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Celebrating New Music for the Cello – New York Women Composers Spotlight: Whitney George

A New Collaborative Series with the NYWC

Welcome to the first installment of our new series in collaboration with the New York Women Composers (NYWC). Each month will feature a NYWC member, highlighting one of her works for the cello.

This series was created to showcase the composers in the NYWC, inform cellists seeking new music to add to their repertoire, and help listeners of cello music find new favorites, too. Many thanks to the NYWC, especially composer Rain Worthington for all of her help with this project.

Featured Artist: Whitney George

We are excited to begin our new series with the composer and conductor Whitney George.

From her bio:

“Whitney George’s music traverses the affective terrain between tragedy and ecstasy, fragility and strength, bringing together romantically delicate intimacy and the spectacular darkness of the macabre. Haunted by ghosts and/of love, George’s operas, staged multimedia works, and chamber music coloristically explore the mysteries of irrationality, nightmare, and memory, sonically seeking lost objects and hidden subjects.”

Whitney George

Composer Whitney George

Featured Work: “Sleight of Hand” for Flute (or Clarinet) and Cello

Sleight of Hand, composed for a duo of voices, explores the timbral overlap between woodwind and string colors, exploring a number of special, extended techniques to confuse the listener as to which of the two instruments they are hearing. The wind player is asked to also use vocal techniques, incorporating a quote of the infamous magician Harry Houdini (1874-1926):

“Some say I do it this way, others say I do it that way, but I say I do it the other way.”


  • Title: Sleight of Hand
  • Composer: Whitney George
  • Instrumentation: Flute/Alto Flute/Vocal Effects (or Clarinet) and Cello
  • Movements: 1
  • Duration of Work: 10 minutes
  • Number of Measures: 384
  • Number of Pages: cello part 8; flute part 8; full score 14
  • Tempo: (varies, mostly quarter = 50, dotted quarter = 140, and quarter = 70)
  • Difficulty Level: Advanced
  • Highest Position Reached: thumb
  • Techniques Employed: 4/4, 6/8, 9/8, 3/4, 2/4 time signatures, sometimes changing rapidly; bass and treble clefs; slurs; fingered harmonics; tremolo; double, triple, and quadruple stops – some upward and some downward; arpeggiated chords; sul tasto; thumb position
  • Publisher: self-published by Whitney George
  • Where to Purchase Parts and Score: Whitney George’s website
  • Cost of Score: $30* (digital download)


This is the premiere performance, which took place in New York in November 2017. The performers are cellist Ben Larsen and flutist Isabel Gleicher.

Additional titles by Whitney George Featuring the Cello

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*Prices are accurate at the time of article publication, but the Cello Museum cannot take responsibility for subsequent price changes.