Thomas Rosenberg

Thomas Rosenberg

About Thomas Rosenberg

Thomas Rosenberg is nationally known as a dynamic performer, chamber music coach, and teacher. A resident of Saint Paul, Minnesota, his activities include numerous solo and chamber music recitals, performances with the Schubert Piano Trio, The Isles Ensemble, Ladyslipper Baroque and performances as an extra musician with the Minnesota Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Rosenberg was awarded the prestigious McKnight Performing Artist Fellowship Award in 2004. He also has received top chamber music prizes at the Munich (Germany), Portsmouth (England) and Chicago Discovery Competitions, and is a three-time Naumburg Chamber Music Award finalist. Since 1981, he has been Artistic Director of the prestigious Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition (www.Fischoff.org) through which he is a recipient of the 2007 Indiana Governor’s Arts Award, the highest honor in the arts from that state. Mr. Rosenberg was a founding member of the highly acclaimed Chester String Quartet with whom he made numerous recordings and for twenty years, appeared on concert stages and live radio coast to coast in the United States, Canada, Central America and Europe. He has been solo cello of the New York Chamber Ensemble performing in all of the major concert halls in NYC, performed with jazz greats Charlie Haden and Al Foster in Carnegie Hall and appeared at many music festivals including Aspen, Newport, Banff, South Mountain, Cape May, the Grand Tetons, and the International Music Festival in San Jose, Costa Rica. As a soloist, he has been noted by the Boston Globe as displaying “beautifully inflected, noble playing with a gorgeous dark tone.” He performs on a rare cello by Lorenzo Storioni made in Cremona, Italy in 1794.

He is currently on the faculties of Macalester College, Carleton College and the McNally Smith College of Music teaching cello and coaching chamber music and has served as String Chamber Music Coordinator and primary chamber music coach for the University of Minnesota School of Music. He also maintains a busy private studio of pre-college cellists and chamber ensembles featuring many of the regions most outstanding young artists and is Director of the Green Lake Chamber Music Camp in central Wisconsin. Former teaching assistant to renowned cellists and artist-teachers Paul Katz and Laurence Lesser, Tom is recipient of the 2003-4 “Master Studio Teacher Award” from the Minnesota chapter of the American String Teachers Association and has also been named “Arts Educator of the Year” by the Michigan-Indiana Arts and Sciences Council. He has led chamber music “informances” to audiences around the US, and has presented a series of lectures on the Beethoven String Quartets. During the summers he teaches and coaches at music centers such as the Tanglewood Institute, The Quartet Program where he has also been Associate Director, Icicle Creek, Bravo, the Midwest Young Artists Summer Chamber Music Camp and the Green Lake Chamber Music Festival. Recent master classes at The Cleveland Institute of Music, The Oberlin Conservatory, Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory, Ohio State University, The Columbus Chamber Music Connection and Suzuki Program, The Interlochen Arts Academy and Webster University in Saint Louis.

Tom is a graduate of Oberlin and the Eastman School of Music where he was teaching assistant to both Paul Katz and Laurence Lesser. Other teachers include Richard Kapuscinski, Alan Harris, Alta Mayer, and for chamber music, members of the Budapest, Juilliard, Tokyo, Guarneri, and Cleveland Quartets. (www.tomrosenbergmusic.com)

The Rep…More than Quartet — by Thomas Rosenberg

More or Less...String Trios, Quintets and Beyond  It is generally agreed that the string quartet is the ultimate chamber music idiom. While there are surely those that differ with that assessment, I confess that I agree from my perspectives as both a listener and a performing artist. Many of the greatest composers from Haydn to the present day have tried their hand at quartet writing. Many have succeeded in giving us their best creations, some of which are regarded to be some of the greatest creative work of human kind. When asked about repertoire for other combinations of strings, most musicians can come up with a relatively small list of trios, quintets, sextets and more. However, in reality, there is a lot of music for string ensembles that are not quartets. Although the most well known [...]

By |2017-10-30T04:35:30+00:00July 17th, 2016|Categories: Chamber Music, Performance|Tags: , , |

Great Chamber Music Reading and Watching — by Thomas Rosenberg

Besides enormously enhancing listening skills, chamber music study also develops a players’ ability to sight-read, note read and watch. These are skills that are vital in orchestral situations as well. However, this is not about that kind of reading and watching! This is about books, movies and videos that will also greatly enhance the skills of anyone playing chamber music. READING: There are some great books out there about chamber music. None of these are long (300 pages or less) and are relatively quick and easy reading. I hope this will spur the interest of those reading this article to check some of them out. Con Brio: Four Russians Called The Budapest String Quartet by Nat Brandt The Budapest Quartet was perhaps the greatest quartet ever…or certainly one of the most important. They existed for nearly [...]

A Chamber Music Concert is Worth a Thousand Words — by Thomas Rosenberg

One of the goals of good teaching is assisting students to develop into interesting, compelling and communicative artists. Of course, there are many influences that create artistic musicians and many of them can be discussed and demonstrated in lessons. However, one of the factors that I believe is extremely important is also one that cannot actually happen in a lesson. For it to get done, you must often rely on the parents of your students or, for collegiate students, the student themselves. That factor is getting students to attend concerts to hear and watch professional and artistic musicians performing “live." Imagine the difference it would make to students who love sports if they could not see great athletes performing. It is relatively easy to see a basketball game, baseball game, tennis match, football game, gymnastic or swim meet, [...]

What?….I have to listen too?? — by Thomas Rosenberg

  For seven long minutes he stood. Then he stirred And he said to the bear, “do you know what I heard? Do you see that far mountain…? It’s ninety miles off. There’s a fly on that mountain. I just heard him cough! Now the cough of a fly, sir, is quite hard to hear When he’s ninety miles off. But I heard it quite clear.”  -Dr. Suess   In Dr. Suess’s story, “The Big Brag”, the rabbit goes on and on about how well he can hear. Of course, that is not the point of the story, which is about how dumb it is to brag about how great you are. (That is a possible topic for another article…not that musicians ever do that!). But it does have an important message that [...]

The Viola and 2nd Violin (The Unsung Heroes of Chamber Music Groups!) – by Tom Rosenberg

  When violinists are asked what part they prefer to play in chamber music, there are often just two answers. I wish more often that there were three common answers, but more on that later. Some like to feel like they are the star, and so they want to play 1st violin. Others are either unwilling or unable to take on the 1st violin part which often features the most virtuosic part writing in the strings and so they choose 2nd violin. The irony in that decision is that playing 2nd violin well in a chamber ensemble requires a skill set that is in many ways more difficult than what the 1st violin is required to do. And, it is very different than in orchestra, where the individual player can and often should blend into the section. [...]

Developing Musicianship Through Chamber Music — by Thomas Rosenberg

In a typical private instrumental lesson, until a student has reached a fairly high technical level, much of the time in a lesson is spent on issues such as good hand positions, intonation, tone production, fingerings and bowings, and the development of technique in both hands through scales, etudes, etc. The choice of a solo piece or pieces is usually connected to these same issues. Musicianship is hopefully discussed, and hopefully in some detail. But, the fact remains that it is unlikely issues of musicianship will dominate the lesson time. One of the great benefits of having students play chamber music is that it helps them become better musicians faster. A good, well matched chamber music group with a good coach will push forward the abilities a student has already developed and enable them to be able [...]

Being the Music — by Thomas Rosenberg

What is it that makes one performance more compelling to an audience than another? Of course, there are many things that come into play, not the least of which is the aesthetic taste of individual audience members. However, at most concerts the audience consensus is clear. When it seems dull or not played at a high technical level, they are polite; when it seems good, they are appreciative; and when it seems great, they are compelled to give energy back to the performers by clapping energetically and often standing and cheering. I believe there are usually two primary factors that create those compelling performances that audiences and performers enjoy so much. Both involve artistry, but different kinds. And, in the setting of a chamber music concert, the chances of NOT succeeding are greater than in a solo performance. [...]

Working With the Infinite Onion — by Thomas Rosenberg

Here’s a riddle for you: I am like an infinite onion. There is always another layer of me for you to peel back and you might feel like crying the entire time. I am also like doing the dishes. There is always another meal to eat and that means there will always be more dirty dishes for you to clean….forever!     What am I? The answer is:  INTONATION! Great intonation in a chamber music ensemble is one of the most difficult technical aspects to achieve for any group striving for excellence. It often requires a lot of rehearsal time, can test anyone’s patience, and all your hard work can seemingly disappear on stage, even for professional ensembles. I would like to explore the reasons it can be so tricky and complicated, [...]

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