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Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week – 26 February

Here’s your weekly dose of cello news.

Cello News

Johnny Lenz, Cellist and Sheriff’s Sergeant Recovers After Being Shot in December

Sgt Johnny Lenz

Sgt Johnny Lenz is a cellist as well as a Sheriff’s Sergeant.

Douglas County, Nevada, Sheriff’s Sergeant, and cellist in the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra, Johnny Lenz, who was shot in the line of duty before Christmas last year, has made a full recovery and is participating in a concert this weekend for the first time since the shooting.

In honor of Sgt. Lenz’s recovery and the heroic work of those who saved his life, the Reno Phil is offering free virtual streaming access for first responders and healthcare workers to the upcoming virtual concert, Flirting with Melodies, streaming on 27 and 28 February 2021.

Sgt. Lenz is part of a musical family – his father is the principal horn player and his sister is the concertmaster of the Reno Phil.

Julian Lloyd Webber Celebrates 30 Classical Musicians under 30 – Six Are Cellists

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

Cellist and conductor Julian Lloyd Webber has a new programme on Classic FM featuring 30 of today’s top classical musicians under the age of 30. The show is called Julian Lloyd Webber’s Rising Stars and starts this Sunday, 28 February. He will feature six artists per week for five weeks – and six of his chosen artists are cellists:

Cellist Amit Peled Featured in The Strad

Here is an excerpt of the article – Amit Peled said:

In 1924 Ernest Bloch wrote three short pieces which he called ‘From Jewish Life’. The first of these, Prayer, was the first work I studied with the Russian cellist and tutor Boris Pergamenschikow when I began studying in Berlin. Having grown up in Israel, I’d had Jewish music around me all my life, but until working with Boris I hadn’t thought about what it meant. It opened up the whole world of Jewish music to me, and it’s what led me to call my inaugural CD The Jewish Soul. Living away from my home country of Israel in the cosmopolitan environment of the US, I’ve found my Jewish identity has become more and more important. I play this piece very often as an encore and each time it takes me to a different place, depending on the hall, the pianist and the audience. It’s a perfect example of what I call ‘the Jewish sonata form’.

Click here to read the full article by Christian Lloyd in The Strad.

Cellist Clarence Frank Becomes the Only African American Conductor in the Houston Region

Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 26 February

Clarence Frank was a cellist in the Baytown Symphony for about 25 years before being named the orchestra’s Music Director.

Cellist and conductor Clarence Frank made history by becoming Baytown Symphony’s first African-American conductor. He’s played the cello in the orchestra, based in Baytown, Texas, for about 25 years. With this appointment, he’s also become the only African American director of any community or professional orchestra in the entire Houston region.

Frank said:

“In the classical music world, or in the symphony world, there’s not a lot of people of color, so it just means a great deal to me that I was given this chance to show that, you know, we have an interest in this.”

We congratulate Clarence Frank and wish him the best of luck in his new position!

Avett Brothers Cellist and CARV Fitness Founder Joe Kwon

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

Thinking of musicians does not always bring to mind mental images of jocks. However,  Joe Kwon is both a cellist and an athlete, and he’s recently founded CARV Fitness, providing on-demand workouts, yoga, and monthly cook-alongs.

Read this interesting Q&A with Joe Kwon.

Cellist Nitheyaa Shree Ramesh Earns 2021 Marshall Scholarship

Nitheyaa Shree Ramesh

Nitheyaa Shree

A senior neuroscience major at Georgia State, Nitheyaa Shree, has earned a prestigious Marshall Scholarship to study at the University of Bristol next year. Shree is also a multi-talented musician who plays the cello – as well as the violin, piano, veena, and nadaswaram.

When she and her family moved to the USA from Chennai, India, she turned to music for comfort.

She knew nothing about American culture, but she did know about music . . . So, she did something she’s done ever since: She used what she knew to understand something she didn’t. She kept practicing her native Eastern music while her mom helped her explore Western music on the violin, piano and cello.

She said:

“It’s always been a little difficult merging everything as a first-generation immigrant while staying true to my Indian heritage, but I feel like I’ve found a balance.”

Congratulations, Nitheyaa Shree! We wish you the best of luck in Bristol and hope you find time to play your cello while you’re in England.

Loiacono Prize – Cello Groups – Deadline 31 March 2021

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

This year’s Loiacono Prize is for groups of cellos, with particular attention to those with didactic purposes.

The winner will receive:

  • € 600 to the winners
  • 1 concert in the splendid setting of Polignano a Mare
  • accommodation and travel expenses

Deadline: 31 March 2021

Selection is completely online and there are no registration fees.

Cellist Adrienne Taylor Receives Composition Grant

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

Cellist composer Adrienne Taylor, a Resident Musician at the Community Musicworks in Rhode Island, has been awarded a 2021 Margaret and Rober MacColl Johnson Fellowship for composition. She writes:

The fellowship will give me the opportunity to continue writing music inspired by natural spaces and to expand my writing beyond the cello to include other instruments. My solo cello album, SoLa, came out of a very solitary time in my life, and the cello as a singular voice fit the expression of what I was experiencing then. Now, during the pandemic, I’ve been thinking about how much I value the relationships I share with people and the connection I feel with my musical colleagues and friends. I’m yearning for a time when I can make music together with other people again, and I’m feeling inspired to write music that I hope to be able to play one day with the musicians in my life who I care deeply about. It gives me something to dream about for the future.

We congratulate Adrienne Taylor and look forward to hearing the new music she composes!

Which Edition Should I Use?

Girl with a question

Image by Robin Higgins from Pixabay

Cellists rejoice! When learning something new, have you ever faced the problem of trying to decide which edition of a cello piece to purchase? Thankfully Professor Yuriy Leonovich has published a list of standard cello repertoire with helpful edition information.

Cellist James Morley Finds New Inspiration in Collaboration with Composer Liza Lim

Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 26 February

Cellist James Morley and composer Liza Lim. Credit: Jason South

The Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) has invested in Australian music, pairing composers and musicians to create more than 6.5 hours of new music. Cellist James Morley is working with composer Liza Lim.

Morley has been reinvigorated by this new collaboration. He said:

“What’s so good about collaborating with a composer is there’s so much opportunity to contribute to the process of a work of music being created and being able to put a piece of yourself into it. It is really something special that you don’t get to experience with the standard classical repertoire.”

Music Teacher Falls in Love with the Cello in Retirement

Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 26 February

Peggy Corcoran Lambert had a career as a music teacher, specializing in teaching children’s choirs, but in retirement started playing the cello. She used the money she received for a music teaching award to buy an instrument and says she hasn’t put it down since. What an inspiration for those starting to play cello in retirement!

R.I.P. Cellist Wolfgang Boettcher (30 January 1935 – 24 February 2021)

Wolfgang Boettcher was a German cellist and teacher. He served as the principal cellist of the Berlin Philharmonic under Herbert von Karajan and was a founding member of The 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic. He was a professor at the Hochschule für Musik Berlin.

R.I.P. Wolfgang Boettcher.


On The Air with Cellist and Composer Joshua McClain

Enjoy this interview of contemporary cellist, composer, artist, and filmmaker, Joshua McClain.


Exclusive Pre-Premiere Video – Stijn Kuppens: Chaconne Theobroma

Stijn Kuppens has kindly given Cello Museum visitors this exclusive pre-premiere of one of his new videos: Chaconne Theobroma. Read more about him in The Cello Museum interview.

Title: Chaconne Theobroma (composition/recording by Stijn Kuppens)
Videographer: David Jacobs
Dancer: Laetitia Janssens

Stijn says of this new work:

“Videographer David Jacobs captures today’s zeitgeist in his video language. With his background in breakdance, he was the ideal videographer for me to work with.


“I’m very honored to have Laetitia dancing to my music and bringing it such a special extra dimension. Having David filming her dance art, brings a third collaborator since I would describe him as a dancing videographer.


“The spirit of the video is about the joy of life, the joy of dancing, being free in your mind, and facing life with positive energy.” – Stijn Kuppens

Debussy Sonata for Cello and Piano in d minor — Prologue and Sérénade

Enjoy these beautiful videos from cellist Alexander Hersh. The first features views of Chicago and the in second, Hersh finds himself in a dream.

  • Alexander Hersh, cello
  • Victor Asunción, piano
  • Created by: Alexander Hersh, Mike Grittani, and Miles Jappa

Gary Barlow – The Crooner Sessions #81:  “Hallelujah” Featuring Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason

Have you been following Gary Barlow’s Crooner Sessions? Here is #81 featuring cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason.

Music in Minnesota Presents: The OK Factor Play “Beach Spring”

Enjoy this beautiful performance of an arrangement of the traditional hymn, “Beach Spring,” by The OK Factor, cellist Olivia Diercks, and violinist Karla Colahan.

Daily Joy – From the Top – Paganini Variations on One String, 15-Year-Old Cellist Brandon Leonard

Wow! Hear and see the tremendous talent of young cellist Brandon Leonard. We look forward to following his career.


Daily Joy – From the Top – “At the Fountain” by Karl Davidov, 15-year-old Cellist Hayden Idson

Wow! Enjoy the cellistic acrobatics of another talented young cellist. We look forward to following the career of Hayden Idson.

Stagione Concertistica 2021 Live Streaming

In case you missed it, here is a wonderful concert from the end of January still online today.

  • Edgar Moreau, Violoncello
  • David Kadouch, Pianoforte


  • Francis Poulenc – Sonata per violoncello e pianoforte, FP 143
  • Sergej Prokof’ev – Sonata in Do maggiore per violoncello e pianoforte, op. 119
  • César Franck – Sonata in La maggiore, per violoncello e pianoforte

Your Turn

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