Interviews

Conversation with Zara Nelsova (June, 2000)

  The second generation of a distinguished Russian musical family, Ms. Nelsova was born in Canada, educated in England, and is a citizen of the USA. She made her debut with the London Symphony at age 12, and since that time has regularly toured every continent, including her triumphant tour of the Soviet Union in 1966 as the first to  be made by an American soloist.   Zara Nelsova has appeared with virtually every major orchestra in North America including those of New York, Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia. She has appeared with numerous European orchestras including the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, Royal, Berlin, and London Philharmonics, the BBC and London symphony orchestras, and in Warsaw and Poznan with the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra. She has collaborated with such eminent conductors as [...]

Conversation with Sara Sant’Ambrogio (January, 2005)

  Grammy Award-winning Sara Sant'Ambrogio first leapt to international attention when she won the Eighth International Tchaikovsky Violoncello Competition in Moscow, Russia. As a result of her medal, Carnegie Hall invited Ms. Sant'Ambrogio to perform a recital that was filmed by CBS News as part of a profile about her, which aired nationally. Bernard Holland of The New York Times described Ms. Sant'Ambrogio's New York debut as "sheer pleasure." Ms. Sant'Ambrogio has appeared as soloist with such orchestras as Atlanta, Boston Pops, Chicago, Dallas, Moscow State Philharmonic, the Osaka Century Orchestra (Japan), St. Louis, San Francisco and Seattle; she has performed throughout the world at major music centers and festivals including Aspen, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Hollywood Bowl, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, the Konzert Huset in Stockholm, Marlboro, Mostly Mozart, Musikverein [...]

Conversation with Gerhard Mantel (February, 2000)

  Gerhard Mantel is perhaps best known as the author of the book, Cello Technique -- Principles and Forms of Movement. He recently published his second book, Cello Üben (Cello Practice), which is currently published in German by Schott, and has quickly become a standard text in German-speaking countries; an English version will soon be published as an "e-book" by http://www.rugeri.com. He has published a set of duos for students and teachers called "25 Duettudes," each of which addresses particular technical issues for intermediate students. He has also published a cello method for children, Cello mit Spass und Hugo. He is president of the German chapter of European String Teachers' Association (ESTA). After his studies with August Eichhorn, he continued working with Pierre Fournier, Paul Tortelier, Maurice Gendron, Andre Navarra, [...]

Conversation with Stephen Kates (September, 2002)

Stephen Kates studied with Gregor Piatigorsky, Leonard Rose, Claus Adam, Laszlo Varga, and Marie Roemaet-Rosanoff. He was awarded the Silver Medal at the Third International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1966 in Moscow, where he returned as the American juror in 1986. He has made solo appearances with the world's greatest orchestras in New York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, Cincinnati, San Francisco, Atlanta, Baltimore, Leningrad, and Los Angeles. He is a former President of the Violoncello Society in New York. For seven summers he was a member of the faculty of the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, and has taught at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore for almost 30 years. He has recorded for the RCA, Denon, Melodiya, Orion, CRI, and Bainbridge labels.   Teachers   TJ: You [...]

Conversation with Joel Krosnick (March, 2005)

  Born in Connecticut to a family of enthusiastic amateur musicians, Joel Krosnick has been cellist of the Juilliard String Quartet since 1974. With pianist Gilbert Kalish, his sonata partner for over twenty years, he performs annual recitals at the Merkin and Weill Halls in New York, and has recorded much of the sonata repertoire, including the complete Beethoven and Brahms Sonatas and Variations, and works by Poulenc, Prokofiev, Carter, Debussy, Janácek, Shapey, Cowell, and Hindemith. Mr. Krosnick's principal teachers were William D'Amato, Luigi Silva, Jens Nygaard, and Claus Adam, whom he succeeded in the Juilliard String Quartet. While at Columbia University, he began his lifelong commitment to contemporary music and has performed and premiered many new works, including Donald Martino's Cello Concerto, Richard Wernick's Cello Concerto No. 2, and [...]

Conversation with Marston Smith (March, 2003)

  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 Jackson, Stevie Wonder, [...]

Conversation with Shauna Rolston (January, 2006)

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 of Music degree from [...]

Conversation with Laszlo Varga (November, 2002)

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 and former Professor at [...]

Conversation with Anner Bylsma (September, 1998)

          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 Gary Hoffman (September, 1999)

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 with some of the [...]

Conversation with Hans Jorgen Jensen (April, 2006)

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 the Musashino Academy of [...]

Conversation with Paul Katz

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 two years. Katz has [...]

Conversation with Alban Gerhardt

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 distinguished conductors with whom [...]

Conversation with Aldo Parisot (May, 2001)

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. Parisot in his New [...]

Conversation with Frans Helmerson (May, 2001)

  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 in Cologne and [...]