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

Here’s your weekly dose of cello news.

Cello News

More than a Concert Artist – Cellist Zuill Bailey Speaks School Students About the Healing Power of MusicZuill Bailey giving an online school program.

Grammy Award-winning cellist Zuill Bailey shares his talents far beyond the concert stage. This past week he spoke with students at a high school in El Paso, giving a presentation called “Music is Medicine.”

“We all know that the mind is an incredibly powerful tool,” Bailey said. “If you think positively, and do things that infuse us with forward momentum, it can cure. It can soothe.”

Bailey credits the cello’s healing powers to its vibration and ability to mimic the sound of the human voice.

Cellist Nicholas Gold Plays in the Snow in NashvilleCellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 19 February

Instead of sledding, cellist Nicholas Gold decided to take his back-up cello out and play “The Swan” in East Nashville.

“Who says you can’t play in the snow!!! This was so much fun and peaceful,” Gold posted to Instagram. “I recorded this on my 89 year old backup cello and you can hear the pegs slip and go waaaay out of tune. Of course I rushed inside and started drying the instrument off before it became damaged.”

Watch Brannon Cho Perform Britten Cello Suite No. 1 –  and Other Concerts – for FreeCellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 19 February

Sign up for free at Guarneri Hall and get instant access to Brannon Cho’s performance and many other concerts.

Contest: Help Title This New Cello Piece

Contest: Help Title This New Cello Piece

Composer Rain Worthington has a new composition for unaccompanied cello, and it needs a title. We thought it might be fun for one of our Cello Museum family members to help her name the piece, so we are making the process into a contest.

Enter for a chance to win prizes!

Listen to the new piece and learn how to enter the contest here.

Classics for Kids Foundation Grants

Neighborhood Strings, Worcester, MA

The Classics for Kids Foundation grant program may be of interest to some of you who are associated with a school or non-profit music program. Here are some of the details from the website:

Who Can Apply?

If your school or non-profit organization believes in the role of fine instruments in your program, and can show evidence of need and commitment to raising matching funds, you are a strong candidate for the Classics for Kids matching grant program. Applications accepted quarterly. Deadlines: June 30, September 30, December 31 and March 31.

Click here to get more information and download an application.

Slackwater Represents Great Bay in Colorado Film FestivalCellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 20 February

Check out this songscape (music and video taken together) by cellist Ben Sollee and videographer Mallory Cunningham. Inspired by Sollee’s 2018 time at Great Bay in Oceanville, NJ, with marine biologists from both the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge and Rutgers University Marine Field Station, it was made in partnership with the organization Sustain Music and Nature. We shared it last October when it was released. Listen and watch it again here:

This video is now an official entry in the Colorado Environmental Film Festival, happening now through 21 February. Support the artists and the organization Sustain Music and Nature by purchasing tickets. This video is entered in “Public Lands and Parks.”

Congratulations, Ben Sollee!

Misfortune Turns to Fortune in Cuenca for Cellist Yackson SanchezCellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 20 February

Venezuelan cellist Yackson Sanchez has found happiness in Cuenca, Ecuador. Originally he went to Ambato, about 200 miles from Cuenca, for a possible teaching job that fell through. Fortunately, a music teacher and friend called the maestro of the Cuenca Symphony, Michael Meisner, on his behalf, and he was offered a position in the orchestra.

“I was surprised about the call as it is really hard to get into the orchestra,” Sanchez said. “For foreigners, it is especially hard, and I am not just talking about Venezuelans.”

Cellist Rafael Wallfisch Plays Concert to Raise Funds to Stop Westminster Holocaust MemorialCellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 19 February

The son of Auschwitz survivor, cellist Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, cellist Rafael Wallfisch played a free concert last Monday at St John’s Smith Square with pianist John York to raise money to stop a Holocaust memorial from being erected in a park beside Parliament.

R.I.P. Cellist Jean-Marie Gamard

Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 19 February

Jean-Marie Gamard

Jean-Marie Gamard, the former principal cellist of the Orchestre national de France has died. Revered as a teacher, he taught at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse in Paris and at the Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional in Rueil-Malmaison.


Classical IPR in Concert: Laredo-Robinson DuoCellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 19 February

This week Classical IPR in Concert is featuring a program played by violinist Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson in August 2020 before a reduced-density audience at the Great Lakes Center for the Arts.

Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi from a Cellist’s Point of View: Minutes1-5Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 19 February

Star Wars cellist Erika Duke-Kirkpatrick (The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker) discusses the first 5 minutes of Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi with Chrysanthe.

Topics include:

  • Erika busts some John Williams myths.
  • John Williams’ conducting style.
  • What recording sessions were like (secrecy, VIPs, funny moments, how they differed from other scoring sessions).
  • Why the opening crawl Main Titles sound different across eras (from tuning to mixing and more).
  • Cello demonstration of the Main Title and a breakdown of the rhythm.
  • The resonance of certain keys for string instruments.
  • How the motion picture lines up with the soundtrack.

A Haydn Concerto, A Virtuosic Teenage Cellist, and an Homage to Bach‬ From the Top

NPR From the Top

This week’s show features 15-year-old cellist Hayden Idson, from Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, performing “At the Fountain” by Karl Davidov (1838-1889). There are other wonderfully talented young musicians on the show, too. Hayden Idson’s portion of the show begins at 23:37.

INTERPLAY, Conversations in Music, Hosted by Michael Shapiro with Cellist Maya Beiser

Enjoy this conversation with the talented Maya Beiser. Here’s the show’s description:

This INTERPLAY features cellist Maya Beiser speaking with host Michael Shapiro. Passionately forging her artistic path through uncharted territories, Maya Beiser has been captivating audiences worldwide, bringing a bold and unorthodox presence to contemporary classical music, experimenting with various musical styles, and defying conventional norms with her boundary-crossing performances. There is simply no one like the unique and captivating Maya Beiser, an extraordinary musician and world force for good.

INTERPLAY, Conversations in Music, Michael Shapiro, host, with guest, cellist Maya Beiser from Michael Shapiro on Vimeo.

Albums and DVD

Saxophonist Jeff Coffin Announces New LP with Cellist Helen Gillet, Let It ShineCellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 19 February

Jeff Coffin, Dave Matthews Band saxophonist, and cellist Helen Gillet are releasing a collaborative album called Let It Shine, due to be released on 19 March.

“Demonstrating the prowess of both of these master multi-instrumentalists, Coffin and Gillet perform a total of 13 instruments between the two of them, with Gillet occasionally augmenting the sonic tapestry with the looping of her cello,” reads an official description.

The Royal Ballet’s The Cellist and Dances at a Gathering

Available to pre-order on DVD and Blu-ray

Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 19 February

Lauren Cuthbertson as The Cellist and Marcelino Sambé as The Instrument in The Cellist.

The Cellist, a ballet about the life and career of Jacqueline du Pré, was premiered this time last year, and recordings of it on DVD and Blu-ray will be released next Friday. Cellist Hetty Snell is featured as the solo cellist in this performance. Also included is Jermone Robbins’ Dances at a Gathering.

Available to pre-order now.


Watch Peter Gabriel’s new version of “Biko” with Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Vocalist Angélique Kidjo, and  Bassist Meshell Ndegeocello

Here is the description from YouTube:

In honor of Black History Month, we are proud to bring the message of Peter Gabriel’s “Biko” back to the forefront, 40 years after its initial release. Inspired by the death of anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko while in police custody, this song’s relevance still holds true with the unfortunate police brutality that continues to take place in the USA, Nigeria and many places around the world. More than 25 musicians from seven countries join Gabriel for this global rendition to share a message of unity, peace, and hope, including Beninese vocalist and activist Angélique Kidjo, Silkroad’s Yo-Yo Ma, and bass legend Meshell Ndegeocello.

The eyes of the world are watching… Let each of us lead with love and let that love ripple throughout the universe.

“Silent Rain,” for Therevox, Cello, and Juno 6

Composer Miguel d’Oliveira shared this short video, demonstrating the rare Therevox synthesizer in his composition, Silent Rain.

Your Turn

Have cello news you’d like included? Please get in touch.