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Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week – 13 August

Here’s your weekly dose of cello news.

Cello News

Cellist Plays on Violin Boat

This week, the cello story with the most news coverage is the cellist playing on the 40-foot long violin boat in Venice.

Artist Livio De Marchi built Noah’s violin (like Noah’s ark, but more musical) in partnership with the Venice Development Consortium as a tribute to those who have lost their lives in the pandemic.

The Independent video focused on the unnamed cellist playing on Noah’s violin. (But why such a reputable news source refers to the Prelude from Bach Suite No. 1 as a “song” is a bit of a mystery.)

Click here to see photos and watch another video of the event in the Daily Mail.

Cellist Yalda Davis on a Quest to Plays in 500 Historic ChurchesCellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 13 August

English cellist Yalda Davis began her quest to play in over 500 medieval churches in the county of Suffolk in 2017 and has nearly reached her goal. This project is raising funds for Suffolk Historic Churches Trust, the Churches Conservation Trust, and the Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

Davis said:

“It’s been an amazing journey. When I started out, I thought there might be 100 to 200 of these historic churches, but there are more than 500, and I have played in some smaller chapels as well.”

This has also been a personal quest for Davis. She explained:

“I was inspired after I played for a friend’s funeral, in Bury St Edmunds, and there was something special about the experience. It was the start of a new relationship with my cello . . . I had always struggled with it and was nervous when I played. I felt I wasn’t nervous in any way there . . . I also just wanted to see inside all the churches. I really like playing in smaller village churches – my favourite is Thornham Parva.”

Read the full article by Judy Rimmer here.

Donate to her fundraising efforts for the three charities here.

Listen to one of her performances here:

Rostropovich Family Museum to open in Russia

Rostropovich Museum to Open in Russia

A new museum dedicated to Mstislav Rostropovich, the Rostropovich Family Museum, is scheduled to open in Orenburg, Russia, to coincide with what would have been his 95th birthday. This will be the first museum dedicated to him in Russia. Other sites are in Azerbaijan, Germany, and the USA.

Violin Channel Interview with Cellist Mike Block, Global Musician Workshop Director

Cellist Mike Block Violin Channel Interview

The Violin Channel interviewed cellist Mike Block about the Global Musician Workshop, which he directs and which is hosted in partnership with the New England Conservatory and the Silkroad Ensemble.

Block said:

“Our mission is to foster a community of global-minded musicians for the 21st century and to support the development of the artistic voice of each participant.”

Performances will be online, and Block told The Violin Channel:

“We hope to inspire our audiences to find joy and meaning in the whole world of music, building on the idea that “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”

Cellist Frederick Zlotkin Retires from New York City Ballet

Cellist Fred Zlotkin

Principal cellist of the New York City Ballet, Frederick Zlotkin, has retired after nearly half a century.

We congratulate him on his retirement.

Janet Horvath Features Cello Music by Women Composers

Nadia Boulanger

Nadia Boulanger

Cellist and author Janet Horvath published a great article featuring works by Nadia Boulanger, Dame Ethyl Smyth, Mel (Mélanie) Hélène Bonis, and Henriëtte Bosmans.

She writes:

“Accomplished women composers of yesteryear wrote music that was highly regarded by both their male peers and the listening public in their day. These composers, who struggled for recognition, their works neglected for decades, deserve the accolades and attention they are beginning to receive from performers and audiences. I’d like to feature a few of my favorites!”

Read Horvath’s article here. We’re looking forward to Part II.

Business Leader Sheila Johnson Started the Cello During the Pandemic

Sheila Johnson

Inspirational billionaire business leader and Virginia hotelier Sheila Johnson talked about taking up the cello during the pandemic in an interview in Food & Wine. In addition to her business accomplishments, Johnson has been a concert violinist, too.

Asked why she decided to start the cello, she said:

“the cello is even more natural [than playing the violin], and I love the way it sounds. I love the low tones. I just feel very natural embracing the cello. You know, you can give your cello a big hug without it falling on the ground. It’s a terrific instrument.”

Another of our favorite quotes from the interview is:

“Diversity is a moral obligation.”

We wish Johnson all the best in everything, particularly in her cello playing.

Read the full interview by Hunter Lewis here.

Podcasts / Broadcasts

The Strad Podcast Episode #7: Cellist Hannah Roberts on Studies and Etudes

Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 13 August

Cellist Hannah Roberts and editor (and cellist) Davina Shum discuss studies and etudes in playing and teaching. Including an excerpt of a live recording of the Frank Bridge Sonata with pianist Simon Parkin.

Hannah is the principal cellist of Manchester Camerata and serves on the teaching faculty of Royal Northern College of Music and Royal Academy of Music.

RNZ Upbeat – Cellist Ashley Brown: Crouching Tiger, Solo Cellist

Cellist Ashley Brown

Host David Morriss and cellist Ashley Brown

discuss the quality of music in conjuring images, the hazards of playing a centuries-old instrument, and in a nod to all pun-lovers, Ashley’s latest collaboration and album, LimonCello.

Ashely Brown is the cellist and founder of the NZTrio and has an upcoming solo performance of the Crouching Tiger Concerto.

Music included in this show:

Tan DUN: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon theme. Performed by Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai National Orchestra, Shanghai Percussion Ensemble.

Claire COWAN: Subtle Dances. Performed by NZTrio.

David SELFE: LimonCello. Performed by Ashley Brown (cello), David Selfe (piano).


RNZ Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan – The Cello with Heleen du Plessis

The Cello with Heleen du Plessis

Host Jesse Mulligan talks about the cello with cellist Heleen du Plessis, who teaches at Otago University.

ABC Classic Lunchtime Concert – ASO: Haydn’s Cello Concerto in D

ASO: Haydn's Cello Concerto in D

Listen to this live recording of a concert by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra conducted by Nathan Aspinall with cellist Simon Cobcroft. Here is the program:

Buckskin and Goldsmith: Pudnanthi Padninthi
Haydn: Cello Concerto in D
Schumann: Symphony No. 1 in B flat Op. 38


Cellist Matt Magerkurth – Amends

Release date: 25 June 2021

Get the album here.

Here is one of the tracks:

Lung – Come Clean Right Now

Release date: Expected 20 August 2021.

Kate Wakefield – vocals, cello
Daisy Caplan – drums
Paige Beller – vocals on “Wave”

Pre-order here.


Prague Cello Quartet – Everything’s Alright by Andrew Lloyd Webber

arr. Petr Wajsar

Yoon Kyung Cho “CelloDeck” – Chopin Nocturne Op. 9, No.2

Cellist Thomas Prechal (16) and Pianist Natasja Douma – Tchaikovsky Pezzo Capriccioso

Alexey Shor’s Cello Concerto in F Performed by Claudio Bohórquez

Cellist Julie Reimann and Pianist Ellyses Kuan – Oyfn Pripetchik

arr. by Joachim Johow

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