Tim Janof

Tim Janof

About Tim Janof

Tim Janof was Editor for the Internet Cello Society for over twelve years, where over 100 of his articles and in-depth interviews of world-renowned cellists were published.  He is the past President of the Seattle Violoncello Society and a former cello instructor at Music Center of the Northwest.  He has had articles published in American String Teacher and Strad magazines and was featured in Strings Magazine.  He was a featured speaker at the American String Teacher Association’s 2015 National Conference, University of Iowa’s Cello Daze, and Central Washington University’s Cello Celebration.  Ovation Press has published several of his cello compositions, including Rondo in Blue (for cello and piano) and V&T Blues (for flute and cello).  His cello teachers include Toby Saks, Eva Heinitz, and Cordelia Wikarski-Miedel.

Conversation with Marston Smith (March, 2003)

Interview by Tim Janof Marston Smith has introduced audiences of all ages to the infinite possibilities of cello repertoire, venturing into Rock & Roll and Trance Celtic, to High Fashion Euro Funk. His performances are renowned for his creative costuming bordering between Cirque du Soleil, Lord of the Rings, and Road Warrior. He received his Master of Music degree from the renowned cellist Bernard Greenhouse and since has appeared on national television (QVC), and has been a soloist with symphony orchestras, and played in recordings for motion picture soundtracks, record albums, and performances in Las Vegas. He currently lives on a mountain top just outside of Los Angeles with his wife and three children. As a professional cellist working in the recording industry he has recorded with Barbara Streisand, Michael [...]

Conversation with Shauna Rolston (January, 2006)

Interview by Tim Janof Having been named "Young Artist to Watch" by Musical America and the youngest recipient of the Pro Musicis International Award, celebrated cellist Shauna Rolston is considered to be one of the most compelling musicians of her generation. She has been praised for the ease and naturalness of her technique, her pure intonation, sheer fearlessness, and her ability to produce a huge tone and to play with great delicacy. According to Classic CD Magazine "…her recording of Elgar's cello concerto is worthy to stand alongside Jacqueline du Pré's classic account. This could be the most remarkable performance of the last 20 years." Following her formative studies at the renowned Banff Centre, Shauna earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from Yale University and a Master [...]

Conversation with Laszlo Varga (November, 2002)

Interview by Tim Janof Hungarian-American cellist Laszlo Varga has an international reputation as soloist, recording artist, and master teacher. He served as the Principal Cellist of the New York Philharmonic for 11 years under Dimitri Mitropoulos and Leonard Bernstein. Mr. Varga has appeared as soloist with orchestras across the USA, Europe, Japan, Australia, South America, and the former Soviet Union. He has been the featured soloist, chamber musician, and master teacher at the Aspen, Chautauqua, and Shreveport festivals, among others for over 40 years. He is highly praised for his numerous recordings on the Vox, RCA, Columbia, Decca, CRI, Period, and MusiCelli labels. Mr. Varga has premiered numerous pieces for solo cello and is eagerly sought after by composers to present their works. As cellist with the Borodin Piano Trio [...]

Conversation with Anner Bylsma (September, 1998)

  Interview by Tim Janof Dutch cellist Anner Bylsma received his first lessons from his father and concluded his instruction with Carel van Leeuwen Boonkamp at The Hague Conservatory, when he was awarded the Prix d’excellence. In 1959 he won a prestigious first prize from the Pablo Casals Concours in Mexico. He was solo cellist with the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam from 1962 to 1968. He performs regularly around the world as a soloist and recitalist, and has recorded for Das Alte Werk, Telefunken, Decca, Harmonia Mundi, Seon, RCA, Phillips, and EMI. Anner Bylsma is perhaps most famous for his interpretations of the music of Baroque and Early Classical periods. He recently published a book on the Bach Solo Cello Suites, entitled “Bach, The Fencing Master - Reading aloud from [...]

Conversation with Paul Katz (October, 2005)

Interview by Tim Janof Paul Katz is known to concertgoers the world over as cellist of the Cleveland Quartet, which during an international career of 26 years, made more than 2,500 appearances on four continents. As a member of the celebrated ensemble from 1969-1995, Katz performed at the White House and on many television shows, including "CBS Sunday Morning," NBC's "Today Show," "The Grammy Awards" (the first classical musicians to appear on that show,) and in "In The Mainstream: The Cleveland Quartet," a one hour documentary televised across the U.S. and Canada. In collaboration with the country's largest PBS station, WGBH Boston, and the New England Conservatory of Music, Katz has recently embarked on an extensive DVD/Website project on cello pedagogy, an endeavor that will occupy much of his next [...]

Conversation with Alban Gerhardt (April, 2003)

Interview by Tim Janof After winning several international competitions early on (Wettbewerbserfolgen 1990 at the ARD, and the Leonard Rose International Competition in 1993), Alban Gerhardt has established himself as one of the world's leading cellists. His career-launching debut with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra has led to performances as soloist with such orchestras as the NDR Hamburg, Leipzig, Munich, and Frankfurt Radio Orchestras, Bamberg Symphony, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Dresden, Hamburg, and London Philharmonic Orchestras, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, National Symphony, Houston and Chicago Symphony Orchestras, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Orchestre National de Belgique, St. Petersburger Philharmonikern, Shinsei Symphony Orchestra Tokyo and Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, as well as the chamber orchestras of Lausanne, Amsterdam, Cincinnati, and St. Louis. Among the [...]

Conversation with Frans Helmerson (May, 2001)

Interview by Tim Janof Swedish cellist Frans Helmerson studied with Guido Vecchi in Göteborg, Guiseppe Selmi in Rome, and William Pleeth in London. Other important musical influences came through contact with conductor Sergiu Celibidache, with whom he worked as principal cellist in the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in the early 1970's, as well as significant guidance and support from Rostropovich.   Frans Helmerson has performed with many of today's finest conductors and orchestras, touring throughout Europe, the USA, South America, Asia, and Australia since the late 1970's. His love for chamber music led him to take the position of Artistic Director of the Korsholm Chamber Music Festival in Finland as well as appearing at many other renowned festivals.   Since 1992 Frans Helmerson has held a Professorship at the Musikhochschüle [...]

Conversation with Gary Hoffman (September, 1999)

Interview by Tim Janof American cellist Gary Hoffman was born in Vancouver, Canada, in 1956. At 15 he made his London recital debut in Wigmore Hall; his New York recital debut occurred in 1979. At the age of 22 he became the youngest faculty appointee in the history of Indiana University School of Music, where he remained for eight years. Mr. Hoffman, who is frequently invited to hold master classes, has coached cellists at numerous institutions and festivals, including Aspen, the Gregor Piatigorsky Seminar at the University of Southern California, the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, the Casals Festival in Prades, the Eastman School of Music, Schleswig-Holstein, Verbier, Ravinia, etc. He achieved international renown following his victory at the Rostropovich International Competition in Paris in 1986. He has appeared as soloist [...]

Conversation with Aldo Parisot (May, 2001)

Interview by Tim Janof Long acknowledged as one of the world's master cellists, Aldo Parisot has led the career of a complete artist —as concert soloist, chamber musician, recitalist, and teacher. He has been heard with the major orchestras of the world, including Berlin, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Rio, Munich, Warsaw, Chicago, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, etc. under the batons of such eminent conductors as Stokowski, Barbirolli, Bernstein, Mehta, Monteux, Paray, Carvalho, Sawallisch, Hindemith, and Villa-Lobos. As an artist seeking to expand his instrument's repertoire, Mr. Parisot has premiered numerous works for the cello, written especially for him by such composers as Carmago Guarnieri, Quincy Porter, Alvin Etler, Claudio Santoro, Joan Panetti, Yehudi Wyner, and Villa-Lobos, whose Cello Concerto No. 2 (written for and dedicated to him) was premiered by Mr. [...]

Master Class Report: János Starker 2/29/01

Benaroya Hall, Seattle, USA, 2/29/01 The following are my notes from the master class Janos Starker gave in Seattle. 10 minutes before the class was to start, Seattle experienced a 6.8 earthquake. Apparently, Janos Starker was calm as can be backstage when it happened. The class ended up starting only 1/2 hour late. —by Tim Janoff   Left Hand Anticipated Shift -- Slide before the bow change and land on the note at the bow change. Delayed Shift -- Slide after the bow change. Thumb Placement in Thumb Position -- A hitchhiking thumb allows more overtones, but it is harder to play in tune. Placing the thumb on the neighboring string is more solid, but it allows fewer overtones. The technique of the future is to place the thumb beneath the [...]

Conversation with Hans Jorgen Jensen (April, 2006)

Interview by Tim Janof Hans Jørgen Jensen is currently Professor of Cello at Northwestern University and a faculty member of both Meadowmount School of Music and The National Arts Center's Young Artist Program. Mr. Jensen received a Soloist Diploma from the Royal Academy of Music in Denmark as a student of Asger Lund Christiansen and studied with Leonard Rose and Channing Robbins at the Juilliard School. In addition, he studied with Pierre Fournier in Geneva, Switzerland. At Juilliard he studied chamber music with Robert Mann and Earl Carlyss. From 1979 to 1987 he was Professor of Cello at the School of Music at the University of Houston. He has been a guest professor at the School of Music at the University of Southern California, the Tokyo College of Music, and [...]

Conversation with Mstislav Rostropovich (April, 2006)

Interview by Tim Janof Mstislav Rostropovich is internationally acclaimed and acknowledged as one of the world's greatest living cellists. He has given countless memorable performances and has inspired the world's leading composers to enlarge and enrich the standard cello repertoire with works specially composed for and dedicated to him. These include works by Britten, Bliss, Khachaturian, Lutoslawski, Prokofiev and Shostakovich. Rostropovich was soloist in the premieres of Prokofiev's second Cello Concerto in 1952, Shostakovich's two Cello Concertos in 1959 and 1966, Britten's Cello Symphony in 1964 and Bliss's Cello Concerto in 1970. Many other works have been written for him and today his repertoire includes more than 50 concertos, ranging from the baroque, through the classical and romantic periods, to the avant-garde. As a cellist, Rostropovich is noted for his [...]

Conversation with János Starker (June, 1996)

Interview by Tim Janof  János Starker is known throughout the world as a soloist, recording artist, and teacher. Born in Budapest in 1924, Janos Starker came to the United States in 1948, where he subsequently held the principal cellist chair in three American orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony under Fritz Reiner. Starker then resumed his international performing career in 1958. Since then he has performed thousands of concerts with orchestras and in recitals throughout the world. When not touring, János Starker holds the title of Distinguished Professor at Indiana University in Bloomington, where his classes have attracted talented string players from around the world.   TJ: Is there such a thing as a student with no talent for an instrument? JS: I wouldn't say that a person has no talent, [...]

Conversation with János Starker (February, 2004)

Interview by Tim Janof "With his peerless technical mastery and intensely expressive playing, Janos Starker is universally recognized as one of the world’s supreme musicians." (New York Times) János Starker was born in Budapest in 1924 and began studying the cello at the age of six. By the age of eight he was coaching his first pupil, and by eleven he was performing in public. His early career took him through Budapest's Franz Liszt Academy, and on to positions of first cellist with the Budapest Opera and Philharmonic at the end of World War Two. In 1948 he emigrated to the United States where he subsequently held the posts of principal cellist with the Dallas Symphony, Metropolitan Opera of New York, and the Chicago Symphony under Fritz Reiner. In 1956 [...]

A Conversation with George Neikrug

In honor and in memory of George Neikrug we are pleased to share with you the following interview by Tim Janof. ______________________________________________________ Tim Janof: You studied with Diran Alexanian for a year. What was he like as a teacher? George Neikrug: He was brilliant, musically speaking. He particularly stressed the harmonies of pieces we worked on. No matter what was being played, he would accompany me on his cello, playing all the correct harmonies and explaining how the tension and relaxation influenced the interpretation of the music. When it came to technique, however, he got me into such trouble that, even though he had given me a personal scholarship, I left him without a word. I had played a recital after studying with him for a year and my friends [...]

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