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Curator’s Corner: May 2021

May at The Cello Museum

What’s happening this month at The Cello Museum? Find out here.

Cello Museum May

Thank you for joining us at The Cello Museum! It’s May, and we have a great month ahead of us.

Meet Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason!

Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason and her book, House of Music

Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason and her book, House of Music: Raising the Kanneh-Masons

We are absolutely thrilled to have Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason join us for our Cello Book Club meeting on Sunday, 23 May at 7 PM BST. Here’s some more information about the book and the incredible Kanneh-Masons:

House of Music is a moving and inspirational account of determination, music and love. It is a story about race, immigration and education. It is the story of a mother and her family. And it is the story of her children, seven phenomenally talented musicians.

For the first time, Kadie Kanneh-Mason opens up about what it takes to raise a musical family in a Britain divided by class and race. She looks back to 1963 when her mother, a nineteen-year-old Welsh woman, defied everyone and sailed off to join her fiancé and his family in Sierra Leone. Through this personal journey and what follows, the book charts the story of immigration, determination and hard work of a remarkable family succeeding when everything seemed stacked against them.

Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason is a former lecturer at Birmingham University and the mother of seven children. Sheku Kanneh-Mason, her third eldest, was the first Black musician to win the BBC Young Musician award in 2016 and performed at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Two of his siblings are also former BBC Young Musician category finalists. The eldest, pianist Isata, has also presented for the Proms. Collectively, the Kanneh-Masons have performed at the 2018 BAFTA Ceremony and concert halls across the world and, during the lockdown months, garnered huge audiences for their popular Facebook live performances from their family home in Nottingham. These precious moments of family life and music were beautifully captured in a 2020 episode of the BBC documentary series imagine….

May is Photography Month

Le violoncelle sous la pluie by Robert Doisneau

Le violoncelle sous la pluie, Paris. Photo: Robert Doisneau (1957). CC PDM 1.0.

Most of us are very familiar with the photograph above showing a man keeping his cello dry with his umbrella while he stands in the rain. But, do you know the photographer and the cellist?

Robert Doisneau (14 April 1912 – 1 April 1994) was a famous French photographer who created many images of cellist, reputed Olympian, and actor, Maurice Baquet (26 May 1911 – 8 July 2005). In celebration of Photography Month, we will explore the results of the collaboration of these two wonderful artists.

Tchaikovsky’s Cello Concerto

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, c. 1888

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

No, we don’t mean Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme – we mean cello concerto! Did you know that he had begun a sketch for one – roughly 60 bars, drafted on the reverse side of the Sixth Symphony?

To celebrate the birthday of the great Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (7 May 1840 – 6 November 1893), Dr. Yuriy Leonovich talks about his journey of discovery and original composition in working with Tchaikovsky’s initial ideas for a cello concerto, which Leonovich completed in 2006.

That’s What She Said . . . Unaccompanied Works for Cello by Women Composers

In the last week of every month, cellist and women’s music specialist Erica Lessie features three pieces in the form of short, digital postcards. These postcards are for cellists in search of new repertoire and for listeners eager to discover new additions to their playlists.

Last month, Erica featured works by Rain Worthington, Caitlin Foster, and Yu-Hui Chang. We are looking forward to Erica’s May postcards.

If you haven’t seen them yet, be sure to check out the previous installments of “That’s What She Said.” Interested in having your piece featured? Please contact us.

Meet Andrew Bellis, Our New Bow Specialist

Andrew Bellis standing in a doorway holding a bow

Andrew Bellis holding a double bass bow.

We are delighted to welcome Andrew Bellis to our team as our bow specialist. Andrew has been making bows for over four decades.

I first met him when he was teaching bow re-hairing and bow-making workshops at the Bate Collection at the University of Oxford in the 1990s. We are very pleased to have him on our team. We’re really looking forward to his first article this month.

Read more about him here.

Welcome aboard, Andrew!

Congratulations, Jonathan Simmons!

Jonathan Simmons

Cellist Jonathan Simmons, Cello Museum Intern

Congratulations to our intern, Jonathan Simmons! He will be starting his DMA studies at UNC-G in autumn 2021. Not only does UNC-G have a wonderful cello program, but it also has the largest single holding of cello music-related materials in the world. We are very happy that he is continuing his internship here at least through the summer. The adventure continues . . .


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