Jonathan Pegis

Jonathan Pegis

About Jonathan Pegis

Jonathan Pegis joined the Chicago Symphony in the fall of 1986; prior to that he was a member of the Rochester Philharmonic for 2 years.  Since his arrival in Chicago Mr. Pegis has performed frequently in chamber music and is active in the Chicago Symphony chamber music series.  He is a regular participant in the Northwestern University Winter Chamber Music Festival and has performed with such artists as Lynn Harrell and Pinchas Zukerman.  He has also appeared as soloist with the Highland Park Strings, the Texas Chamber Orchestra, and the Signature Symphony in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  In 1993 Mr. Pegis joined the faculty at Northwestern where he taught Cello Orchestral Studies for 19 years.

Originally from Rochester, New York, Jonathan Pegis began his studies at the Eastman School of Music Preparatory Department.  His first teacher was Alan Harris; he has also studied with Lee Fiser, Paul Katz, and Lynn Harrell.  He completed his undergraduate studies at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.  While there, he joined the LaSalle Quartet and violist Donald McInnes on chamber music tours of the US and Germany.  Their 1982 recording of Schoenberg’s “Verklaerte Nacht” received Japan’s Tokyo Record Academy prize.  Mr. Pegis returned to Rochester in 1984 to become a member of the Rochester Philharmonic and to attend Eastman, where he earned a Master’s degree and a Performer’s Certificate.

Jonathan Pegis lives in Skokie, Illinois with his wife soprano Dawn Pegis.  When not performing music their hobbies include sailing, crafts, and endless home improvement projects.

Exploring Beethoven’s Fifth: Second Variation — by Jonathan Pegis

Picking up where we left off last time, at the conclusion of variation 1 it is a good idea to keep counting in between the two variations.  You want to play this second variation in the exact tempo as the theme and first variation.  I will say right at the outset that there is no ideal fingering for this excerpt!  It just doesn’t lie well on the cello.  My fingering is a bit unusual in that I do not use the thumb at all, or any open A strings.  I do, however, use the A string for some of the notes.  I highly recommend not playing the open A just because it tends to really stick out.  Many cellists don’t use the A string at all which is also fine [...]

Exploring Beethoven 5th, Variation One — by Jonathan Pegis

Continuing our discussion of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, let us examine the first variation. As I did with the theme, I will first talk about the technical challenges of this excerpt and then look at the musical challenges.  First of all, it is very important that you play this excerpt in the exact same tempo that you played the theme.  A common mistake is to play this variation much faster than the theme simply because of that long first down bow.  One trick that helps is when you finish the theme keep counting the quarter note rests at the end of measure  10, and then count off the two quarter note rests in measure 49.  (Almost like you were making a cut!)  You can do the same thing at the end [...]

Exploring Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony — by Jonathan Pegis

Here in just a few measures is an excerpt that has confused, befuddled, and downright scared more cellists than just about any other excerpt (please click image to enlarge): The theme from the second movement of Beethoven's fifth, along with the first two variations, shows up on the vast majority of cello audition lists.  I thought it would be educational to spend some time exploring this theme, and future blogs will explore the first and second variations.  To begin with, this excerpt is one of a handful that I have coached for many years where I am actually LESS confident than I used to be.  Why?  Because every teacher, every coach, and every conductor has had radically different ideas about all the different aspects of this theme.  Temp, color, dynamic, [...]

A Moment of Impasse — by Jonathan Pegis

Well, the CSO strike is over and while it lasted about 48 hours we only missed one concert. Our committee had met all day with the management/trustee team on Saturday and had hoped to reach a resolution, but it was not to be so we did not play the concert. However, on Monday they met again and after some very intense negotiations an agreement was reached. For those readers who are not familiar with the collective bargaining process, we have an elected committee of 9 musicians who represent us to management, and of these 9 there were 5 on our negotiating team. Typically a contract is 3 or 4 years long, with this new one being a three-year deal.  So we go through these anxious times every few years.  This [...]

By |2017-08-05T00:45:35+00:00September 29th, 2012|Categories: Orchestra|