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

Here’s your weekly dose of cello news.

Cello News

Before Yo-Yo Ma: Cellist Mollie Glazer Plays at Vaccine Clinic on 1 March

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

Cellist Mollie Glazer with Nantucket Cottage Hospital staff members Michele Cranston and Suzanne Carroll at the New South Road VFW vaccination site on March 1.

The biggest cello story last week was Yo-Yo Ma’s impromptu performance at a vaccination clinic after receiving his 2nd shot on 13 March. Earlier in the month, cellist Mollie Glazer played her cello at the Nantucket Cottage Hospital vaccination site.

Will more cellists play to soothe anxious recipients of the vaccine? Please keep us posted.

Read the full story by Dean Geddes here.

Yo-Yo Ma’s Silkroad Receives Largest Gift in its History

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

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded Yo-Yo Ma’s Silkroad $3 million, which will fund a 4-year effort to

expand educational initiatives for social justice and equity, and to create new musical projects under the leadership of Artistic Director Rhiannon Giddens.

Yo-Yo Ma said of the gift:

“the Mellon Foundation’s extraordinary generosity will allow Rhiannon and Silkroad to continue building the creativity, access, and collaboration that we all need to thrive. I can’t wait to join them on the journey.”

Professor Timothy Holley Creates Graded List of  Works by Black Composers for Cello Students

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

This week Professor Timothy Holley released his list of graded music for cello by black composers. He wrote:

“This music stands apart from the larger European pedagogical tradition and technical orientation, but should find a place of similarity and alliance with the Suzuki-influenced folk song repertoire that so many of us have heard in our early lessons and gradual indoctrination into the European-American art-music tradition.”

Cellist Louis Saxton, Survivor of the Boulder Shootings, Plays to Honor Victims

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

Louis Saxton of Bemidji, Minnesota, survived the mass shooting at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado.  (FOX 21)

Cellist Louis Saxton, a freshman cello major at Colorado University, felt like he “had to do something” after surviving the shooting at the King Soopers in Boulder. He was at the store when the shooting occurred but got out safely. He chose to comfort others through his music. He plans to play every day at the site for 10 days, one day for each victim.

There is a good video interview with him here in an article by Jana Shortal and another article by Courtney Godfrey here.

Getting to Know Natalie Haas

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

Internationally acclaimed traditional cellist Natalie Haas is taking part in Music for Galway’s CELLISSIMO festival. Haas was featured in the Galway Advertiser in a short Q&A piece. Our favorite is:

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My cello – been with me through it all.

Cellist Injured in Accidents Turned Personal Injury Lawyer

After multiple car accidents that weren’t his fault kept him from playing the cello, Carey Collingham was inspired to change careers and become a lawyer.

Cellist Matthew Barley Fights to Save Trees for Bow-Making

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

The Strad featured an article about cellist Matthew Barley’s work to save Brazilian Pernambuco forests for musical bows. He said:

Imagine a world without bows! A pizzicato rendition of Elgar’s Cello Concerto wouldn’t have quite the same ring, would it?

Learn more about the new initiative to cultivate sustainable Pernambuco: Trees of Music, which aims to plant 50,000 Pernambuco saplings, reforest 150 water springs, and train 70 farmers to cultivate sustainable Pernambuco.

Read the full article in The Strad.

R.I.P. Taryn Fiebig, Australian Music Theatre and Opera Star – and Cellist

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

Taryn Fiebig (1 February 1972 – 20 March 2021) died of ovarian cancer. In her youth, she was an aspiring cellist. She

led the cello section of the Australian Youth Orchestra in her teens and graduated from the University of Western Australia with aspirations to be a professional instrumentalist and teacher, whilst stealing the show night after night in university plays, operas and musicals with her vivacious wit, comedic panache and increasingly powerful singing voice.

She went on to win multiple awards and become a music theatre and opera star.

Read more about her life here. R.I.P. Taryn Fiebig.


Pablo Ferrández – Reflections

Pablo Ferrández has released his debut solo album, playing the “Lord Aylsford” Stradivarius (1696). Read more about Ferrández and this recording in an interview by Jon Jacob here.

Podcasts / Broadcasts

Hear Never-Before-Aired Live Performances Featuring Yo-Yo Ma

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

Todd Rosenberg / The Kansas City Symphony Yo-Yo Ma with Michael Stern and The Kansas City Symphony at the Kauffman Center, 2012

Click here to listen to a conversation with hosts Michael Stern, conductor, and Dan Margolies with guest Yo-Yo Ma. Included are

never before aired live performances from the Kansas City Symphony’s archives featuring Yo-Yo Ma as soloist.

This is part of 91.9 Classical KC’s fundraising drive. You can make a donation here.

BBC Radio 4 -Woman’s Hour: Singer-Songwriter and Cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson

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

The segment with Anita Rani interviewing Ayanna Witter-Johnson begins at 35:04. Here is the official description of this segment:

The singer-songwriter and cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson has a rare sound that combines classical music and eclectic soul. She was nominated for her first MOBO Award in 2012. Her recent release ‘Rise Up’, featuring Akala, has become a revolutionary anthem for young Black people. Part of the WOW UK Festival, which is online now and will be running until Sunday 21st March, she joins Anita in the studio.

Cellist and Double Bassist Justin Siu – How Pandemic has Affected Local Musicians

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

RTHK – The 123 Show features an interview with Justin Siu on keeping the music alive during the pandemic. Listen here.

The dancer, the singer, the cellist . . . and a moment of creative magic – Bill T. Jones‬ TED Talks ArtCellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 26 March

Although this is from 2015, it was shared again recently. Enjoy!

Here is the description:

Legendary dance choreographer Bill T. Jones and TED Fellows Joshua Roman and Somi didn’t know exactly what was going to happen when they took the stage at TED2015. They just knew they wanted to offer the audience an opportunity to witness creative collaboration in action. The result: An improvised piece they call “The Red Circle and the Blue Curtain,” so extraordinary it had to be shared …


Sandra Boynton’s Jungle Night with Yo-Yo Ma

We love the collaborations between Sandra Boynton and Yo-Yo Ma.

This is Yo-Yo Ma’s first book soundtrack. Read more about this book project in the wonderful interview of Boynton and Ma in TIME for Kids by 11-year-old Kid Reporter Sophia Hou.

Stijn Kuppens: Montagnes – Live Outdoor Performance

Be sure to read our interview with Stijn Kuppens to learn more about his music.

Live at Wigmore Hall – Steven Isserlis and Mishka Rushdie Momen

This program explores different aspects of Jewish heritage. As Steven Isserlis put it, the program includes:

“three pieces with Jewish titles by non-Jewish composers, and two pieces with non-Jewish titles by Jewish composers.” – Steven Isserlis

The Violin Channel – North Shore Chamber Music Festival Presents: A Cello Masterclass with Johannes Moser

Your Turn

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