An ICS biography

Eugene Friesen

Eugene Friesen is at the forefront of a new generation of musicians versed in classical, popular and world music. A graduate of the Yale School of Music, his music and original style on the cello and electric cello continue to break new ground. He received a Grammy Award as a member of the Paul Winter Consort for the 1994 album Spanish Angel, and has worked with such diverse artists as Dave Brubeck, Toots Thielemans, Betty Buckley, Anthony Davis and Will Ackerman.

Mr. Friesen’s gift for the responsive flow of improvisatory music has been featured in concerts all over the world with the Paul Winter Consort, the Trio Globo, which he founded in 1992 with Howard Levy and Glen Velez, and in concerts with poets Yevgeny Yevtushenko and Coleman Barks. He has performed as a soloist at the International Cello Festival in Manchester, England; Recontres d’Ensembles de Violoncelles in Beauvais, France; and at the First World Cello Congress in College Park, Maryland.

His compositional credits include three albums of original music: New Friend, Arms Around You, and The Song of Rivers; Grasslands, a symphony premiered on the Kansas prairie in 1997; Earth Requiem: Stories of Hope, an oratorio first performed in 1991; The Brementown Musicians with Bob Hoskins for Rabbit Ears Productions in 1992; Sabbaths, settings of poems by Wendell Berry, premiered in Vermont in 1999; and numerous scores for documentary films.

Mr. Friesen is the 1999 recipient of a Continental Harmony grant to compose a symphonic setting of Carl Sandburg’s Prairie, which will be premiered this June at PrairieFest in Kansas. CelloMan, his one-man show for young audiences, features a wide variety of music on solo cello: classical, jazz, blues and rock. Created in collaboration with maskmaker/director Robert Faust, CelloMan has been performed widely in the USA. The CelloMan video was released in 1999.

Mr. Friesen is on the faculty of the Berklee College of Music in Boston.