Interviews

Conversation with Steven Doane (August, 1994)

Interview by Tim Janof Mr. Doane is on the faculty of the Eastman School of Music. TJ: At what point did you decide that you would dedicate your life to music? SD: When I was in my second year in high school, I told my parents that I wanted to train to be a professional cellist. They asked my cello teacher if he thought I would be able to make it. He said, "I don't know if he'll be another Piatigorsky, but he should be able to make a living." Of course I was disappointed that he didn't say I was going to be another Piatigorsky, but my parents were reassured. I ended up studying with Richard Kapuscinski at Oberlin. Then I went to Stony Brook for a couple of [...]

Conversation with Wendy Warner (June, 2000)

Interview by Tim Janof The international music world first took note of Wendy Warner when she won First Prize in the Fourth International Rostropovich Competition in Paris in 1990. Later that year, Ms. Warner made her debut with the National Symphony Orchestra and Mstislav Rostropovich, and the next year she was the featured soloist on their North American tour. Rostropovich also engaged her for a tour of Germany with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra in 1991, making her debuts in Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Koln, Dusseldorf, and Berlin. For Rostropovich's 70th birthday celebration concert in Kronberg, Germany, she was invited to perform in recital and with orchestra, and later played the Vivaldi double concerto with him at Reims, France. In addition to her tours with Rostropovich, Ms. Warner toured with the Moscow Virtuosi [...]

Conversation with Laurence Lesser (January, 2001)

Interview by Tim Janof Laurence Lesser, president emeritus of the New England Conservatory (NEC) has enjoyed a multi-faceted career as a concert artist, teacher and arts administrator. He served as president of NEC for 13 years, from 1983 to 1996. He was a top prizewinner in the 1966 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, and a participant in the historic Heifetz-Piatigorsky concerts and recordings. He has been soloist with many orchestras including the Boston Symphony, London Philharmonic, and the New Japan Philharmonic. He has performed under the batons of Ozawa, Rostropovich, and Tilson Thomas, among others. He was the first to record the Schoenberg Cello Concerto, and in 1966 was the first to perform it with orchestra since its 1938 introduction by Emanuel Feuermann. As a chamber musician Laurence Lesser has [...]

Conversation with Natalia Gutman (October, 1999)

  Interview by Tim Janof Natalia Gutman was born in Kazan, Russia, and started to play the cello at the age of 5. In 1964, having already won the International Tchaikovsky Competition, she entered the Moscow Conservatory to study with Mstislav Rostropovich. Her First Prize in the 1967 Munich ARD Competition marked the beginning of her international career. Since then she has performed with the leading orchestras of the world, and with conductors such as Sawallisch, Muti, Abbado, Haitink, Svetlanov, Temirkanov, Celibidache, and Masur. She regularly appears with the most important summer festivals in Europe.   Oleg Kagan and Sviatislov Richter were among Ms. Gutman's regular chamber music partners until their recent deaths. Richter once expressed his admiration for her by saying, "… she is an incarnation of truthfulness in [...]

Conversation with Truls Mørk (April, 1999)

Interview by Tim Janof Norwegian cellist Truls Mørk was the first Scandinavian to be a finalist and prize winner in the Moscow Tchaikovsky Competition in 1982. He was a prize winner in the Naumberg Competition in New York in 1986 and the Cassado Cello Competition in Florence in 1983, and received the UNESCO Prize at the European Radio-Union competition in Bratislava. Since 1989, he has worked with the major orchestras of Europe, including the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, the London Symphony, and the City of Birmingham Symphony. In 1994 he was the featured soloist on a nationwide tour with the Oslo Philharmonic under Mariss Jansons, with appearances in Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Boston's Symphony Hall, and Chicago's Orchestra Hall, among others. He is also a dedicated [...]

Conversation with Zara Nelsova (June, 2000)

Interview by Tim Janof 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 [...]

Conversation with Sara Sant’Ambrogio (January, 2005)

Interview by Tim Janof 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, [...]

Conversation with Gerhard Mantel (February, 2000)

Interview by Tim Janof 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 [...]

Conversation with Stephen Kates (September, 2002)

Interview by Tim Janof 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.   [...]

Conversation with Joel Krosnick (March, 2005)

Interview by Tim Janof 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 [...]

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 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 [...]

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