The Evolution of Family – Introducing the Kenya International Cello Festival

The inaugural Kenya International Cello Festival will take place January 3-12, 2022 in Nairobi, Thika, Nyeri and Nanyuki Kenya. Born out of a deep dedication to the students of Korogocho and Ghetto Classics, the festival’s classes and performances will speak to a wide tapestry of compositional voices - all in the hopes of reflecting the interwoven cultural fabric of Kenya. Robert Howard and Rebecca Merblum, Artistic Directors. Anthony R. Green, Composer in Residence. It began so simply. One phone call to Elizabeth Njorge. Within two days I was working with students. And within a week I was part of the family. I should say that I had followed Ghetto Classics for quite some time and was keenly aware of Quartuor Ebène’s visit on their Beethoven World Tour. That said, I [...]

Conversation with Cordelia Wikarski-Miedel (1993)

Interview by Tim Janof Ms. Wikarki-Miedel is Instructor of Cello, the Northwest Artist in Residence, and Director of the Chamber Music Department at University of Puget Sound. Comprehensive Bio TJ: You were born in Berlin? CWM: I was born in Berlin shortly before World War II, when Berlin was not divided between East and West. TJ: Were your parents musicians? CWM: My father was professor of piano at the "Hochschule fur Musik" in Berlin, the equivalent of the Juilliard School in New York. He taught from 1927 to 1945, when he was killed by Russians who had invaded Berlin in the last days of the war. My mother was a fine pianist, and was able to play the major piano literature. My parents often played together, sometimes she accompanied him [...]

Conversation with Colin Carr (January, 2003)

Interview by Tim Janof Colin Carr has appeared throughout the world as soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, and teacher. As a soloist, he has played with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, The Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, BBC Philharmonic, and the orchestras of Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, Philadelphia, and Montreal. He is a regular guest at the BBC Proms, he has twice toured Australia, and he recently played concertos in South Korea, Hong Kong, and New Zealand. Last year he returned to the Philharmonia in London and made his debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Mark Elder. This year he toured with Mr. Elder and the Halle Orchestra, playing the Dvorak, Elgar, and Walton Concertos. Other highlights included a performance of the Dvorak Concerto to close the Prague Autumn Festival, [...]

Music Schools – Is It Time To Shift What We Educate For?

By William Fedkenheuer In over 20 years, I’ve played over 1600 professional string quartet concerts for over 425 organizations in my career to date Of those, only 30% had me back for a second time Wait for it... Only 9% of those had me back more than 5 times (~ 40 organizations) AND. If I look really closely There are twenty organizations that have made my career, my life, what it is A full life. 20 years, 20 organizations 9% And then I look at what music education is prepping us for.What stories is it telling us or NOT telling us What fantasies is it selling and WHAT are the REALITIES? How antiquated IS our music education? We’re stuck in old patterns of soloist, orchestra, chamber musician, teacher AND we’re [...]

By |2024-07-08T00:54:56-04:00June 4th, 2021|Categories: Artistic Vision|Tags: , , , |

Gary Hoffman Joins Curtis Institute of Music Faculty

From The Curtis Institute of Music: The Curtis Institute of Music welcomes renowned cellist Gary Hoffman to the faculty, starting in Fall 2021. Mr. Hoffman will hold the Nina and Billy Albert Chair in Cello Studies, which had been held by Carter Brey, principal cello of the New York Philharmonic. Mr. Brey, who joined the faculty in 2008, will officially step down from his teaching activities at Curtis at the end of the 2020–21 academic year. “I have enjoyed a rewarding relationship with Curtis and its outstanding students for many years now and it is with feelings of great pride and honor that I expand my role by joining the esteemed faculty,” says Mr. Hoffman. “I am equally privileged to follow in the footsteps of my friend and colleague, Carter [...]

By |2024-07-08T12:39:51-04:00March 10th, 2021|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

Conversation with Irene Sharp (December, 1997)

Interview by Tim Janof Cellist Irene Sharp has been acclaimed internationally for her teaching. She has given master classes for the American String Teachers Association (ASTA), the European String Teachers Association, the Australian String Teachers Association, and the Suzuki Association of America. Although based in Northern California, Ms. Sharp has worked with students in cities such as New York, London, Salzburg, Hamburg, Sydney, Tokyo, and Taipei. Currently on the faculty of the Mannes College of Music, she has also served on the faculty of the Meadowmount School for Strings, the Bowdoin (Maine) Summer Music Festival, and Indiana University's String Academy. Ms. Sharp is Artistic Director of California Summer Music, a festival for young string players, pianists, and composers ages 12 to 23 held at Pebble Beach, California. She has been [...]

Hannah Roberts on her Teaching Philosophy

Reprinted with permission from Aitchison Cellos. ‘It’s such a privilege to be involved in the evolution of another person’s progress and the benefits of this stimulating process are mutual. You learn as much as you give. The essence of it however, remains the same: sensing as much as you can about the other person’s thought process and their way of understanding is the key to being able to help them. That is the cornerstone, whether in a consultation lesson or working with a long-term student. You are constantly trying to sense what the person needs at that stage and how they are processing what you are trying to give them. Are they able to utilise it there and then? Or are you sowing the seed of the idea that may [...]

By |2024-07-24T19:20:26-04:00October 9th, 2020|Categories: Artists|Tags: , , , , , , |

Hannah Roberts on her Musical Upbringing and Studying with William Pleeth and Ralph Kirshbaum

Reprinted with permission from Aitchison Cellos. In the first of an annual series of interviews with leading UK cello professors, Hannah Roberts talks about her musical upbringing and her experience of studying with William Pleeth and Ralph Kirshbaum. ‘I will always be grateful to my first teacher, my mother, for her unfailing dedication and for striking such a skillful balance between keeping things fun and maintaining discipline. I’m also very thankful that she tested the set up and response of my modest childhood instruments to be sure that they would work well for me because the way an instrument is set up is tremendously formative to a person’s concept of sound and physical approach. ‘I was offered a place at the Menuhin school when I was 8 years old. [...]

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 Eleonore Schoenfeld (August, 1999)

Interview by Tim Janof Eleonore Schoenfeld earned her Artist Diploma at the famed Hochschule fur Musik in Berlin, Germany. An internationally known cellist, she has concertized in four continents as soloist with leading Philharmonic and Radio Orchestras, in recitals, and in a violin-cello duo with her sister, Alice Schoenfeld, known as the "Schoenfeld Duo." She has made numerous recordings of the solo and chamber literature for major TV and radio stations in Europe and the USA. Among them are works specifically written for the Schoenfeld Duo, which has recorded for Everest and Orion Master Recordings. She has been the Director of the international Gregor Piatigorsky Seminar for Cellists in Los Angeles since 1979. A renowned pedagogue, she is Professor at the University of Southern California (USC), where she has been [...]

Straight vs. Angled Bowing: A Visual Experiment

This past summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to study at the Bowdoin International Music Festival. One of the pieces that I brought to the festival was the Prelude to Bach’s Cello Suite No. 3. The main goal I had for the piece was to sound less “choppy” and play with a smoother legato sound. After trying everything I could think of to solve the problem on my own, I brought the issue to my teacher, Paul Katz, who like a skilled doctor immediately saw what the problem was and fixed it! The problem turned out to be that rather than keeping my bow straight, i.e., perpendicular to the strings, I bowed in a semicircle. As soon as I started to bow in a straight line, I was able to [...]

By |2024-07-24T19:41:06-04:00September 11th, 2019|Categories: Technique|Tags: , , , , , |

The Joy of Feuillard – A Sequential Approach to Teaching Bow Technique (Part 25 – Feuillard No. 35 – Variations #3-9)

  The next seven variations of Feuillard No. 35 all combine legato and staccato playing in various configurations over three strings. The issues involve coordination, and figuring out how to play smooth string crossings alternating with "catch and float" staccato strokes. Variations #3 and #4: At this point, most students are still working with the underlying concepts that we discussed in the last Blog: the twist motion and the release of the fingers while doing these variations. Zach made a lot of progress while practicing these things during the week. Today's videos demonstrate that he is absorbing the new concepts, compared to the videos in last week's Blog. At the end of the next video, Zach had a "revelation" about the relationship between the twist motion and the release of [...]

The Joy of Feuillard – A Sequential Approach to Teaching Bow Technique (Part 24 – Feuillard No. 35 – Theme and Variations #1-2)

  With today's blog we will begin our look at the Feuillard Theme No. 35, and the variations on that page which deal with string crossings on three strings.  The main issue will be trying to get smooth connections while crossing the strings. This is a lifetime occupation for cellists and other string players. It is relatively easy to play legato on one string, but to play legato while changing strings is truly difficult. There are a number of things we can do to try and get smooth string crossings. One of the concepts, as mentioned before, is to overlap the notes slightly - just as pianists do when they play legato. Another thing we can do is to make sure that there is a nice "ring" to the sound, [...]

By |2019-02-25T03:00:54-05:00February 25th, 2019|Categories: In the Practice Room, The Joy of Feuillard, Teaching|Tags: , , , |

The Joy of Feuillard – A Sequential Approach to Teaching Bow Technique (Part 23 – Feuillard No. 34 – Variations #26-40)

  Today's variations will work on 16th note rhythm patterns using a detaché stroke with the lower arm and string crossings with the upper arm.  The problems are all similar, so the video clips will show Tristan playing just a few measures of each variation. However, during the lesson he played each variation in its entirety. Variations #26-29: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yD_uJxpomPM&w=560&h=315   Variations #30-33:   These variations are similar to the previous ones, but they add bow distribution into the mix. That means we have to try to get the same sound at the frog and the tip. At the tip the main issue will be to use the down bows to get back to the tip each time so that we don't creep to the middle.  It is helpful to use [...]

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