cello

How to Find the Right Instrument: The Pitfalls of Cello Shopping

Whether you have the means to buy a modern (starting at € 25.000), an old Italian (starting at something like € 250.000 and up into the sky) or a nice elderly French, German or English (somewhere in between) instrument, you can drive yourself crazy in finding “the right one". Amateurs, students, and professional players face similar problems.   First we hardly ever get to try all the available instruments at the same time. We have to travel to see/try them in different acoustics under different circumstances. This makes it almost impossible to compare them as we rely entirely on our memory, which is awfully subjective and selective. On top of that every space has its own feel and sound, and most players (including the writer) feel different even with their [...]

By |2019-12-04T15:57:57+00:00November 27th, 2019|Categories: Featured, Performance|Tags: , , , |

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 [...]

The Bach Suites, A Deep Mirror — by Lluís Claret

I am posting today some thoughts regarding my upcoming performance of all the cello suites of Bach, in Barcelona, next October 6th. A "3 hour conversation with Bach," by which I mean playing all the 6 Suites in one evening, is a rare privilege, and at the same time, an opportunity to devote months of work gazing, probing, until their is transparency in this greatest of all music given to us by the Kantor of Leipzig. In this period of reflection, the performer's goal and intention should be to imbue his own spirit into the depths of the pieces, and become inspired and elevated by this music of such extraordinary dimensions. After a concert a few years ago, somebody who had never heard my playing said,  "I can feel the [...]

Isang Yun International Cello Competition Announces 2018 Prize Winners

Isang Yun International Cello Competition Winners Announced! Christine Jeong Hyoung Lee of Korea and Sang Eun Lee of Korea share the First Prize in the 2018 Isang Yun International Cello Competition. When the scores of an international jury of nine were tallied, the two received mathematically identical scores. Each received  $25,000. Lev Sivkov of Russia received Third Prize and $10,000 for his performance of the Dvorak Concerto. Christine Jeong Hyong Lee performed the following program in the three rounds: First Round Program J. S. Bach: Prelude and Sarabande from Suite for Cello Solo No. 4 BWV 1010 Benjamin Britten: Suite for Cello Solo No. 1 Op. 72 (7th, 8th and 9th movements only) Isang Yun: Glissees for Solo Cello (1970) Second Round Program Isang Yun: EspaceⅠ(1992) L. v. Beethoven: Sonata for Cello [...]

By |2018-11-03T21:11:38+00:00November 3rd, 2018|Categories: Competition, News, Performance|Tags: , , , |

New England Conservatory Cellist Brannon Cho Wins the VI Paulo International Cello Competition

HELSINKI, FINLAND Oct. 25 -- Twenty-three year old cellist Brannon Cho of the United States was awarded First Prize at the 2018 Paulo International Cello Competition. Joint 2nd prize was awarded to 19- year-old Zlatomir Fung of the United States and 23- year-old Minji Kim of South Korea.   Joint 4th prize was awarded to 24-year-old Timotheos Petrin from Greece, 19-year-old Leonardo Chiodo from Finland and 21-year-old Bryan Cheng from Canada.   Brannon Cho: A graduate of Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, where he studied with Hans Jørgen Jensen, and current Artist Diploma student of Laurence Lesser at the New England Conservatory, Brannon is a former major prize winner at the Naumburg, Cassadó and Johansen International Cello Competitions – and in June of last year, was awarded a prize at the inaugural Queen Elisabeth International Cello Competition, in Belgium. Cho [...]

By |2018-12-01T16:19:49+00:00October 29th, 2018|Categories: Competition, News, Performance|Tags: , , , |

B A C H S U I T E S — by Colin Carr

Bowings, beats, bass, bowings and fingerings fit together, bow distribution, bible? Articulation and Anna Magdelena Chords, cadences. common themes within each suite, comfort? Harmony, harmonics? Slurs, scales, sequences, spontaneity Understanding direction of phrases. Up bow or down bow? Intonation Tension from dissonance. tempo choices, trills Extremes? Surprise I was asked to choose a Bach related topic for this live Facebook chat, but I couldn’t think of just one. Instead I thought I would try to cover as many issues as I can think of, using this (gimmicky) chart as a starting point. I will talk about each of the sub-headings, and in doing so hope to answer a lot of questions before they have been asked! I have been playing and teaching the suites all my life. There have been [...]

By |2018-12-19T19:32:18+00:00February 2nd, 2017|Categories: Artistic Vision, Baroque, Performance, Repertoire, Teaching|Tags: , , , , |

Jules Eskin, Principal Cellist at Boston Symphony Orchestra, Passes at Age 85

Reprinted from the Boston Symphony Orchestra 11/17/2016 Jules Eskin, the legendary principal cellist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra for 53 years, passed away at his home in Brookline, Massachusetts, after a long struggle with cancer. Mr. Eskin began his more than half-century tenure as BSO principal cello in 1964 and since 1969 occupied the Philip R. Allen Chair, endowed in perpetuity. He played for five different music directors, including Erich Leinsdorf, William Steinberg, Seiji Ozawa, James Levine, and the BSO's current music director, Andris Nelsons, and performed as soloist with the orchestra on numerous occasions. He was featured as soloist with the orchestra in Richard Strauss's Don Quixote, Ernest Bloch's Schelomo, Brahms's Double Concerto, Beethoven's Triple Concerto, William Schuman's Song of Orpheus, and cello concertos of Samuel Barber, Antonín Dvořák, Franz Joseph Haydn, Camille [...]

How Music and Cello Changed My Life — by Nathan Chan

Hey CelloBello readers! My name is Nathan Chan and I’ve been playing the cello for over 17 years. Throughout this time period, my relationship with the cello has been an ongoing evolution in the way I see music as an incredibly powerful tool of expression and creativity. What started as a hobby in the beginning of my musical learning initially evolved into a battle for technical mastery and now has begun to blossom as a freeing medium for spontaneity and exploration. As a child born and raised in the 90s, my parents were very supportive of me. My father, a Hong-Kong born cardiologist who emigrated to the states for college, represented the discipline and detail-oriented leader in my early life. My mother, a Chinese-Canadian who is a Juilliard-educated pianist, was [...]

Yo-Yo Ma on Intonation, Practice, and the Role of Music in Our Lives

Reprinted from Strings Magazine, September 17 2015 By Martin Steinberg: "A cellist walks on a beach and picks up a bottle. A genie pops out and says, “I give you two wishes.”  The cellist says: “Wow, I’d like to have world peace.”  The genie thinks for a second and says,  “That’s too hard! What’s your second wish?” The cellist says, “Well, I’m turning 60 and I want to play in tune.”  The genie thinks for a second and says, “What was your first wish again?”  Musicians, take heart. That joke was told by the cellist Yo-Yo Ma during an interview ahead of his 60th birthday on Oct. 7. After 55 years of playing, yes, even Yo-Yo Ma needs to practice. “What all string players have in common is that if [...]

By |2019-06-03T21:53:30+00:00June 28th, 2016|Categories: Interviews, Self Discovery|Tags: , , , , , |

Despicable WestJet Airlines Once Again Refuses Cello in Cabin!

    Cello boarding pass correctly purchased by Nathan Chan. (CBBG stands for Cabin Baggage.)     Canadian-based WestJet Airlines, to my knowledge, is the only airline with an official policy of not allowing a cello onboard, yet they seem to have no problem selling a seat for a cello and then denying boarding at the gate! Read in the Boston Globe how this happened to me in 2013. The situation has been suffered by cellists numerous times since, the latest being Juilliard student Nathan Chan, who I applaud for fighting back! By contrast, competitor Air Canada recently adopted a a “friendly skies” policy towards musical instruments as cabin baggage, and in the United States, the Passenger Bill of Rights says that airlines must allow the purchase of [...]

By |2018-11-30T20:16:13+00:00January 26th, 2016|Categories: Cello Travel|Tags: , , , , |

János Starker Remembrance Week: Starker’s Two Grandchildren Remember Grandpa

CelloBello apologizes that the last beautiful paragraph of Alexandra Preucil’s blog was originally omitted. Be sure to read the corrected version. By Alexandra Preucil Assistant Concertmaster Cleveland Orchestra For as long as I can remember, family gatherings have been synonymous with music making. Sometimes this took place in fancy concert halls, but more often than not, my family would simply come together in the music room. As a young child I would watch in awe and dream of the day that I could join them. […]

János Starker Remembrance Week: Presenting My Mentor with His Honorary Doctorate in 2006 — by Paul Katz

It is a privilege for me to be able to use my website,  CelloBello.com,  to honor my former teacher, colleague, and friend of many decades, the legendary János Starker, July 5, 1924 – April 28, 2013. In May 2006, the New England Conservatory of Music presented János Starker with an Honorary Doctor of Music, and I was asked to introduce him. To speak publicly of him was an emotional and gratifying moment for me, and as we celebrate him in the year 2015, it feels appropriate for me to share my words of nine years. János Starker Receiving His Honorary Doctorate at the New England Conservatory New England Conservatory of Music Commencement on Sunday, May 21, 2006 "It is my honor and great personal pleasure to present to you János [...]

CelloBello János Starker Remembrance Week: Life as a Student of János Starker

János Starker “S” Bridge János Starker’s incomparable achievements as a performer and recording artist are well-documented. However, when I first appeared at his door as a new graduate student, my awareness of him mostly stemmed from hearing others speak about him, and from only one of his recordings: that of Zoltan Kodaly’s Sonata, Op. 8. I had developed a mental image of Mr. Starker as an austere, intimidating presence. Paul Katz, with whom I had been studying at Eastman, enjoyed a longstanding friendship with Mr. Starker, and in those years Paul would often send a graduating senior to Bloomington for further education. […]

CelloBello János Starker Remembrance Week April 22-28

CelloBello Remembers János Starker Please join us for a full week of events and video releases,to remember and honor this great figure of the cello world.Preview of upcoming events: New Videos of Never-Before Seen Interviews Newly released interview videos of János Starker in conversation with Paul Katz in 2010.  April 22: Growing as a PerformerApril 23: Releasing TensionApril 24: Rhythmic FreedomApril 25: VibratoApril 26: His Performance AnxietyApril 27: His Difficult, Early Years Please visit our János Starker CelloLegacy section on CelloBello.com each day to view the newest video. Daily Blogs A new blog each day at CelloBlog by former Starker students and family includingRobert Battey, Paul Katz, Maria Kliegel, Alexandra Preucil (Starker’s granddaughter),Brant Taylor and Jeffrey Zeigler. CelloChatsYour chance to ask questions about Starker’s cello teachings and hear personal anecdotes and stories of the master! 3 special CelloChats with former students of Starker Reminiscing: What I Learned From János Starkerall [...]

The Buddha, the Brain, & Bach: One Cellist’s Inner Exploration of Practice — by Barbara Bogatin

My bare toes feel cold on the smooth cement. The scent of rosemary is hinted in a gentle breeze, as a bee glances my ear and wild turkeys caw raucously in the distance. I take a slow breath—in ... pause, out ... pause—and become aware of the arising of the intention to take a step. As the weight shifts to the left side of my body, my right knee bends slightly, lifting the heel off the ground, and then the ball and the toe glide airborne over the stone till the tip of my toe reaches its destination. Balance shifts as the right foot bears the full body weight and I stand suspended, legs apart, caught in a slow-motion reenactment of a child learning to walk. Try as I might [...]