performances

Remembering Hungarian Cello Master Janos Starker – By Benjamin Ivry*

Having survived a Nazi internment camp during World War II, Hungarian Jewish cellist János Starker (1924-2013) led a life focused on civic contributions and behaving with utter freedom. Starker, who died in Indiana on April 28 at age 88, witnessed some of the worst horrors of modern history, and was determined to devote himself to constructing the future. He and his parents, of Polish-Ukrainian Jewish origin, survived their imprisonment, but his two older brothers Tibor and Ede, both accomplished violinists, were murdered in Nazi labor camps. […]

Keeping Healthy On The Road (or in Your Dorm, Home or Apartment) — by Mark Summer

The fall being my busiest touring season with Turtle Island, I’m often thinking of the best ways to stay healthy and happy throughout the dark days of “flu season.” After years of almost constant travel, with endless days of connecting plane flights, shared van rides, and occasionally horrifically early lobby calls, I feel somewhat qualified as an expert at keeping my body in tune enough to weather the storm of illnesses that plague the general population. In 27 years, I’ve never missed a concert due to illness. I thought I had the flu once while on the road, but at a recent physical/flu shot pitch, my doctor informed me that if I was able to play a concert, it wasn’t the flu. Nevertheless, my record speaks for itself. I’m not [...]

The Injured Cellist — by Martha Baldwin

Like most of us cellists out there I can barely remember my life before my cello was a daily part of it. Sometimes it is the happiest, most ultimately satisfying part of my day, sometimes the most frustrating. Being a cellist is my life’s work, one that defines me utterly. While other aspects of life are undoubtedly more important (friends, family, health, happiness), what we do is a big part of making up who we are. Not doing it anymore is an exercise in redefining who you are. For nearly 18 months during the 2008/2009 and 2009/2010 seasons I couldn’t play the cello. A pretty common rotator cuff injury resulted in surgery, rehab, and a long period of complications and set backs. I won’t go into all the medical details, [...]

Cycles, Shostakovich, and the Final Four — Brandon Vamos

I often get asked about performing cycles. I am a member of a Quartet that is passionate about performing cycles of music, including the complete string quartets of Beethoven, Carter, Mendelssohn, and Shostakovich (among others). But why bother with cycles? What do they have to offer us a musicians or audience members? I like to think of it like I think of my Vikings (in case you didn’t know, I’m a huge fan). Why bother following a team game to game or season to season? Well for one, you start to learn the language of the game. Not just the game of football itself, but how that TEAM plays the game. The aggressive way they run plays or their team personality, what feeling they leave with you at the end [...]