History of CelloBello
CelloBello was born out of a desire to maximize the educational potential of the internet and offer the highest level of online musical instruction to cellists without access to teachers, to stimulate musical and technical discussion and exchange, and to foster a global cello community.
In 2002, Harvard University doctoral candidate Elizabeth Aureden approached Paul Katz with the idea of making his teaching and his studio of students the topic of her dissertation on legacy and mentoring. Her research included spending the next two and half years observing, documenting, and filming lessons in Katz’s studio at the New England Conservatory, as well as conducting in-depth interviews with him and his students. Aureden wrote her doctoral thesis, The Performer Teaches (2006), based on this research.
In 2006, with an introduction from the New England Conservatory President Daniel Steiner, Katz and Aureden took some of her lesson videos to the Educational Media Foundation of WGBH in Boston, with the idea of creating a DVD on cello pedagogy. In preparation for the meeting, Katz suggested bringing lesson clips that non-musicians could understand as “We will be speaking to a room of people that don’t play cello.”
As non-musicians, the WGBH team was surprised and excited by the fact that they could understand the lessons and hear the students’ improvements. WGBH Executive Producer Arthur Smith felt that the videos showed an insight into the “mysterious world of the artist” which would be interesting to PBS audiences, and he proposed a film – an idea that had never occurred to Katz and Aureden.
He also suggested that the future of education was on the web, as opposed to DVDs, and said that WGBH would like to help Katz develop a two-pronged project: A PBS type film as a companion piece to an educational website.
The website would initially focus on specific pedagogy, while the film would address larger issues such as motivation, parental pressures and community expectations, fear of failure, and making career decisions.
Filmmaker Josh Aronson of New York was selected by Arthur Smith of WGBH and Katz, and with an early working title of The Making of an Artist, the film began shooting in 2007. 13 of the 16 projected/budgeted shoot days were completed before the film was put on hold towards the end of 2008 when the worsening economic crisis affected funding.
In 2009, with 80 hours of filming completed but not enough funds to finish the film, Katz decided to use the footage to begin a website. Tony Woodcock, then President of NEC, supported a fundraising effort to create the website. Rafael deStella and Katz designed the original site and Edward Lesser, CFO of NEC provided financial guidance.
The CelloBello website was launched in March 2010. In the years since its inception, the site has grown to include contributions from many of the world’s leading professionals cellists and pedagogues.
In 2016, the film that was originally envisioned was completed and released. Directed by Josh Aronson, “Talent Has Hunger” opened to critical acclaim. It is available on DVD from First Run Features of New York, and via download on iTunes. Subtitled versions are available in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean on Vimeo.
In 2018-19, “Talent Has Hunger” was seen on over 200 PBS stations across the nation.
In 2018, CelloBello was granted 501(c)(3) non-profit status.
Looking to the Future
We will always stay true to our roots in education and our mission to “nurture and strengthen a global cello community through free online instruction and advice from renowned cellists and teachers.”
- 2002: Harvard University doctoral candidate Elizabeth Aureden conducts initial research
- 2006: WGBH Boston proposes the idea of a film and website to Paul Katz
- 2007: Filming begins on “Talent Has Hunger” (working title: “The Making of an Artist”)
- 2008: Filming suspended
- 2010: CelloBello website launches
- 2014: Filming resumes on “Talent Has Hunger”
- 2016: “Talent Has Hunger” completed; theatrical/DVD release
- 2017: CelloBello website redesigned
- 2018: CelloBello became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
- 2018: CelloBello added new content sections, including CelloBooks and For Teachers lesson videos
- 2019: CelloBello announced a merger with the Internet Cello Society, with CelloBello taking over the archival content of ICS
- 2020: CelloBello launched CelloKids and offered its first Teacher Training Seminar and first Audition Preparation Workshop