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Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week – 20 August

Here’s your weekly dose of cello news.

Cello News

Concert Cancelled after Cellist Alisa Weilerstein Tests Covid-19 Positive

On Monday, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, who performed at the La Jolla Music Society’s Summerfest in San Diego, CA, on Sunday, tested Covid-19 positive, despite being fully vaccinated. As a result, the festival’s Tuesday night performance was canceled.

However, after receiving negative results from testing musicians and staff members, the society will hold the remaining concerts.

We wish Weilerstein a speedy recovery.

Genre-Defying Cellist Abel Selaocoe Signs with Warner Classics

Award-winning South African cellist-singer-composer based in Manchester, UK, Abel Selaocoe, has signed to Warner Classics. He has created a uniquely distinctive sound drawing from his experiences, bringing together elements from African and Western classical music.

He said:

“I am so excited to be joining the Warner Music family. A great home where my love for African and Classical music can live in one space. Many adventures ahead. Makwande!”

The Vice President of Warner Classics A&R, Bertrand Castellani, expressed his delight with the new signing:

“What is remarkable about Abel Selaocoe’s artistry is his ability to unify multiple genres with absolute ease and conviction – whether he is playing a Bach Sarabande, improvising on African songs or creating new sounds on voice and cello. It is an honour to welcome Abel into the Warner Classics family and we’re all excited to help share his musicianship worldwide.”

Congratulations to Selaocoe and Warner on this signing. We look forward to the resulting new recordings.

Read more in The Strad.

Cellist David Teie Created the Soundtrack to the New Whiskas Ad

National Symphony cellist and animal composer David Teie worked with Bafta-winning animator and director Nina Gantz on the new Whiskas ad by Abbot Mead Vickers BBDO, created by Jack Smedley and George Hackforth-Jones.

Teie created the soundtrack for this ad and a related playlist available on Spotify and YouTube. You may have seen some of his Music for Cats tracks we shared via Facebook to celebrate various cat days in the past. Teie’s work has been proven to reduce stress levels in cats.

Click here to read the full article by Sara Nelson.

Here are Teie’s Music for Cats albums:

Congratulations to Cellist David Liam Roberts, the Canada Council for the Arts 2021 First Prize Winner

Cellist David Liam Roberts has been named first prize ($25,000) winner of the Canada Council for the Arts 2021 Michael Measures Prize. Congratulations to David and to 2nd prize winner ($15,000), trombonist Robert Conquer!

Interview with Cellist Natalie Haas

Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 20 August

Photo by Irene Young.

Cellist Natalie Haas, famous for her traditional music performances, recently spoke to Vanessa McGowan before her performance at the Nordic Fiddlefest in Wisconsin.

Haas told McGowan that she started playing the cello at age nine after her sister started the violin. Her sister’s violin teacher recommended the cello for Natalie so that the sisters would not be competing with one another.

McGowan asked what Haas hopes aspiring cellists and folk musicians get grom hearing the concert at the Fiddlefest. Haas said:

“[I] hope if there are any cellists in the audience that they will be inspired to look into using the cello as a folk instrument. It often gets relegated to the classical realm, yet it can do so much more!”

Here are Haas and her sister Brittany playing together:


Nebraska Program, String Sprouts, Gives Students a Life-long Love of Music

Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 20 August

Cello students follow along during a String Sprouts class.

he String Sprouts program created by the Omaha Conservatory of Music in Omaha, Nebraska. The program teaches children as young as three years old and continues through age ten.

String Sprouts provides violin, viola, cello and bass instruction, instrument included, to children in underserved areas at no cost to caregivers to those who qualify.

Read the full article by

R.I.P.  Cellist and Conductor Ulysses Kirksey

Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 20 August

The Petersburg Symphony Orchestra (Virginia) conductor for over 30 years and cellist Ulysses S. Kirksey, III (8 May 1949 – 13 August 2021), has died in the hospice unit of St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond, VA.

Kirksey, a saxophonist who switched to the cello, joined the orchestra in 1980 two years after it was established by Dr. F. Nathaniel Gatlin. After Gatlin died, Kirksey picked up the baton and led the orchestra for the next 30+ years.

We offer our condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues. R.I.P. Ulysses S. Kirksey, III. Here is a fitting memorial piece. This is a recording he made in April 2020, playing the Sarabande from Bach Suite No. 5:

Podcasts / Broadcasts

Attention Please! – Cello Meets Piano

Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 20 August

(Airdate: August 16, 2021)

In anticipation of their August 27 Candlelight Concert, pianist Sheila Harwood and cellist Pamela Roberts discuss their lives in music and the pieces they will play, including a Fantasy by Schumann recorded for Attention Please!Beth Kissinger, of Trinity United Methodist Church, presents the concert, giving details for attending, which will be both livestreamed and broadcast on KPTZ.

Click here to listen to this show.

The concert will be live-streamed here. You will find the link for ways to donate at this link, too.

Click here to learn more about the artists.

Scores & Pours Episode 108 – Composer Oleksa Lozowchuk and Cellist Blair Lofgren


Nina Kotova and José Feghali – Brahms, Reger, Schumann

Release date: 30 July 2021

Warner Classics

Here is one track from the CD:

Hannah Collins – Resonance Lines

Release date: 25 September 2021

Sono Luminus

Both the title and the concept for the album reflect Collins’ background in both biomedical engineering and music.

Resonance Lines, a term borrowed loosely from physics, refers to the energy emitted or absorbed by an atom as it transitions between different energy states. This is a unique and innate quality for each type of atom that can only be measured and observed under the right enabling circumstances.

The repertoire also reflects the music of the past and

highlights the voices of female, LGBTQ+, and multiracial composers reflects an intersection of identities which resonates with my own experience as a musician, artist, and person,” says Collins.

Read more about the album in Alexa Criscitiello’s article on Broadway World.

Here is one piece on her new album:


Cellist Jeremiah Moon – Debut Album Sputnik

Release date: autumn 2021

Enci Records

Jeremiah Moon, a classically trained cellist, is also a singer, songwriter, and illustrator. He said of the new album:

“The underlying thread, like all 5 songs on the EP, is connection between people – the ways that we try to understand each other, and the ways we change each others’ orbits.”

Here is one track from the upcoming album:


Hauser – Cello Cover of “Chandelier” by Sia

The Piano Guys – Cello and Piano Cover of “Anyone” by Justin Bieber

Festival “Le Goût de la musique” de Luçon – Alexis Descharmes and Etsuko Hirose Play Schumann

Stéphane Tétreault and Marie-Eve Scarfone – Rachmaninov Cello Sonata in g minor, Op. 19, II.Allegro Scherzando

Kari Juusela – Oiseaux Verts

A cello quartet composed and performed by Dr. Kari Juusela

Video also by Dr. Kari Juusela

Riccardo Pes – Ubi Caritas

Luca Paccagnella – Zoltán Kodály Sonata in b minor, Op. 8, II. Adagio con gran espressione

UK Jazz Cellist Rupert Gillett – “At Last”

P.S. We love your cello case, Rupert!

Leecher – “Blind and Frozen” (Beast In Black cover)

“Symphonic Cello Metal – not an expression music lovers can encounter every day.”

Your Turn

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