Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger

About Guest Blogger

In addition to our regular contributors, CelloBello regularly features guest bloggers on the website; past guests have included Antonio Lysy, Inbal Segev, Colin Carr, and many more.

If you have a cello-related blog you would like to suggest for publication on CelloBello, please email jamie@cellobello.com.

Preparing for Cello Auditions as a High School Senior — by Drew Cone

Applying and auditioning for schools can be really scary at times, but it doesn’t have to be. I’ve been working on my repertoire for auditions for well over a couple of months now and throughout that time, I’ve learned a few things when it comes to preparing for college. Now, just to clarify, I’m no expert on this stuff; I just thought that maybe if someone if my position had any questions needing answering, it might be nice to hear from another person in the same situation, especially since I’ve already recorded most of my prescreenings and have that experience under my belt. Even if it’s a tiny tip that helps, I hope that this could help out people my age with the same aspirations! Prescreenings The nice thing about [...]

By |2018-08-23T16:49:12+00:00October 31st, 2016|Categories: Auditions, High School Blogs|Tags: , , |

How Music and Cello Changed My Life — by Nathan Chan

Hey CelloBello readers! My name is Nathan Chan and I’ve been playing the cello for over 17 years. Throughout this time period, my relationship with the cello has been an ongoing evolution in the way I see music as an incredibly powerful tool of expression and creativity. What started as a hobby in the beginning of my musical learning initially evolved into a battle for technical mastery and now has begun to blossom as a freeing medium for spontaneity and exploration. As a child born and raised in the 90s, my parents were very supportive of me. My father, a Hong-Kong born cardiologist who emigrated to the states for college, represented the discipline and detail-oriented leader in my early life. My mother, a Chinese-Canadian who is a Juilliard-educated pianist, was [...]

Opening the Beethoven A Major Cello Sonata: Obsessing Over the First Five Bars — by Brian Hodges

The five Beethoven Cello Sonatas are iconic for a number of reasons. First and foremost, they’re some of the first pieces to include the cello in a true duo partnership, something the violin had been enjoying for a long time. While the first two sonatas (Op. 5, 1 and 2) are actually listed as Sonata for Piano and Violoncello, things have changed by the third sonata, Op. 69 in A Major, with the cello now getting top billing. The sonata was written during Beethoven’s middle period and immediately one can sense his expansive creativity at work in full force. The opening is one of the more notorious openings in all of the cello literature. It starts with the famous melody played by the cello alone, like a soliloquy.   [...]

By |2017-10-30T04:40:05+00:00June 15th, 2016|Categories: Artistic Vision, Repertoire|Tags: , , , |

Some Hassles of International Cello Travel

By Zachary Mowitz: Curtis Institute cello student Zachary Mowitz tells the story of his recent travel to Europe, and the stress and aggravation caused by inconsistent cello policies between airlines, and untrained and uninformed airline personnel. As a student cellist I've had several occasions to travel by plane with my cello, both domestically and internationally. This is the first journey where I've had any difficulty at all-- every time I've traveled before, I've always been let on (I even traveled to Europe with Lufthansa a couple years ago, and they were one of the most helpful back then), with at most a look of incredulity at my bringing a big guitar on board. In fact, everything looked all right, at first, for this flight. Lufthansa let me check in (at Philly for a flight to Valencia, [...]

Despicable WestJet Airlines Once Again Refuses Cello in Cabin!

    Cello boarding pass correctly purchased by Nathan Chan. (CBBG stands for Cabin Baggage.)     Canadian-based WestJet Airlines, to my knowledge, is the only airline with an official policy of not allowing a cello onboard, yet they seem to have no problem selling a seat for a cello and then denying boarding at the gate! Read in the Boston Globe how this happened to me in 2013. The situation has been suffered by cellists numerous times since, the latest being Juilliard student Nathan Chan, who I applaud for fighting back! By contrast, competitor Air Canada recently adopted a a “friendly skies” policy towards musical instruments as cabin baggage, and in the United States, the Passenger Bill of Rights says that airlines must allow the purchase of [...]

By |2018-11-30T20:16:13+00:00January 26th, 2016|Categories: Cello Travel|Tags: , , , , |

A Remembrance of Things Present — by Elena Delbanco

Bernard Greenhouse with his daughter, Elena   In the aftermath of a grand celebration of Bernie’s 95th birthday, in Wellfleet, five years ago—a dinner for seventy five people—Bernie and I sat at the round, marble table so many of you may remember, facing the harbor. As guests had arrived and the house reverberated with laughter and conversation, he had lain in bed, telling us he was not feeling all that well and didn’t have the energy to get dressed. We told him he didn’t need to dress; it was a come-as-you-are party and his best bathrobe would be fine. And so, my father attended, making a grand entrance into the living room in his wheelchair, to applause and the beginning of a long night of toasts and merriment. A fire burned, the room [...]

The DO (C) That Changed My Life — by Amit Peled

Could one note be so significant in a musician’s life? At age fifteen, before entering a routine weekly music history class at the Telma-Yellin High School for the Arts in Tel Aviv, Israel, my answer would have been definitely NO. However, in that lesson we learned about the romantic period piano trio form, and our teacher decided to play a record of the slow movement of the Dvorak Trio in F minor op. 65. As a young cellist I must embarrassingly admit that I only knew the Dvorak cello concerto, the ultimate dream of every cellist to study and perform. Back to the classroom, we, the 'cool' boys sitting in the last row, were trying to pass on the time talking behind the teacher's back, hoping to catch an eye glimpse from one of the cool girls—the usual teenager stuff... [...]

Speaking and Singing: Bernie’s Use of Musical Rhetoric, and his Link with Casals — by Steve Doane

My introduction to Bernie’s wonderful sound and magical phrasing came from hearing a recording of the slow movement of the Fauré piano Trio by the original Beaux Arts Trio. I was simply transported, both by the music and the playing. It was towards the end of my undergraduate studies at Oberlin, and the thought came to me quite simply: “I must study with this man!” Bernie’s playing had that special ability to speak directly to the heart of the listener. It wasn’t just the ravishingly beautiful sound he made (although that had a considerable effect!!) but his way of shaping the line so completely—it was sung and sometimes “spoken” at the same time! As an admirer of Casals from a very young age, I think I must have recognized something familiar in that wonderfully lyrical yet clearly “enunciated” style [...]

How Bernard Greenhouse Showed Me the Way: Lessons Learned — by Timothy Eddy

My apprenticeship to Mr. Greenhouse lasted about 9 years, from the time I was 15 until I graduated from the Manhattan School of Music with a Masters Degree at 24.  There were so many ways that he opened my eyes, helping me see the ultimate possibilities of being a cellist and a performer. When I began working with him, I was already fascinated with “mapping out” the cello: learning patterns, left-hand shapes, and the effectiveness of well-targeted strategies of practicing….. but I was stiff and unable to play accurately when I tried to play quickly. Furthermore, Bernie pointed out, my sound was only a fraction of what I could really produce, while using far less effort. On top of that, I needed to make more specific, passionate statements with my [...]

Bach 6th Suite and the Outermost House — by Astrid Schween

My most important lessons with Bernard Greenhouse took place after my official university studies with him were over. By this time, I was a member of the Lark Quartet and my colleagues and I invited him to play the Schubert Cello Quintet with us on tour. With each concert, I marveled at Bernie’s ability to bring new life to the same music night after night, and I found myself delighting in each new detail. Bernie’s approach to the famous pizzicato dialogue with the first violin in the Adagio of the Schubert was a study in color and nuance. Each pizzicato appeared like some sort of character, first responding, then provoking, insinuating, and finally retiring, always beautifully in tune and resonant. I made a mental note to pay attention—this was artistry of a special sort. Bernie was the [...]

Reflections on the Legacy of Bernard Greenhouse — by Kate Dillingham

I first met Mr. Greenhouse in 1986 when I was a scholarship student at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The Beaux Arts Trio gave a memorable concert at the school in their final year in the configuration of Messieurs Pressler, Cohen and Greenhouse. Little did I know that one year later, Mr. Greenhouse would retire from the Trio and become my teacher. Our lessons always began with some light-hearted humor to prepare me for understanding the depth of commitment to daily practice and study I needed to cultivate. Greenhouse emphasized striving for continuous growth as an artist. He insisted on developing acute listening skills, being thoroughly familiar with the score and having the courage to believe in my musical convictions. Greenhouse taught me that the quality of the sound [...]

János Starker Remembrance Week: Starker’s Two Grandchildren Remember Grandpa

CelloBello apologizes that the last beautiful paragraph of Alexandra Preucil’s blog was originally omitted. Be sure to read the corrected version. By Alexandra Preucil Assistant Concertmaster Cleveland Orchestra For as long as I can remember, family gatherings have been synonymous with music making. Sometimes this took place in fancy concert halls, but more often than not, my family would simply come together in the music room. As a young child I would watch in awe and dream of the day that I could join them. […]

János Starker Remembrance Week: A Tribute To János Starker

By Maria Kliegel A moment of tense, expectant silence – to me it seemed to be an eternity. A couple of silent smoky clouds floating in the teaching room.  Janos Starker looked at me in his typical manner, a gaze so full of intensity that I could feel it under my skin, followed by a shattering comment, uttered with a cool slowness and a stony, unchangeable look on his face:  “if you ever play as inaccurately as you just did, I will deny ever having been your teacher.“ And again, an eternal moment of silence, this time I sat horrified in my chair, not being able to breathe or move. Silent smoky clouds. One of my lessons in Bloomington ended this way – the Haydn D major concerto. […]

CelloBello János Starker Remembrance Week: Janos Starker, Who Is, Was, and Always Will Be My Master

Starker with pianist Gyorgy Sebok – life-long friend and musical partner of Starker. By Michael Haber Many years ago, I was on a family trip to Israel. In a hotel in Beersheva, I was surprised to find Mr. Starker standing in the lobby together with the conductor of the Israel Sinfonietta. I greeted Mr. Starker………”Janos Starker, who is, was, and always will be my master.” What has remained with me since my final lesson with Mr. Starker in August 1966 is his personal brilliance as a man and his deep patience and kindness. His way of being kind, which often meant an uncompromising honesty, was perhaps not for everyone. But what is more kind, in a teacher/student relationship, than taking a student seriously enough to share with them what [...]

The Buddha, the Brain, & Bach: One Cellist’s Inner Exploration of Practice — by Barbara Bogatin

My bare toes feel cold on the smooth cement. The scent of rosemary is hinted in a gentle breeze, as a bee glances my ear and wild turkeys caw raucously in the distance. I take a slow breath—in ... pause, out ... pause—and become aware of the arising of the intention to take a step. As the weight shifts to the left side of my body, my right knee bends slightly, lifting the heel off the ground, and then the ball and the toe glide airborne over the stone till the tip of my toe reaches its destination. Balance shifts as the right foot bears the full body weight and I stand suspended, legs apart, caught in a slow-motion reenactment of a child learning to walk. Try as I might [...]