'll also find quite a few excerpts taken from our Cello Chat bulletin board. There were many interesting discussions in the last couple of months, so we really agonized over what to use in this newsletter. We finally narrowed it down to a conversation on whether to play the scordatura version of the C Minor Bach Suite in an audition, a lively discussion on the Suzuki Method, and how to play that scary opening of the Shostakovich E Minor Piano Trio. Cello Chat has certainly become an invaluable resource.
>> You mean we cellists actually get recognized in this world? Cool!
I've been playing for 6-1/2 years. I'm working on the Elgar Cello Concerto, and I'm now making up for all the calluses I've never had. The sixteenth note runs are killing my hands, but I love it all the same. Sigh. It's good to be working on a piece that I've heard so much. I admire its style, and I hope I can make it work.
Clara the Cello Monger
>> I am a Czech Professor of Psychology Emeritus and an amateur violoncellist. I am glad to have the opportunity to read your web page.
With best wishes
>> I was in Lansing, Michigan (where I grew up) to attend my older brother's wedding. While up there I called Louis Potter to say hello and find out how he was doing. He recently fell and hurt his back, and the injury has seriously affected his ability to play the cello while teaching. I'm sure you must be aware that he is well-advanced in age (He'll be 87 in April. In a recent newsletter he quipped that he was born two weeks before the Titanic disaster!). Please mention his name to all ICS readers, asking them to remember him in their thoughts and prayers. Certainly he has been a teacher and "grandteacher" to so many of us. I'm sure he would greatly appreciate our regards and best wishes for his back condition and a speedy recovery.
>> I recently visited the Internet Cello Society webpage. I found it absolutely wonderful, full of interesting information on all the right subjects, with a host of fascinating articles. I particularly enjoyed reading about the recent Tchaikovsky Competition as witnessed by Andor Toth.
I am quite obsessed with our instrument and I sense a similar enthusiasm from you and the other players that are involved in the Society. If I had been able to access information like this when I was a first year student it would have been a lot more interesting! Anyway, have a great New Year and congratulations once again on a marvelous website.
San Francisco Conservatory
>> I recently read your article, "Interpretational Angst and the Bach Cello Suites." Angst is a peculiarly modern phenomenon born in one philosophical tradition. It is doubtful that such a sense existed for Bach, except as an abstract concept nurtured by the church with a bias for the clear divide between "head and heart." His compositions, which I am listening to now, contain deep reflections of the ancient tradition of "lament." The invocation of lamentation patterns in ancient music were one stage of a conceptual whole. They led beyond what we refer to as "angst" to a ritual process: lamentation, inspiration, revivification, and finally, joy/transcendence (often called "trance" by anthropology). The cello suites vividly follow this pattern.
Joy & transcendence to you through music.
>> In the latest ICS publication I read Chris Earnshaw's letter in which he touted the marvel of certain MIDI software that allowed him to "scan music" and then play it back in a pitch and tempo of his choosing. I have always hoped that I would live long enough to see such a thing. Where might I go to find out more about this marvel?
Chris Earnshaw replies: The program is called Scoremaker 2.0 from Kawai. It costs around $400 retail. It is really excellent, but you may need a Japanese computer to run it. Yamaha also sells one called XG Works v3.0, which is more like a recording studio, but also scans in music. It costs around $300. Both were awarded Software of the Year prizes in 1998.
**If you would like to respond to something you have read in 'Tutti Celli', write to firstname.lastname@example.org and type "Membership Letter" in subject field. (Letters may be edited.)**
American cellist Bernard Greenhouse, a founding member of the Beaux Arts Trio for thirty two years, has won a reputation as one of the major interpreters on his instrument, making appearances in most of the major cities of Europe and America in recital, with orchestras, in chamber music ensembles, and in recordings for CBS, RCA, Philips, Concert Hall, and the American Recording Society. He has been a member of the faculties of the Manhattan School of Music and the State University of New York at Stony Brook, from which he received an Honorary Doctorate. He has recently retired Emeritus from his position as WCSL Professor at Rutgers University and from the New England Conservatory. Mr. Greenhouse now teaches Master Classes in the United States, Canada, and Europe. His varied career has brought him recognition both as a soloist and as a chamber musician. He was recently awarded the National Service Award by Chamber Music America. In 1993 he produced a video called, "Cello Master Class with Bernard Greenhouse," published by Crescent Software.
TF: You studied with Felix Salmond, who also taught Leonard Rose.
BG: When I was 18, I had to choose between entering a pre-med program or trying out for Juilliard. I chose to try for a Juilliard fellowship, which I was awarded, and I began to study with Felix Salmond. He was sort of a funnel for talent from all over the United States, since there weren't many cellists at the time. There were only eight cellists at Juilliard, as well as at Curtis, and each one was a very gifted player.
TF: Did you attend school with Leonard Rose?
BG: No, he was at Curtis, in Philadelphia, though we were quite aware of each other because of our common teacher. I remember going to my lessons where Salmond would often say, "Oh, Bernard, I just came from Philadelphia where I have the most wonderful talent in the world, just a great, great young talent, Leonard Rose." After a while, I grew tired of hearing about Leonard Rose, and I would bristle each time he mentioned him. Naturally, being an ambitious youth, I had a high opinion of my own talent, and I wanted him tell me how great I was.
A couple of years later, the Curtis Orchestra came to New York to play a performance of "The Marriage of Figaro" with Fritz Reiner conducting, and we had to share our rooms with some of the musicians. As luck would have it, Leonard Rose was my guest. He took one look at me and said, "So you're Bernie Greenhouse! Every time I have a lesson, Felix says, ĪOh, I have the most wonderful talent in the world, just a great, great young talent, Bernard Greenhouse.ā After awhile I began to hate you."
We both had a good laugh over this and decided that this was Salmond's way of urging us on.
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I'm from Brazil, a country where classical music doesn't seem to be taken too seriously, and where studying to become a musician usually means studying to become a teacher. Some of our orchestras are very good, but the government and the people in general donāt seem to be interested in paying musicians to play classical music. The financial support that should be offered by the government does not exist, and only a few musicians play professionally after finishing college.
This is a very sad situation, which I saw more clearly when I entered the School of Music of Brasilia. The EMB (Escola de Musica de Brasilia) is one of the largest music schools in Latin America. It has about 2,000 students studying music theory, singing, and playing all kinds of instruments. Students of all ages go there at least 3 times a week to spend about 3 hours in activities such as playing in a beginners' orchestra, singing in choirs, and taking theory classes.
To anybody reading this, it would seem like a musician's paradise, but the school has one big problem. It's a public school, and the government does not seem to care about it. The school has several instruments for our use, including 15 cellos. However, many of these instruments are in need of repair. Fixing these instruments wouldn't cost much compared to what the government spends on other things, but it hasn't made the school a priority. The worst thing about the general carelessness is knowing that the public doesn't seem to see the music school as a valuable educational opportunity. As long as this situation lasts, nothing will change.
Lately, I've been thinking about building a home page for the school and for the Brazilian music industry. I don't know if it would change anything, but at least I'll be trying to help people to see how important classical music is, and what a treasure their music school is.
This instrument is called a Gehu, (pronounced Ger-hoo). The name is made up of two Chinese words "Ge" meaning revolutionary, and "Hu" which is derived from "Huqin" the generic term for all Chinese bowed string instruments.
The Gehu comes in two sizes, the Da-Gehu (large) and the Diyin Gehu (bass). In a Chinese orchestra, they take the same roles as the cello and double bass in a Western symphony orchestra. The four strings of both sizes are tuned exactly like the cello and double bass and are attached to a machine head with gears. Cello and double bass strings and bows are normally used. However, the instrumentās volume and tone quality depends upon the snake skin parchment that is attached to the body of the instrument. Great care must be taken to prevent the parchment from being damaged by humid weather. Failure to do so will result in the severe deterioration of the tone.
In the 1950s, Chinese music underwent a great change. Chinese musicians and composers were increasingly under the influence of Western ideas of orchestration. In order to create an ensemble capable of playing the new type of music, native instruments were modified and grouped in a more organized fashion. Previously, only regional folk ensembles existed, and the instruments were designed to exclusively play the music of a particular region. Now, a new type of ensemble that could play music of a pan-Chinese character was born.
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1. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma celebrates the renaming of the corner of East 46th Street and Fifth Avenue in New York to "Yo-Yo Ma Way," Tuesday, February 9, 1999. A petition has been forwarded to the city to make the temporary change permanent.
2. Bow Maker's Tragic Death
Bow maker and cellist Keith Peck died suddenly of a heart attack on November 5, 1998 at the age of 45. His work was popular with members of the Seattle Symphony. A bow he created with an amber frog was profiled in the November 1997 issue of "Strings" magazine.
3. Fred Katz Turns 80
Jazz cellist and composer, Fred Katz turned 80 years old in February.
(The following does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Internet Cello Society or its representatives. It is the opinion of an individual ICS member.)
Over the last forty years, several cellists have inspired or initiated the creation of numerous pieces for cello alone by Bulgarian composers. The result is a bevy of virtuoso solo works that will in turn inspire and challenge cellists of all nationalities. Here is a brief look at some of these pieces:
Marin GOLEMINOV(1908), Bulgaria's oldest surviving composer from the famous "second generation", is still creatively active in his ninetieth year. His SONATA for cello solo is dedicated to one of the first native born cello pedagogues in Bulgaria, Konstanin Popov (1904-1992). This 9 to 10 minute work reaches its musical climax in an extended passage of furious barriolage that later returns, thus framing the contrasting Lento and Scherzando sections. This essentially tonal music takes its inspiration from Bulgarian folk music; it is concise, idiomatic, and effective. It has been recorded by Ventsislav Nikolov on a limited edition LP of Goleminov's music on the Balkanton label.
Peter HRISTOSKOV (1917) composed his 5 to 6 minute FANTASY, Op. 15 for Professor Zdravko Yordanov of the National Music Academy in Sofia. This piece makes the most of alternations between aggressive and lyrical playing. Its explosive opening motif on the C-string is constantly foiled by a plaintive A-string melody. Open string drones and other "rustic" effects, as well as a whirlwind conclusion in perpetual motion, help this work impress an audience without over-burdening the less advanced player.
Hristoskov's RUCHENISTA, Op. 1, No. 6, originally for violin, is an excellent example of a stylized Bulgarian folk dance in a meter of 7. Asymmetrical rhythmic patterns, passages imitating the gadulka (Bulgaria's dance fiddle), and use of modes with the interval of an augmented second, give this 3 minute piece its characteristic and exciting sound. It was recorded in the Anthology of Bulgarian Classics for Violoncello.
The SONATA by Dimiter CHRISTOV (1933), a 10-minute work recorded on a Balkanton LP of Dr. Christov's music by its dedicatee, Zdravko Yordanov, features a theme modeled on western Bulgarian folk song. It is treated to a series of five contrasting variations culminating in a virtuoso dance. A finale in an unevenly divided meter of 8, also common in Bulgarian folk music, serves as an epilogue to the work. The composer is a leading musicologist on the faculties of the National Academy of Music and the New Bulgarian University.
(Click here for the complete transcript)
This website explores the advantages that the cello has over the guitar when accompanying singers and other instruments in traditional or folk music.
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>> I have been struggling with a decision on whether to play the Prelude and Fugue of the 5th Suite the way it was originally notated, or with normal tuning. I have learned it both ways, but prefer the original notation, for a variety of reasons. The problem is I've been told that it's not a good idea to use the original notation when playing for an orchestral audition, since the tuning involved can be quite stressful in the audition itself, as well as taking up time (re-tuning to normal tuning after playing the Bach).
I'd really like to hear what people on this board have to say about this issue, especially those of you who sit on audition committees. I know there's always the option of choosing another suite to play and avoiding this whole problem, but I'd like to know the best way to perform the 5th. Thanks in advance for any and all responses.
Gary Stucka replies: This is just MY opinion of course, but I'd select a different Suite. Auditions are stressful enough without having to re-tune; also, the whole cello might slip out of tune while re-tuning just the one string (most likely in late autumn months). Additionally, if you play the Suite without tuning down the A-string, you might run into a purist on the committee who'd vote you down for NOT re-tuning. PLAY IT SAFE!
David Sanders replies: I'd say just go ahead and do it with the normal tuning. I think it's a great suite for an audition, and I can't believe there would be that many a-r's on the committee to make a difference. I wouldn't try to use the original tuning and then re-tune. It's way too risky.
>> I question whether new students really understand that playing the cello consists of much more than moving one's fingers and arms. If any of you have ever observed people in an aerobics class that LOOK like they're doing everything the instructor is doing because they're in rhythm and superficially everything looks fine. If you were to look closely, the instructor is working every muscle from deep inside. What looks like a simple leg movement is being felt in a series of muscles. The same thing applies to arm movements. You can lift your arm, or you can start in your back and work a whole group. This explains why the instructor has a body to die for and the same flabby people that have been showing up and going through the motions for six months or a year are still flabby. They just don't get it! Playing the cello involves more of our body that you might think.
>> Editor's Note: The following is a discussion of the Suzuki method.
Oh, God, another victim of Suzuki. I was in that program for many, many years and when I got out, I was technically severely behind the others my age and I couldn't read a note of music. All they learn in Suzuki is how to mimic what they hear on the tape or from their teacher. Having a good ear is very important, but not at the expense of all these other things. Please consider leaving the program and finding a good private teacher. I would also recommend theory courses. In my experience, the best cellists I've known have always studied with excellent teachers privately.
I started with Suzuki piano lessons, and after 5 years I could hardly sight-read anything at all. I'm very thankful that within 3 months after starting cello (also Suzuki), my teacher had me playing in an orchestra, so I got used to sight-reading. Technique is another issue, but at least I could read.
You know, it isn't necessary to judge all Suzuki teachers by your experience. I know many good ones who do have kids reading music, playing chamber music, and learning theory. It does make it easier for someone to start earlier than a traditional teacher could, and often before the child can read anything.
I agree with you, Bob. My older daughter happened to get a Suzuki trained teacher teaching in public school. She introduced the kids to Suzuki Book 1, and a large group entered private lessons with her (not the parents like true Suzuki). The following year the school dumped her (BIG mistake) and hired a traditional teacher. The only cohesive group holding the string program together is the Suzuki kids who have had the experience of playing Bach, Boccherini, as opposed to "Mississippi Hot Dog."
I believe a modified Suzuki (with reading) is the best of both worlds. My kids read music from piano, so that was never an issue. But the interest in the music in the books really held the kids' interest. And I am constantly observing the differences between the kids in our school.
P.S. Their books are what got me back into playing after 25 years off. I don't use them now, but they sure served the purpose for someone who didn't know where she left off!!!
Just like any method of teaching, there are good and bad teachers who use the Suzuki method. I, as many teachers, had kids in my class who could not read a note, due to improper Suzuki lessons. However, I also have two friends, a violinist and a cellist, who are outstanding Suzuki teachers. They have all of their students sight-reading, playing in ensembles, doing theory and group classes, you name it...and they also have excellent technique AND are developing a sense of musicality. Their students were by far the strongest musicians I had in my orchestras. So to generalize and say that all Suzuki lessons are not good is unfair. It depends on the teacher and their expertise and commitment level. There are good and bad teachers in all methods of teaching.
>> Editor's Note: The following is a discussion on how to play the artificial harmonics in the opening passage of the Shostakovich Piano Trio in E minor.
Does anyone have any tips on practicing and playing the opening harmonics passage in the Shostakovich Piano Trio No.2? I'm 18 years old, and my trio is performing it in 3 weeks, so any advice would be appreciated!
Experiment with your bow placement for starters, getting pretty close to the bridge, use lots of bow and focus your ears on the sound you want to make, without forcing. You must get comfortable with the sound. Perhaps get some feedback from someone you trust. Some instruments emit clearer partials than others, but you don't want to do much more initially than coax the sound from the instrument. Your under-the-ear perception may not be an accurate gauge of what's coming out. In general, locating the bow near the bridge will make the difference in the projection. Try the third B harmonic on the D string and slide (not too pronouncedly) up to the octave with an unforced diminuendo until you get the right sound of the upper note in your ear, after which you can practice the upper note with more intensity (unless you love the reverse gesture). This should be a singing, ethereally intense passage. Save your strength--you'll need it in this piece.
Use the thumb nail instead of the fleshy part of the thumb. It makes the harmonic much more clear.
Try practicing it in octaves as well. This will make your intonation more solid. Also, alternate between the octaves and the harmonics.
1. Bow lightly , relatively fast, and NEAR the bridge.
2. Use both 4th and 5th (between thumb and 3rd finger) harmonics to minimize shifting.
3. Take your time when shifting. Harmonics (especially artificial ones) don't "appreciate" jerkiness.
4. Make sure you visualize the circumstances that led to the composition of the work and the personal experiences of Shostakovich during the war, and after. This is a meaningful piece (I find it's best played in winter, when the audience relates better to the lifelessness/hopelessness/desperation/rage that permeates it).
MUSIC FESTIVAL WATCH
"Music Making at Hiersac" a workshop with Fine Arts Quartet cellist Wolfgang Laufer, May 16-23, 1999, in France.www.yukonho.com/musicmaking
New Directions Cello Festival Univ of Connecticut at Storrs, June 11-13, 1999.http://www.clarityconnect.com/webpages/ndca/festival/fest99/index.htm
Third Australasian International Cello Festival and Competition
Christchurch, New Zealand
July 19-25, 1999
The Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Lubeck, Germany, July 11 - Aug 29, 1999www.shmf.de/mk-index-e.html
Cellibash ā99 St Augustine, Florida, August 2-7, 1999http://home.att.net/~pineda/cellibash.html
SummerKeys Cello Workshop, Maine Aug 23-27 and Aug 30 - Sep 3, 1999www.nemaine.com/summerkeys/cello.htm
And looking further ahead:
Manchester International Cello Festival, Manchester U.K. May 3-7, 2000.
World Cello Congress III, Baltimore, Maryland May 28 ö June 4, 2000www.towson.edu/~breazeal/cello.htm
Leonard Rose International Cello Competition and Festival, College Park,
Maryland July 19-28, 2001.www.inform.umd.edu/rossboroughfestival/rose
** If you have announcements, comments or reviews of music festivals, please
write Roberta Rominger at firstname.lastname@example.org **
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** Members can submit announcements or news to email@example.com **
1. Starker Cello Class
The Indiana University School of Music will be presenting the Janos Starker Cello Class from July 15 - 18, 1999.
This class is open to professional cellists, established ensembles, students, teachers, and advanced amateurs. Chamber groups (more than two players) will receive a tuition discount. Pianists (for duos) do not have to register or pay tuition. The class covers all periods for cello and ensembles with cello. Auditors are welcome in the class. Practice facilities will be available for performers. Qualified pre-college cellists will be accepted; however, dormitory housing is not available for participants under 21. Pre-college participants should be accompanied by a parent or special arrangements should be made for housing and general welfare.
For more information contact: Office of Special Programs, Indiana University School of Music, Bloomington, IN 47405. Phone: 812-855-1814 Fax: 812-855-9847 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Irene Sharp Cello Seminar
Irene Sharp Cello Seminar, June 14-18, 1999
Mannes College of Music, New York
Phone: (650) 493-1545, FAX: (650) 858-2075
3. Margaret Rowell Cello Seminar
Margaret Rowell Cello Seminar, June 7-11, 1999
San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Phone: (415) 759-3454, FAX: (415) 759-3499
4. Workshops at Summer Keys
The Cello Workshop at SummerKeys opened its doors in 1995, utilizing the same basic precept as the original piano program: an intensive practice/study vacation for busy adults (who rarely have this kind of time to devote to their instrument during the rest of the year) in a breathtakingly beautiful setting, with half of each day available for sightseeing. August 23 - 27; August 30 - September 3, 1999
5. Graduate Assistantship in Orchestra/Strings
Virginia Commonwealth University
School of the Arts
Department of Music
Qualifications: A Bachelor's Degree in music and significant competence on violin, viola or cello.
Duties: To assist with the orchestra in logistics and library, to work alongside the Director of Orchestral Activities in advancing the Student-Faculty orchestra program, and to provide musical leadership in the string section of the orchestra while pursuing the Master's in Performance, Music Education or Conducting.
Starting Date: August 16, 1999
Deadline: Applications must be postmarked by March 15, 1999
Stipend: $6200.00 plus waiver of tuition. Assistantship is for one year, renewable upon satisfactory performance.
Applications: Contact Linda Johnston, email@example.com or Department of Music, 922 Park AV, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, 23284-2004.
6. String Subscription Service
As their name suggests, they offer strings to musicians by subscription. They can be found at http://www.subscriptionstrings.com.
** ICS NET Resource Editor: Deborah Netanel at firstname.lastname@example.org **
String Pedagogy Notebook
Music Magic: A Piano Exploration
Davina Music Publications
Austrian Master Classes in Chamber Music
http://www.meisterkurse.or.at/kammermusikCopyright © 1999 Internet Cello Society
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Director: John Michel
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