Throughout the music world, there are dedicated music lovers behind the scenes who work very hard to provide opportunities for musicians of all ages, most on a regional level like Frances. But few are as energetic as she. What's my point? You don't have to be Yo-Yo, or even a professional cellist, to inspire thousands of musicians, and to be a world class ambassador for classical music.
>> Thanks for publishing my picture as "Picture of the Week." I could not believe it, and my colleagues were completely astonished. We live in a fantastic time -- when computers and technologies work together in order to help people. Your site is gorgeous, keep going!!! I've become addicted.
>>Thanks for another excellent interview, this time with Truls Mørk. He sounds like a truly passionate and warm human being.
>> I have been interested in Feuermann since I was a young kid. I have all his recorded legacy on CD's, LP's, and quite a number of original 78's! About a year ago I heard a live recording on the radio of the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto recorded shortly before his death. An Englishwoman was commenting and apparently was in possession of the recording. She implied that it would be issued on CD. Does anybody have any knowledge about this? If so, please let me know.
>> I have written, and performed a couple of weeks ago, a composition for cello, didjeridu and flute. I organized the concert as part of my "graduating from UC Berkeley with honors" project. The composition, "Invisible Souls," lasting for 12 minutes, was responded to very warmly by the 100 or so member audience. In particular, people (academics and mostly "others") commented on the amazing combination of didjeridu and cello. I'm wondering if you could open up a way for me to send tapes to some performing cellists...maybe they will also enjoy playing the music.
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by Tim Finholt
Sitting third chair in Philharmonia Northwest, one of the best community orchestras in the Seattle area, is 71 year old cellist Frances Walton, one of the most radiant musical souls I have ever met. "I'm 71 and I love it. As long as I can move without arthritis, the world is good."
One wouldn't necessarily expect to find such a powerful musical force in a place like Shorecrest High School auditorium, the orchestra's concert venue, but there she enthusiastically plays. As I watch her, I can't help but wonder if anybody realizes just what she has done for classical music -- formed and conducted two orchestras, conducted a third, founded a music camp, co-founded a music library, formed a statewide concert tour, and inspired countless musicians of all ages. She is a real jewel.
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This is where I began studying the cello, and where I still am today. When I started in 1993, there were only two cello teachers: Ataíde de Mattos and Pachá Gallina. Nearly all the students were taken by Ataide de Mattos, as Pachá Gallina was (and is) quite involved in chamber music with his Trio Artesanal. To say all cello students at that time was to mean ten, maybe fifteen cellists-to-be, of which at most five had their own instruments, the rest of us relying on the school's cellos. Nobody played much, and the highest goal was to reach Duport's studies, and maybe the Saint-Sa‘ns Concerto.
That was the picture then. So what happened next? The year 1993 marked the beginning of an incredibly successful change in the approach to the cello at EMB, starting with teaching techniques. Ataíde de Mattos had developed and was starting to use a new way of teaching the cello, based on movement and position perception, through "recordings" and "reinforcements" of those movements and positions. All your basic cello knowledge/technique is generated from the inside, by comparison with patterns you've "recorded" once. The results are amazing. Were we delivered from lengthy studies? Certainly not, but big leaps were possible in the early steps. I was able to play a four-octave scale within three months, and many have done the same since, or have done better. By that time, Ataíde de Mattos was also making his own cellos so his students could have their own instruments at affordable prices, not needing the horrible school instruments anymore. Naturally, this brought new life to the cello class. And the picture now is somewhat different.
We now have seven cello teachers (including Pachá Gallina, who still teaches), two of which follow Ataíde's methods. We have over 40 cello students, including children, a new addition to our class. Lots of music is being performed by the students, including all six Bach Suites. Bachianas No. 1 has been performed three or four times, Bachianas No. 5 twice with a soprano and once with a clarinet (and we're planning on calling a flute ensemble next year), and there are lots of easy pieces with beginners' cello ensembles. We are now playing Grützmacher, Piatti, and Popper etudes as well.
A great deal of this improvement happened because of "Cello Weeks." In the first semester of 1994 (that's Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, Fall for us), Ataíde de Mattos organized a whole week of concerts and recitals performed by cello students. Everybody played something, from Dotzauer duets to my incredibly out of tune First Suite, and a nice Brahms E minor first movement by a more advanced student. That was the first Cello Week, and every cellist in the School loved it, though no one else in town heard about it. But we did it again the following semester, with more people watching and, of course, more students playing. The "snowball" was thus formed.
Later, Korean cellos arrived in Brazil, so even more students could afford their own instruments. Now, advanced and advancing students set new standards for the incoming beginners, and the new ones advance even more quickly. There's a student with less than a year and a half of cello lessons who reads Duport 11! Some start the cello as a second instrument, but soon make it their main concern. And we have received cellists from the University (such as Guerra Vicente, Ataíde de Mattos' teacher, and a former student of Navarra's) as special guests in the Cello Weeks. Thanks to their participation, some world premieres were made at EMB during the 9th and 10th Cello Weeks.
So this is where we stand now, full of energy, aiming our cellos at the next century!
by Dimitry Markevitch
Cello playing has developed in a very haphazard manner. Some individual performers brought their idiosyncrasies, which are usually too personal to be used by other cellists, but on the whole one has to admit that our technique has basically not changed all that much since 1800. The definitive modern treatise on cello fingerings has yet to be written.
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by Marvin Ayres
(The following review does not necessarily reflect the position of the Internet Cello Society. It is the opinion of an individual ICS member.)
The first thing you discover about the Silent Electric Cello is that it is an illusion. It is a cello, as we know it, in name only. What we're dealing with here is a completely different instrument. That's not to say that it isn't useful or enjoyable. It's just that you have to quickly dispense with your concept of orthodox technique and carefully crafted subtleties, and adapt to the brave new world of its electric possibilities.
When you first set eyes on it the effect is quite striking. I like the visual design very much, and the materials used are high quality. It is essentially one piece of thin solid mahogany stretching from just below the fingerboard to the tail piece. The strangeness is that there are two plastic mouldings to give it the cello shape, except that one side has its 'rib' missing. A separate rest slots in to enable you to hold it against your chest, since there isn't a back.
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This excellent website includes jazz cello lesson materials, tips on amplification and pick-ups, advice on traveling with your cello, a list of recommend jazz cello CD's, audio files, and much more.
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I need help on how to do flying staccato. Can anybody help?
Victor Sazer replies: For flying staccato, you might try to move your arm in an arc so that your bow moves around the string; down-bows in a counter-clockwise direction and up-bows moving clock-wise. You might find it helpful to start with smaller groups rather than trying to use the whole bow.
For example: you might begin by playing 4-note groups, then 5-note groups. As you improve control, keep adding notes until you can play what ever number of notes you need with confidence.
Moving your bow around the string in general enables you to have greater control than playing on top of the string. This is especially evident when you need to play short or staccato notes. When you travel in an arc, you are already moving away from the string so it is easy to snap it off to shape your note to the exact length that you want. If you play in a straight line on the top surface of the string you may have to do an additional movement to get the bow off the string. Also, when you go around the string you end up a bit on the left side of the string on your down-bows and on the right side on your up-bows. This enables you to pull the string using friction rather than pressing it down or putting more weight on it. This helps to produce a free ringing sound with less effort.
First of all, let's congratulate Tracie on a really excellent paper she did on Schelomo, currently on view in the [July/August 1999] newsletter.
I notice she didn't discuss the famous misprint in the cello part that has caused so many cellists to shimmy and shake. The bar with the quarter-tone indication (1 before figure 36) appears to ask for a note that is higher than the previous one, which makes no sense whatever. Someone inserted a "+" sign there, which is not in the piano score. Bloch's intentions are simple and logical when you think about it: he just wanted a falling three-note sequence of Db down to C with the quarter-tone in the middle. But the publishers messed up, and most performances and recordings of the work are marred by the resultant renderings.
>>Jacqueline du Pré
I was at one of Jacqueline du Pré's Cleveland Orchestra performances in the early 70's. I have always remembered two things quite vividly. First, she was wearing a rather girlish gown with a big ruffle on the bottom. It was the kind of thing you might see someone wearing for a barefoot walk in a meadow rather than for a performance with a great orchestra. I was kind of taken aback by seeing such a famous artist dressed more casually than most of the female soloists I had seen. Second, she walked on the stage very sprightly, with youthful vigor, and a beaming smile. She seemed extremely full of life and enthusiasm.
Sometime afterward, I don't know if was a matter of weeks or months, I heard the news over the radio that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. That image of her has haunted me ever since -- the image of the smiling, lively girl in the carefree dress, putting up such a front for the audience, while she was already shattered inside.
I recently read passages pertaining to her final performances in the "other" book (can't remember the author right now). It mentioned those performances in Cleveland as being among her last and seemed to indicate that she somehow managed to perform reasonably well, but soon afterwards everything came crashing down. All of us, cellists and non-cellists alike, were shocked at the news, especially after having seen what turned out to be one of her final performances. No one would have guessed from her demeanor on stage.
>>Haydn D Major Concerto Editions
I just bought the music of the Haydn D Major Concerto published by International Music Company and edited by Gavaert and Rose. To get an idea of how it should sound, I turned on the famous Rostropovich 2-Haydn CD and followed the notes in my music. To my amazement, and amusement, I found out that either Rostropovich has added lines to Haydn's work, or Gevaert/Rose have removed lines. In many places, notes don't match, Rostropovich stops where I have music, or my notes end but he keeps playing.... And, in the third movement Slava doesn't play a cadenza, but I have one! What is going on? Where can I find Rostropovich's edition, or should I just play what Rose wrote?
Gary Stucka replies: The problem lies with the version as arranged by Mr. Gavaert! This was the "standard" performing edition for years. I suppose it's akin to the Gruetzmacher Boccherini B-flat concerto that we've all known for so long except that Gavaert didn't merge several pieces into one whole! Even Casals recorded this Haydn version in the late 40's. Rose was probably merely hired by International to edit the Gevaert edition.
David Sanders replies: My suggestion would be NOT to play the Rose/Gavaert edition. It has long-since been restored by most cellists, and I'm frankly a little surprised that it is still available. Except for the fact that it has Rose's editings, I would assume it would have been taken off the market years ago.
>>Who wrote the Haydn D Major Concerto?
One of my former teachers, Dudley Powers, used to say, if Anton Kraft wrote this concerto, where's the rest of the music he wrote? Pretty good for a one-timer. I frankly would like to believe that Haydn wrote it, just like I'd like to believe that Shakespeare wrote his plays, even though some people say he couldn't possibly have done so.
I'm talking off the top of my head now, but what I recall is that the evidence that the piece was written by Haydn is 1) Haydn's entry of the opening theme (the orchestra theme, not the cello entrance) in his personal catalogue of works, and 2) a fairly recent discovery of a set of parts either in Haydn's or Eissler's (his main copyist's) hand. Strong evidence, to be sure.
I would just suggest that folks set the score to the "Haydn" D major concerto side by side with a score or scores of concerti that WERE by Haydn; specifically the C major concerto, the C and G major violin concerti, and the D major piano concerto. Just look at them. Not one measure of the D bears Haydn's trademark harmonic invention or rhythmic variety. The second measure of the cello theme: A chromatic scale??? IN HAYDN!?!?!? Please. I have no idea who wrote it, but as to where Kraft's other music is, one place is on the recording of the Kraft concerto that Bylsma made. In it, by the way, he writes liner notes theorizing that Haydn orchestrated the concerto for Kraft as a gesture of friendship and support. Who knows? All I know is that there is NO similarity between the D major concerto and the authentic concerti by Haydn, in the large structure or the small details. Not to say it isn't a lovely piece, whoever wrote it.
>>Comparing musicians of the past and present.
It is very clear that the old greats, like Heifetz, Rachmaninov, Horowitz, and Kreisler, had very individual styles that are clearly audible no matter what composer they play. In some cases, some might claim that their individual styles overwhelm the composers, e.g. Heifetz in Bach, Horowitz in Mozart, etc. And yet even if the style is not what we expect, it is still very beautiful. (Why is it assumed these days that every musician must play every composer well?)
>From our study with musicians of the older generation and from their recordings, we can tell that they were generally much more comfortable changing dynamics, articulation and sometimes even notes to do what they felt best suited the music. And yet they were very concerned with doing justice to the composer. Their written record resounds with this theme (as in Feuermann's writings, Heifetz interviews, etc.) Perhaps their conception of what 'following the composers intentions' meant was different than today's? Fascinating....
No one can say that modern performers are unconcerned with the indications of the composer. I have never met any decent musician who was not very concerned with accuracy and detail. Most performers today give this enormous amounts of attention.
It is not correct to say that performers in the past were more concerned with the composers' intent or that performers today are not. That is obviously not the cause of the problem. Perhaps the problem lies more with many modern players inability to understand the art of phrasing. They over-exaggerate and over-dramatize, slow down tempos, distort phrases, and try to do far too much with each little segment of a phrase, losing the long line in the process.
1. New Cello Sonata
Wisconsin composer Brian Nelson is assembling a consortium of cellists to commission a new sonata. In 1997, Brian completed his "Vocalise for Solo Cello" which has since seen seven performances in Wisconsin and Indiana and has been broadcast on Wisconsin Public Radio. Brian is deeply devoted to this great instrument and envisions a new, multi-movement work for Cello and Piano, approximately 20 minutes in duration and available for premiere in Fall 2000. If you are interested in this project, please contact Brian Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website:
2. Australian Bulletin Board
The Australian Teachers Association recently included a message board for music teachers and students at http://www.musicteachers.com.au. Feel free to post details of your student concerts, student exam successes, or instruments for sale .
3. Janos Starker honored
Janos Starker was the only musician to be elected this year to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, his name appearing between Steven Spielberg and Meryl Streep.
4. New Cello Book
The Cambridge Companion to the Cello edited by Robin Stowell, is a survey of the cello. It deals with the history and construction of the cello and bow, discusses the careers of most distinguished cellists throughout history, surveys the repertoire, and reviews teaching methods, technical developments, and issues of performance practice.
The San Francisco Conservatory of Music has appointed Jean-Michel Fonteneau as a professor of cello for 1999-2000. He replaces Clive Greensmith, who only recently joined the cello faculty and then resigned.
6. Prize Winners
Sarah Carter of Seattle, student of Toby Saks, took first prize in the Pre-College Strings, as well as the Young Artist Award, in the 1999 Corpus Christi Young Artists' Competition.
20-year-old Polish cellist Rafal Kwiatkowski was a first prize winner in the Young Concert Artists International Auditions.
Cellists Sarah McMahon and Jane O'Hara were among the young Irish musicians awarded prizes in the Fifth West Belfast Classical Music Bursary Awards.
Cardiff-born cellist Thomas Carroll, 24, a student of Heinrich Schiff, was awarded a string prize in the Royal Over-Seas League Annual Music Competition.
18-year-old cellist Guy Johnston won the 1999 Guilhermina Suggia Gift. He will be studying at Eastman with Steven Doane next year.
7. World Cello Congress Composition Contest
The World Cello Congress III will be awarding a $5,000 prize in its International Composer's Competition. The winning composition will be played by a cello ensemble of more than 200 players on June 3, 2000, at the conclusion of the Congress. Compositions must be received by November 1, 1999. See http://www.towson.edu/~breazeal/cello.htm for more information.
8. World Cello Congress Master Class Contest
The World Cello Congress III is looking for 38 young cellists, ages 12-24, to participate in one of the many master classes that will occur May 28-June 4, 2000. A tape of one movement from either the Dvorak, Haydn D, or Schumann concerti is required as part of the selection process. The deadline for all tapes is December 31, 1999. See http://www.towson.edu/~breazeal/cello.htm for more information.
9. Starker Celebration
Indiana University School of Music and the Eva Janzer Memorial Cello Center cordially invite all cellists to participate in a gala event September 14, 1999 honoring Janos Starker on the occasion of his 75th birthday. The celebration's main events will include a concert featuring Janos Starker, William Preucil, Jr., Gary Hoffman, Maria Kliegel, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, and Mstislav Rostropovich conducting the Indiana University Philharmonic Orchestra. A mass cello-ensemble will crown the festivities and every one is encouraged to participate.
Executive Vice President Eva Janzer Memorial Cello Center
Indiana University School of Music
Bloomington, Indiana 47405
Office: (812) 855-6644
Fax: (812) 855-4936
And in 2000:
World Cello Congress III
Baltimore, Maryland May 28 - June 4, 2000. 53 events, including concerts, recitals, masterclasses, seminars, and exhibitions. Publicity is out now, and you can join their mailing list by writing to World Cello Congress III, Towson University, 8000 York Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21252-0001. http://www.towson.edu/~breazeal/cello.htm
For those who really like to plan ahead:
Manchester International Cello Festival
Please note that the Manchester (U.K.) International Cello Festival scheduled for May 2000 has been postponed. New dates: 2-6 May 2001.
Leonard Rose International Cello Competition and Festival
College Park, Maryland July 19-28, 2001. http://www.inform.umd.edu/rossboroughfestival/rose
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