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Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week – 8 June

Here’s your weekly dose of cello news.

Cello News

New York City Subway System Comes Alive with Music After 14 Months of Silence Amid Pandemic

Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 8 June

Internationally-known cellist Sean Grissom, who is known as the Cajun Cellist, set up shop at the 28th Street stop on the 6 line.

NEW YORK, NY: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority relaunched its Music Under New York (MUNY) program on Friday, 4 June 2021.

Cellist Sean Grissom, aka the Cajun Cellist returned to playing in the subway last Friday. He was happy to be back after 14 months.

“The thing about it is, you get the energy of people coming in New York, coming in the subway not expecting to hear music or entertainment, so they’re just as appreciative and happy as in a club,” he said. “The whole point of playing down here is to have the opportunity and to maximize people coming by.”

“If my cello could talk” – by John-Henry Crawford

John-Henry Crawford’s family history is interwoven with that of his cello, adding layers of meaning to his relationship with his instrument.

Read the full story in The Strad.

Music Brings Hope to Afghan Youth

Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 8 June

Mina Karimi, a music student at the Afghan National Institute of Music. /CGTN

Having been silenced by the Taliban in 1996, music is once again becoming an important part of the lives of young people in Afghanistan. Music has brought hope and optimism to many, including cellist Mina Karimi.

“When I play the music, I feel so strong, and with the music, I feel I can help Afghanistan and other girls in Afghanistan,” she said.

The Smell o’ Cello?

There is a new fragrance, called Ambre Cello by L’Orchestre Parfum.

R.I.P. Cellist Victor Simon (1930-2021)

Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 8 June

Russian cellist Victor Simon, principal cellist of the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio for over 50 years, has died at age 91. He had retired two years ago.

We offer our condolences to his family, friends, colleagues, and students. R.I.P. Victor Simon.

Read more about his life and work in The Strad.

R.I.P. Cellist Lev Evgrafov (1934-2021)

Celebrated Russian cellist Lev Evgrafov died on 31 May at age 86.

For many years, Evgrafov’s recital partner was his own mother, Lydia Evgrafova. He also collaborated with pianist Maria Yudina and conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky. He recorded ten LPs on the Russian label Melodiya, with one, a two-disc recording of Boccherini sonatas, was named Best LP of the Year by the Soviet regime.

We offer our condolences to his family, friends, colleagues, and students. R.I.P. Lev Evgrafov.

Read more about his life and work in The Strad.

R.I.P. Robert Rutman (15 May 1931 – 1 June 2021)

Steel cellos at the 2018 Rudolstadt Festival in Germany

Steel cellos by Robert Rutman at the 2018 Rudolstadt Festival in Germany. Photo: Schorle – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Inventor of the Steel Cello Ensemble of idiophones, Robert Rutman (15 May 1931 – 1 June 2021) was a German visual artist, musician, composer, and instrument builder. We plan to feature his instruments in an upcoming exhibition on Innovations in Cello Design.

We offer our condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues. R.I.P. Robert Rutman.

Read more about his life and works in Wikipedia.


The Daily Northwestern – In Focus: Diversifying Classical Music through education


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Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax: Hope Amid Tears – Beethoven: Cello Sonatas

Release date: 4 June 2021

We’re very excited to see this new release! Here is an excerpt of the description from SONY:

“Hope Amid Tears”, the new album by Yo-Yo Ma together with his friend and pianist Emanuel Ax, presents Beethoven’s five sonatas for cello and piano in the order in which they were composed, tracing an important arc in Beethoven’s development and approach as a composer.

The title is an allusion to the possibly apocryphal story that, in 1809, Beethoven sent a copy of the recently-completed Sonata No. 3 to his friend Ignaz von Gleichenstein with the note “Inter lacrimas et luctum”—“amid tears and grief.” At the time, Vienna was embroiled in the chaos of the Napoleonic Wars, and many of Beethoven’s closest friends and supporters had fled the city. But in this period of loneliness and isolation, compounded by his increasingly profound deafness, Beethoven nonetheless completed works of enduring spirit.

Sebastian Fagerlund: Cello Concerto “Nomade” and Water Atlas (Live)

Cellist Nicolas Altstaedt, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra & Hannu Lintu

Release date: 4 June 2021

Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 8 June

Peter Gregson – Patina

Release date: 10 September, available for pre-order now.

Here is the description of the album on YouTube:

On this stunning new collection of original compositions, the composer, producer and cellist explores the presence of absence; challenging himself and the listener what happens when you remove a melody.

Listen to “Patina,” the lead single from this album:

Adam Pits – Debut Album: A Recurring Nature

Release date: 16 July, available for pre-order here.

Cellos in the News: Top Stories of the Week - 8 June

Here is a description from Bandcamp:

Inspired by nature and written during the first lockdown, the album shows off Adam’s classical cello background as well as a broad range of electronic styles you’ll already be familiar with. In his own words:

“2020 became a year of turning misfortunes into new opportunities. The feelings of clubbing neglect and social deprivation were prominent and as a result I found myself locked away in the studio with nothing better to do than to write the music that I wished I was hearing on a large sound system in a room full of sweaty rave-goers. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by friends who were able to drag me out of the studio and get outside for some real TLC from nature. After copious amounts of elderflower picking and mushroom foraging I found myself at peace with the idea that maybe the studio wasn’t my only safe place. This ended up being the catalyst for many of the ideas in the album, and in turn, helped me realise the similarities between the beauty of repetition in both music and nature.”

Listen to track clips here:


Cellist Paula Lavarías and Pianist Nicolai Gerassimez: Rachmaninov Cello Sonata, 3rd Movement

Flautist Jorge de la Vega and Cellist Stanimir Todorov: Assobio a Jato, “The Jet Whistle” (1950)

Cellist Borislav Strulev: Mozart – Lacrimosa

Cellist Winona Zelenka and Husband Ron Searles Play “Scarborough Fair”

West Wicklow Festival – Jamal Aliyev (cello) and Sam Armstrong (piano)


  • Schumann: Drei Fantasiestucke, Op. 73
  • Franck: Sonata in A Major
  • Tchaikovsky: Nocturne, Op. 19, No 4
  • Popper: Hungarian Rhapsody Op. 68

Download the full program here.

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