Gregory Beaver


About Gregory Beaver

Gregory Beaver is the cellist of the Chiara String Quartet. As a part of the quartet he has performed around the world, won accolades in both national and international string quartet competitions, and made several recordings. Along with the other Chiara members, he is Assistant Research Professor and artist-in-residence at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he coaches chamber music, teaches cello and helps coordinate the chamber music program. As a soloist, Mr. Beaver won the 1997 Corpus Christi Young Artist’s Competition and was selected as one of the two quarterfinalists from the United States for the Australasian International Cello Competition in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Upcoming solo performances include the Elgar Cello Concerto with the UNL Symphony in the spring of 2014. In 2011-2012, Mr. Beaver performed the complete Unaccompanied Cello Suites of Bach in a 4-concert series featuring both he and violinist Hyeyung Julie Yoon playing the complete Unaccompanied Sonatas and Partitas for Violin. He has concertized in a duo with Naumburg Competition-winning pianist Soyeon Kate Lee. His recent solo performances range from concerto appearances to a New York recital event where he presented the complete cycle of Beethoven’s cello and piano music. Mr. Beaver has worked with great artists such as Pierre Boulez in a special Carnegie Hall performance of Messagesquisse, and as principal cellist of the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra he has worked with conductors such Claudio Abbado and Robert Spano. Gregory recently performed the complete Brahms cello sonatas with pianist Paul Barnes, and performed Dvorak’s cello concerto with the UNL Symphony in 2007.

Gregory started cello with Char Sherman in the Okemos Suzuki program in Okemos, Michigan. He studied with Marilyn Kesler and continued his studies with renowned pedagogue Louis Potter, jr. He has a BM cum laude from Rice University where he studied with Norman Fischer, an MM from The Juilliard School where he studied with Joel Krosnick, and an Artist Diploma in String Quartet Studies from The Juilliard School where he studied with the Juilliard String Quartet. Gregory is also an internationally recognized expert in the PHP computer programming language, and his book The PEAR Installer Manifesto: Revolutionizing PHP Application Development and Deployment was released by Packt Publishing in October of 2006. His blog is a popular source of information on advanced cello techniques and has the definitive article on traveling with a cello by air.

The Chiara String Quartet
Lot 49 – Gregory Beaver’s Blog
University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Vowels and Sound Production on the Cello — by Gregory Beaver

Originally published on   For many of my student years as a cellist, I struggled to achieve a fully resonant sound on the cello. The ever-elusive goal would seem within grasp, and then I would start trying and tension would squelch the sound. Or I would finally achieve relaxation, and look down to see my bow gently dusting the edge of the fingerboard with rosin. Rarely was I able to fully engage the core of the string while releasing energy through my body. As a teacher, I found producing a great sound to be a particularly interesting mission. I learned early on that telling students to play close to the bridge simply doesn’t work. If a student doesn’t naturally play close to the bridge, the bow will hover near [...]

By |2018-12-19T18:11:03+00:00January 29th, 2018|Categories: In the Practice Room, Self Discovery, Teaching|Tags: , , , |

Introducing: Impossible Etudes and Possible Etudes for Cello! — by Gregory Beaver

Etudes that fill a hole in the rep that are actually fun to play. In the world of etudes for cello, there are many great etudes to choose from, whether it is the Duport, Popper, or my personal favorite, the Piatti. The Popper High School Op. 73 is particularly amazing for the range of cello technique it encompasses. In addition, its focus on chromaticism makes it very useful for developing the ear. However, there are some holes in the etude literature that keep popping up. For example, the idea of finger independence while playing double stops is partially found in Piatti Caprices, but true finger independence is elusive for many of my students even after playing these etudes. Polyrhythms are a perfect vehicle for this challenge. Many contemporary works require [...]

By |2018-12-19T18:11:21+00:00December 20th, 2017|Categories: Beyond the Traditional, In the Practice Room, Repertoire|

Turning on Your Musicality — by Gregory Beaver

“You can teach how to play the cello, but you can’t teach musicality!” I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this old chestnut espoused, both by teachers and by students. For many years, I believed it. But is it really true? Let’s start by asking the unasked question: what is musicality? Can we even agree on which performances are musical as opposed to “technical?” After years of performing, teaching, and carefully observing both my own playing and that of others, I’ve noticed a curious phenomenon: everybody sucks at answering this question. Many times I have been upset at myself for playing a wooden performance, and then upon hearing a recording of that performance, was moved by what I heard. Many more times, the opposite was true. Very [...]

By |2019-05-16T19:15:06+00:00October 30th, 2017|Categories: In the Practice Room, Self Discovery, Teaching|Tags: , , , |

Improve Your Talent: Breathing Awareness and Control — by Gregory Beaver

In "Developing a Technique to Improve Your Talent," I laid out 6 things that I have been using actively in my teaching to improve my students’ talent.  This post will investigate the first of these, Breathing awareness and control. “I am so totes aware of my breathing!” you might be thinking, especially if you are a vocalist or a woodwind/brass player.  However, in my experience, there are very few people who are truly aware of their breath.  Breath awareness is not just about being able to breathe in and out and notice it.  It is the ability to do something very complicated and still notice your breathing.  For those who do not use their breath to create the music, it is about using your breath to provide energy and power when needed, and [...]

Developing a Technique to Improve Your Talent

  In the United States, there has been a strong push to reform our general education in recent years, with federal initiatives like No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top capturing headlines as innovative ways to improve the worst-performing schools in our country.  On the other extreme are teachers like me who are working primarily with students one on one in intensive hour-long lessons on a weekly basis to achieve the pinnacle of possibility.  One thing that has always fascinated me is the question of talent: is it innate, or can one learn it?  Many of my teachers have made statements such as “anyone can be taught how to play the cello, but there are some things that are innate and cannot be taught,” “That’s god-given talent” and so on.  I have [...]