Paul

Power is Energy, Unblocked and Properly Directed — by Selma Gokcen

"The words of truth are always paradoxical." —Lao Tzu Paul Katz was here recently in London giving a workshop on the bow to the members of the London Cello Society and raised an interesting point about strength.  His Tai Ch'i teacher once said to him, "Hardness is Weakness, Softness is Strength: Hardness is Death, Softness is Life."  This remarkable saying inspires this article. As cellists we need to be able to call upon reserves of power to play our big repertoire, to perform long concerts and tours. No way are we not interested in knowing about power and strength, but as soon as we raise the question of where it comes from, then hundreds of viewpoints can be found. Weight training, strength training, aerobic conditioning, and the list goes on. [...]

CelloStream Artist Master Class Series 2013-2014

Streamed live from Pierce Hall at New England Conservatory in Boston Lluis Claret Thursday, 26 September 2013 7:00 pm-9:30 pm Ralph Kirshbaum Monday, 21 October 2013 7:00 pm-9:30 pm Pieter Wispelwey Tuesday, 11 February 2014 7:00 pm-9:30 pm Gary Hoffman Tuesday, 8 April 2014 2:00 pm-5:00 pm […]

Amtrak Charging for Cellos? – by Paul Katz

Amtrak Charging for Cellos? - by Paul Katz The joys of a musical touring career continue! An Amtrak official recently stopped me from boarding a train to Boston in New York's Penn Station, telling me that I must buy a seat for my cello!" I've been traveling Amtrak for 50 years and never once have I had to pay for the cello," I protested. "I don't make the rules, and I don't know what trains you've been riding, but it's on our website, so there is no way you can get on until you get a ticket." The train was leaving in 15 minutes, so what the hell - furious and furiously, I ran to the ticket window and bought a second seat! But later I checked Amtrak's website and discovered [...]

Top Cellist’s Bow is Damaged by US Airport Security

Here is the latest travel outrage! Personally, I have never let a security agent handle my instrument and have developed a standard speech that so far, has always worked: "Sorry sir/madam, this instrument is extremely valuable and fragile and that is why I don't check it in baggage. I'm glad to open and close the case for you and let you inspect it thoroughly. But I will hold the instrument for you. If you need to touch the wood, please take off your ring, and be careful your fingernails don't scratch the varnish." That seems to impress them enough that they behave! -Paul Katz Top Cellist's Bow is Damaged: Alban Gerhardt Calls Airport Security Staff "Brutal and Careless". Reprinted from The Strad - Friday, 08 February 2013 Photo: courtesy [...]

Best Public Response Letters to WestJet Bumping the Cello

I want to thank the 200 or so people who have emailed me in support of my dispute with WestJet Airlines and I apologize if your comments were not used below. Don’t want this blog to be too, too long! Only 1 email was critical of me and I include it below. The responses are worth reading…illuminating, useful…and a couple are  hilarious! -Paul Katz […]

Bumping the Cello: An Exchange Between WestJet’s Robert Barron and Paul Katz

Shortly after my "Airline Nightmare" story appeared in the Boston Globe, WestJet representative Robert Barron wrote a letter of explanation to the Globe.  It is reprinted here, with my personal reactions injected. – PK Robert Barron - West Jet Customer Service Agent: First of all, I'd like to say to Mr. Katz that I'm sorry he had such an unpleasant experience flying with us. All of us at WestJet are very proud of our company and its caring culture so we take it personally when we hear people are unhappy with us. The second-last thing I would want to do is cause a guest any upset, but the very last thing I want to do is to jeopardize anyone's safety. While many airlines do permit musical instruments to fly in the cabin, [...]

NPR Podcast of Paul Katz Interview: Skies Less-Than Friendly When Packing A Cello

Reprinted from NPR - National Public Radio Paul Katz bought two tickets — one for himself and one for his cello — in the cabin of a flight from Calgary to Los Angeles. But the captain told him his centuries-old cello had to fly as checked baggage. After an agonizing flight, Katz cried when the captain returned his cello, unharmed. Listen to the Podcast on National Public Radio TRANSCRIPT Copyright © 2012 National Public Radio. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required. NEAL CONAN, HOST: On a flight from Calgary to Los Angeles, cellist Paul Katz did everything right. He bought two tickets: one for him, one for his instrument, just the same as thousands of flights before. When he showed up [...]

WQXR Podcast of Paul Katz Interview: the Pitfalls of Taking Musical Instruments on Planes

Listen:  Reprinted from WQXR.org U.S. airlines are more punctual and less likely to lose your bag than at any time in more than two decades, according to a recent Associated Press analysis of Bureau of Transportation data. Fewer than three suitcases per 1,000 passengers were reported lost, damaged or delayed from January through June, a record low. But a recent spate of stories concerning musical instruments on airplanes suggests that the skies aren't always friendly for musicians. Paul Katz, a former member of the Cleveland Quartet, recently experienced a particularly dramatic incident involving his 1669 Andrea Guarneri cello and a flight from Calgary to Los Angeles operated by WestJet, which partners with American and Delta, among other carriers. "I was even pre-boarded. I got the royal treatment,” Katz tells host Naomi [...]

Paul Katz’s Airline Nightmare Awakens Public and Media Attention: CBC News

(Reprinted from CBC News, Aug 23, 2012) Musicians call for clarity when flying with instruments Students pay for four extra seats only to be told two cellos not allowed on flight The director of Mount Royal University’s Conservatory is calling on airlines to set a firm policy when it comes to transporting musical instruments. Paul Dornian said a group of students from Poland returning home from Calgary earlier this month were told their four cellos could not all take their paid seats on the plane. […]

Airline Nightmare

Reprinted from the Boston Globe of August 20, 2012 In a state of panic and fearing catastrophe, I am writing this midflight as I travel from Calgary, Alberta, to Los Angeles on American Airlines. I thought I did everything right: bought two seats, a ticket for myself and one for my Andrea Guarneri cello made in 1669. I checked in, got two boarding passes, and went to the boarding gate without problem. It all went smoothly—the cello and I were even pre-boarded—one of the easier of the literally thousands of flights we have taken together. Until . . . As the cabin begins to fill, the flight crew informs me that this is a “code-share” flight, and that although I have an AA ticket, the plane is operated by WestJet, and my [...]

Passing It On — by Brant Taylor

A few weeks back, I was having a post-concert drink with my friend and colleague Joshua Gindele, cellist of the Miro Quartet, and the conversation turned to teaching. Though we are both associated with ensembles that perform dozens of concerts every season, teaching the cello is an important component of both of our musical lives. (Josh teaches at the University of Texas at Austin, and I teach at DePaul University.) Discussions on the general relationship between performing and teaching often give rise to interesting questions, some without straightforward answers. Many performers teach even though the skill sets required for good teaching and good performing are far from identical. If great teaching is something that is learned, when and how are the skills acquired? If a performer is a big star [...]

Bernard Greenhouse: January 3, 1916-May 13, 2011

Bernard Greenhouse left us May 13, 2011. Please scroll to the bottom of this posting and add your personal recollections and tributes for Bernie in the comment box. Bernard Greenhouse, one of my true cello heros and a man I loved and admired, passed away this morning in the middle of his 96th year. It was a peaceful death, middle of the night, in his sleep. It was not unexpected, yet it is so hard to accept. Thousands of friends, family and colleagues, generations of students will be saddened by this loss, for his music, his teaching, the legendary warmth of both his cello sound and his personality, have truly inspired the love and devotion of untold numbers. I had been eagerly looking forward to an upcoming visit to Bernie’s home on [...]

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