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Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week – 2 April

Here’s your weekly dose of cello news.

Cello News

10-Year-Old Boca Raton Cellist Writes Song about Children’s Mental Health Issues

10-year-old Cellist Eden Gross

10-year-old Cellist Eden Gross

The pandemic has inspired some amazing creative endeavors by artists all over the world. In Boca Raton, 10-year-old cellist Eden Gross was inspired to write a song. She said:

“We’re are struggling, we really feel like we don’t know what to do,” she explained. “We are stuck.”

She put these feelings into her song: “Shadows on the Wall.” Although it doesn’t include her cello playing, we think this song is a remarkable contribution from such a young musician. Congratulations, Eden Gross!

Watch the news report below:

Read the full story by Sabirah Rayford.

Cellist Chris Howlett Saved Lives Through Digital Concert Hall

Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 2 April

Chris Howlett speaks at Melbourne Digital Concert Hall’s first birthday. Credit: Nick Miller.

As the world was shutting down last year, Melbourne, Australia, cellist Chris Howlett organized a pandemic performance space in the form of the Melbourne Digital Concert Hall:

Just over a year ago, with the doors to Melbourne’s performing arts industry suddenly slammed shut, cellist Chris Howlett made four phone calls. He called Kawai and asked for a grand piano. He called 5Stream for some cameras and an online platform. He called 3MBS to borrow some microphones. And he asked Athenaeum producer Greg Hocking if he could borrow his theatre. Remarkably, they all said yes.

Through concerts in this digital space, he helped raise money to support out-of-work musicians, united people separated by the shutdown, brought comfort to thousands – and essentially saved lives.

Click here to read the full story by Nick Miller.

Manhattan Storefront Concerts During the Pandemic

Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 2 April

Cellist Michael Katz and pianist Spencer Myer perform as part of the Kaufman Music Center’s Musical Storefronts pop-up concert series on 25 March 2021 in New York City. (AFP)

Kaufman Music Center’s Musical Storefronts pop-up concert series has presented over 100 live concerts, bringing hop to New York musicians and audiences alike. Performers and listeners can interact through a window rather than through a digital screen. Cellist Michael Katz said:

“It’s really a reciprocal relationship that we need. Being able to bring the music to people like we did today is really something unique and special.”

Bach in Barcelona – The Sound of 22 Cellists

Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 2 April

On 31 March, 22 cellists gathered in Barcelona at La Boqueria market to play Bach.

Following the international movement ‘Bach in the subways’, which emerged in 2011 in the New York subway with the aim of bringing classical music closer to New Yorkers, the Boqueria and the Liceu have joined this initiative to “make music be accessible to everyone ”, said the general director of the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Valentí Oviedo.

In these times of pandemic in which solidarity between one and the other is more necessary than ever to get ahead, I think doing it with music is a very good initiative,” he said.

Cellist Ben Sollee Featured in Ace Magazine

Ben Sollee on the cover of Ace Magazine April 2021

Cellist Ben Sollee is the cover story of this month’s Ace Magazine. Read it here.

Cello-Playing Chicago Gastroenterologist Raises Awareness During Pandemic

Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 2 April

Dr. Ben Levy, a gastroenterologist and cellist, in the endoscopy suite at Mount Sinai Hospital on 30 March 2021. Through the pandemic, he has organized virtual concerts designed not only to entertain but to educate people about COVID-19.

Dr. Ben Levy, the cello-playing head of the gastroenterology department at Mount Sinai Hospital organized a star-studded concert for this past Wednesday called: “Tune It Up: A Concert To Raise Colorectal Cancer Awareness.” The concert featured 28 artists.

Watch part of the concert here.

Following Yo-Yo Ma’s Example, Cellists Perform at Vaccination Sites

Click on the images to go to the original stories.

Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 2 April

Frederick Rivera, seated in a wheelchair, listens to Anja Wood play cello along with other musicians funded by the nonprofit ‘Sing For Hope’ after getting vaccinated at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, Thursday, 18 March 2021, in New York. Rivera’s cousin Joe, listens with him. “I love it, especially the strings,” said the elder Rivera. “It’s very soothing.”


Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 2 April

HELPING OUT: Conductor and cellist Arthur Arnold, with Mélie de Champlain, Vancouver Coastal Health director, Powell River community of care, will be playing music in April for people preparing for their COVID-19 vaccinations at Powell River Recreation Complex. Arnold is encouraging people to volunteer to help out with the large undertaking of vaccinating Powell River’s population. Photo: Paul Galinski.

Inspired by The Cello Museum! LEGO Ice Cello

LEGO Ice Cello by Minsol K.

LEGO Ice Cello by Minsol K.

LEGO Ice Cello by Minsol K.

A closer look at the LEGO ice cello by Minsol K. (Note the Bach Cello Suites in the background!)

10-year-old cello student Minsol K. was inspired by the ice cellos and the LEGO cello in our current exhibition, Innovations in Cello-Making Materials, and sent us these images of the ice cello, cellist, and igloo performance space he created out of LEGOs. He’s even made an ice cello bow and cello chair! Thank you for sharing these photos, Minsol!

R.I.P. Cellist Ottomar Borwitzky (1930 – 29 March 2021)

Ottomar Borwitzky

Ottomar Borwitzky. (Photo: Michaela Gericke)

Ottomar Borwitzky, 1st principal cellist of the Berlin Philharmonic for 37 years, has died at the age of 90.

From the Berlin Philharmonic website:

He was one of the founding members of the 12 Cellists. From 1979, he was also a teacher at the Karajan Academy. Among his solo appearances with the Berliner Philharmoniker, his interpretations of Antonín Dvořák’s Cello Concerto and Richard Strauss’ Don Quixote are particularly memorable.

Knut Weber, cellist and chairman of the Berliner Philharmoniker: “Ottomar Borwitzky was a musical personality of extraordinary charisma. He played with an intensity that gave expression to even the briefest musical phrase. His sound was flawless, yet always lively. Through his skill, musicality and incomparable charisma, he was an inspiration to the orchestra’s cello section for decades. In a personal capacity, he was gracious, humorous and always willing to share his immense knowledge with others. With Ottomar Borwitzky we lose a key musician of the Karajan era. We will not forget him.”


Cellist Jordan Hamilton – Vibrations

Released 17 March.

Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 2 April

Kalamazoo-based cellist and songwriter Jordan Hamilton.

Purchase the new album here.

Listen to this Stateside interview with Jordan Hamilton:

Lavena’s Debut’s Album – in your hands

From the official description:

LAVENA’s debut album “in your hands” takes us on a journey through a new musical landscape for solo cello. The album features three world premiere recordings of works by Bryce Dessner (of The National), Gemma Peacocke, and Jessie Montgomery. The premieres are paired with recent works by Caroline Shaw, Ted Hearne, and Judah Adashi’s Björk inspired “my heart comes undone”, to which Björk tweeted the single and wrote: “Judah Adashi listened to ‘Unravel’ & heard a new song inside it.”

Cellist Lavena started playing the cello at age 6,

but she didn’t take to the instrument until her father gave her a CD of Jacqueline du Pré performing Antonín Dvořák’s Cello Concerto. Inspired by du Pré’s incredible sound and fearless bravura, Lavena fell in love with the cello and knew that music was her calling.

Order here.

Sebastian Plano – Save Me Not

Release date: 2 July 2021. Available for Pre-order.

Here is “A Present For A Young Traveller,” the new single from Grammy-nominated, Argentinian artist and composer, Sebastian Plano. Taken from the new album Save Me Not.

A Present for a Young Traveller

Joost van Dongen – The Ageless Gate

This innovative debut album by cellist Joost van Dongen tells the story of a mysterious artefact and a gate to another world. There are 13 songs connected by the story, which is told by voice actor Chris Einspahr. Release date: 26 March 2021.

Here is more information from Joost van Dongen:

The cello is the foundation of the album, which varies from cello trios to songs with cello, drums, guitar and keyboard. It is unique music with a sound that goes from melodic and euphoric to dark, pumping cello rhythms. Joost: “Cello is mostly known as a classical instrument and a background instrument, but it’s so much more than that. I enjoy experimenting and exploring the possibilities of the instrument. My inspiration comes from rock, minimal music and game soundtracks. The leading role for the cello really makes it something special.”

About Joost van Dongen:

Joost van Dongen is a cellist and composer from the Netherlands. He composed for the soundtracks of the game Proun and the webcomic The Shadow Prophet. He played in the band Distance and in the Kunstorkest, and regularly haunts jam sessions with his cello. Since 2012 Joost has regularly performed with Cello Fortress, including in Canada, Czech Republic, Ireland and the Netherlands. Cello Fortress is a unique combination of a computer game and live improvised music. Besides a musician Joost is also a game developer: he worked on the games Awesomenauts, Blightbound, De Blob and more. The album The Ageless Gate was composed and recorded by Joost, with guest performances on drums, guitar, bass, percussion, vocals and violin.

Budapest Crushes

This album of works by David Warin Solomons features many tracks with cellist Mátyás Ölveti. Released 27 March 2021.

Podcasts / Broadcasts

Power of Music – “My baroque cello, my voice” – Sarah Freiberg Ellison – 03/25/21

Komako Akai Whitelaw interviews Sarah Freiberg Ellison, Powers Music School cello teacher, co-chair of the string department, and daughter of one of the community music school founders.

Oregon Symphony Concert – 29 March

This is a two-hour broadcast of the recent Oregon Symphony concert. The second hour features cellist Johannes Moser playing the Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1. You can listen to the concert here.

Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 2 April

Cellist Johannes Moser

Eine Kleine Nacht-Rock, Anyone?

Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 2 April

Igor Cetkovic, the principal cellist of the Kalamazoo Symphony, was the featured soloist on 26 March.

Listen to a pre-concert interview with the music director of the Kalamazoo Symphony, Julian Kuerti, and cellist Igor Cetkovic. Although the concert is over, the interview is worth hearing.

Live and Local with Mike Hogan: Interview with Renowned Cellist, Joshua Roman

This interview was done before Joshua Roman’s recent performance with the Omaha Symphony. Click here to listen.

I Know This Guy With Norm Farra‪r‬ (Episode 49) – The Mental Game Of Music / Matthew Barley

Program Description:

On this week’s episode of I Know This Guy, we have Matthew Barley. Matthew is a world renowned cellist and music educator. He’s worked with the likes of Leonard Bernstein and has been featured on TedTalks! We dive deep into the practice behind the scenes of a professional cellist along with the mental game that is played throughout a performer’s career.


Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott – Zdes’ khorosho, Op. 21, No. 7

PBS Firing Line (Season 2021, Episode 439) – Yo-Yo Ma

Program description:

World-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma performs for “Firing Line” and joins Margaret Hoover to discuss the impact of the pandemic on the arts and his belief that music can comfort people and connect cultures in even the darkest hours.

The Angel of 1985 – Cellist and Composer Stijn Kuppens

Film by David Jacobs

Krzysztof Penderecki: “Agnus Dei” – ON THE BRIDGE Cello Ensemble

Congratulations to On the Bridge on this project! Thank you for including The Cello Museum.

Ofra Harnoy – Bashana Haba’ah

Alexander Hersh and Victor Asuncion – Fauré Romance for Cello and Piano, Op. 69

Stijn Kuppens – The Road Not Taken (Dialogue with percussion) – Live Version

  • Composer and Cellist: Stijn Kuppens
  • Percussion: Brecht Claesen

World Premiere of Vladimir Padwa Menuett by Cellist Hans Schröck Cello and Pianist Bernard Bagger

Sheet music available here.

Lachner Serenade for Four Cellos, Op. 29 – Quarteto de Cellos da Escola da OSPA

Cellists: Rodrigo Alquati, Mônica Arn, Shayane Franceschini, and Penélope Teixeira

Jazz Cello Tunes – Donna Lee by Miles Davis – UK Jazz Cellist Rupert Gillett

Echotal with Jo Quail – “Melting Ice”

  • Music by David Rooney and Jo Quail.
  • Guitars – David Rooney.
  • Cello and percussion – Jo Quail.
  • Synths and additional percussion – Torsten Kinsella.
  • Produced, mixed and mastered by Torsten Kinsella.
  • Video by Chariot of Black Moth
  • Additional footage Susanne Bach

Daisy Chute with Cellist Midori Jaeger  – Troubador Boy

Your Turn

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