Preparing for Cello Auditions as a High School Senior

Cello Bello Blog - Mon, 2016-10-31 11:17

By Drew Cone

Applying and auditioning for schools can be really scary at times, but it doesn’t have to be. I’ve been working on my repertoire for auditions for well over a couple of months now and throughout that time, I’ve learned a few things when it comes to preparing for college. Now, just to clarify, I’m no expert on this stuff; I just thought that maybe if someone if my position had any questions needing answering, it might be nice to hear from another person in the same situation, especially since I’ve already recorded most of my prescreenings and have that experience under my belt. Even if it’s a tiny tip that helps, I hope that this could help out people my age with the same aspirations!

Prescreenings

The nice thing about prescreenings is the flexibility the format gives you. I chose to record five of my pieces all in one weekend, and that worked for me, but if that seems a little stressful, a lot of people like to record, say, one piece every few weeks because it leaves time to really focus on that specific piece for a certain block of time. Basically, just know what you’re capable of and don’t be afraid to try out either way. I was definitely unsure of how I would be prepared for an intense weekend of recording, but the extreme focus really helped me to record the best takes that I had.

One of the most useful tools I had used to prepare was recording myself. Often when I was unsure of what to practice, I’d make a recording and listen back as if I were the judge in an audition. If you aren’t used to recording yourself, you might be shocked to hear what you sound like, but don’t use it as a cruel method of self-deprecation, make it constructive; look at it from a professor’s perspective and try to think what you would like to fix. After a while of recording yourself, you’ll feel more comfortable with your playing so when it comes to the actual recording, you can feel more relaxed.

When preparing, and during your final recording, it’s so important not to get hung up on tiny mistakes, because the judges aren’t looking for a perfect performance, rather, they want to see who you are as a player and whether or not they want to teach you. When I was making my recordings, I got very hung up on small blips in my playing and that negative attitude didn’t work in my favor. If you make a mistake during your recording, don’t stop or shake your head. Pretend it didn’t happen, and continue, as if it never happened.  Don’t take this the other way though, it’s very important to drill runs and shifts during practice, however, try to focus on other things when you get to the final stage of recording.

One of the final things you might want to decide is whether you want to record yourself or book a studio to do so. Both are very viable, and there are pros and cons to each. I was able to professionally record mine in a concert hall, and that was nice since I didn’t need to worry about setting up a camera, getting the audio ready, and doing post work on the recordings; all I had to focus on was my playing, and that helped me perform better. However, there’s nothing wrong with doing it yourself, as long as you’re performing in a fairly resonant space (not too much so), you have a camera to record with, and reasonable audio.

Overall, the whole process has been some work, but it’s totally worth it. I hope this helped some people out applying to college right now who weren’t too sure about some things and needed some tips specifically about the prescreening process.

A native of Buffalo, NY, Drew Cone is a Senior at Williamsville East High School. He began studying cello at age 8 with Eva Herer, and currently is a student of David Ying, cellist with the Ying Quartet and Associate Professor cello and chamber music at the Eastman School of Music.

Drew has performed solos with the Buffalo Philharmonic under the baton of JoAnn Falletta, as well as the Ars Nova Chamber Musicians on their annual Viva Vivaldi Festival. He received first place in the junior division of the 2011 MTNA Empire State Competition and won the Interlochen Concerto Competition in 2014. He has attended Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, Bravo Workshop, the Castleman Quartet Program, Interlochen, and Bowdoin International Music Festival. This school year, he will be performing with the Amherst Symphony Orchestra and will be featured on From the Top.

In his spare time, Drew enjoys hiking with his family, playing the occasional video game and hanging out with his younger brother Matt (who plays viola) in their chamber group at Eastman Community Music School.

Executives of Tulsa Speech 10/14/16

Jose-Luis Estrada - Fri, 2016-10-14 11:35

Executives of Tulsa Club Speech - 10/14/16 

by Jose Luis Hernandez

It is an honor to be able to speak at the Executives of Tulsa Club. I am grateful to Tom Campbell for inviting me. Exactly two years ago I arrived here as a new Tulsan. Now I can proudly say that I have embraced this city as my own. And what a wonderful city it is!  We have some much: parks and trails, our annual fair, ballet, and the touring Broadway shows. And of course, we have the Philbrook, one of the most beautiful museums in the world. 

I really enjoy the many options for recreation that the city gives us—every week I get to visit at Lafortune Park to play tennis and then I do a few runs on the Riverside trail, just between 41st and 71st. That distance over and back covers about a 5K. I will be participating in the Tulsa Run this year, my first race ever! (I’ve really come to enjoy running, especially because you can easily gauge progress and with the new technology available you can also track your pace and distance, all in real time.) 

In Tulsa, a lot of people care about education and philanthropy. I’ve gotten to meet so many leaders in the field through my work as director of Sistema Tulsa. Interestingly enough I am part of a new wave of educational, religious, and artistic leaders who have also recently arrived or started new leadership roles in the city. People like educator and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gist, Signature Symphony conductor Andres Franco, Philbrook Director Scott Tullen, or my own colleague David Wiggs, the Senior Pastor at Boston Avenue. Many institutions are celebrating major anniversaries (30 and 40 year anniversaries). So it is time to learn from their accomplishments and move them forward into the future. 

I am glad that some very traditional institutions are now looking to millennials like me for leadership. And that is good, but even better when we can strike a compromise with colleagues who can remind us of the culture and traditions of the institutions where we serve. I am proud to work at the Boston Avenue church, a community that is open to all who would want to experience God’s love. We are lot of more than iconic building and we want to continue to play a role in the progress of our city. Come visit us, we think deeply and let think for yourself as well. (I think David Wiggs would be proud of me for putting in this plug here this morning). 

Now that I’ve touched on the subject of millennials I should say (and quoting data from the Pew Research Group), that this group represents the most diverse population in the history of our country. So obviously this same group will bring about a long lasting change to the American way. 

We are very optimistic in spite of the tragic events that have shaped our generation—9-11, Columbine, Katrina. We are more tolerant of races and other groups different from our own. Unfortunately, as a whole, we have become less and less engaged in the political process. I noticed one of your members today brought in signs regarding one of the questions on the next local ballot. That’s good. Regardless of where you stand on the issues it is good to engage in conversations about our future. 

Millennials also long for more and deeper human relations, but at the same time, in the Age Facebook and virtual realities this has actually become harder to achieve. 

I was born in a small Texas town very close to Mexico. I learned English when I attended a US school for the first time in the 4th grade. I am proud to be a first generation American. My parents grew up in Mexico and met in college. My dad was the book worm, my mom the social butterfly. Opposites attract, right? Here is an explanation by way of physicist David Bohm—when we see seeming polarities, look for the larger truth that contains them both. And so my parent’s larger truth fell into the realm of fear of God, hard work, respect for others, and the belief that strong families are pillars of successful communities. 

My early experiences as a volunteer at church and at the local Lion’s Club led me to discern the responsibility to care for others less fortunate than I. At the same time my journey as a student musician taught me how to harness my own imagination. I remember fondly the eye-care crusades that we led for very poor families through the Lion’s Club. I also remember my first piano recitals, how I felt so special because people cared about my work. 

I don’t mean to make this autobiographical speech, but I think it is important that I share at least a little bit of my own story because ultimately our stories and experiences clamor to become intertwined. By invoking our shared stories as a metaphor for community, we honor the ultimate goal of our citizenry. The Founding Fathers called this building a “more perfect union.”  And yet in spite of our progress, this public “union” is still both the greatest virtue and challenge of our times. 

Our personal stories also shed light on why we do what we do. Eric Booth, a teaching artist active at Lincoln Center and a mentor of mine, often quotes an idea that affirms that 80% percent of what we teach is who we are. You can substitute what we teach, with what we think or what we care about. As leaders it is important for us to be mindful of how we conduct ourselves, what we feed our mind, body, and soul. It all makes an impact in how others perceive our influence. Hopefully this 80% analogy is a golden nugget for you to take home. 

About 5 years ago, I took a sabbatical and moved to Boston to take part in a special training program for young musicians who are passionate about social justice. (Taking a sabbatical makes me sound like a professor on the verge of retirement, but I was only 27!) I would call this training program a music educator’s version of AmeriCorps. For a year I studied methods to nurture human development through the practice of music alongside fellows from across the US. Together, we became missionaries of the social mission of art, as our sponsor Dr. Abreu would call us. 

Dr. Jose Antonio Abreu has been a boundless source of inspiration and energy for me. His educational philosophy, which was first applied in Venezuela is known as El Sistema (or the system). It is thriving in 25 countries around the world and now in Tulsa.  There is a new book called "Playing for their Lives" that chronicles the expansion of this important thinker's ideas. I would say that El Sistema works as a living and breathing experiment of how the learning of music can nurture the individual and how the individual can transform his community and lead a fruitful life. And because it is an experiment, there is room for leaders to model each chapter after the needs of the community they serve, and as a natural consequence, after their own aspirations for shaping the common good. This is something that is very appealing to me. 

In Tulsa, I am now working with close to 100 students and families who attend the program as members of orchestras and choirs. Each orchestra and choir is a public space that brings students from across the school district to form a diverse community.  We do not charge tuition or require an audition. Everyone is free to attend the program if they make a commitment to put in the work (and it is hard work!). 

An orchestra is a community that comes together for the sole purpose of agreeing with itself, says Abreu. And what is it that they need to agree upon? They agree to make music together. And what does that imply? That is a question that I constantly ask myself. 

Let’s elaborate on a few ideas—in practice, making music together in an orchestra makes you accountable to the group. You are responsible for the success of the overall music and you cannot let your peers down. This is a quality that is important to succeed in the workforce. Robert Putnam, an academic who has studied the demise and revival of American communities wrote that trust is the dominant predictor of success in any community. If one is reliable; you can surely trust him or her. And if we can trust each other we can make progress. 

There are also the physical and metaphysical properties of music. Music is sound but what is sound and what is there? As a musician I have observed several things. First, that sound can move you emotionally—it can lead you to experiences that are sometimes difficult to explain. The fact that you can’t see the sound makes it almost mystical. 

I also heard Dr. Abreu refer to the phenomenon of sound as an invisible language. What makes sound so powerful in the context of building community through music is that one does not have talk about the need to work together because integration is already explicit in the goals of music. Voices and instruments in tune and playing in unison or harmony are perfect examples of this same integration. What music does is that it provides a platform where these voices and instruments can meet, without empty rhetoric getting in the way. 

When I think of orchestras, I think of the virtues of public spaces. Let’s take parks for example. I am amazed at the new local project called the Gathering Place led by banker and  philanthropist George Kaiser. Of course, this will be more than a public park; it is also going to be a platform to bring people together and to interact with each other. When you visit our public parks, whether it is Riverside or Lafortune parks, you can feel the pulse of and celebrate the diversity of our city. These spaces are vibrant and colorful where many languages are spoken and people can experiment with the idea of togetherness. We often hear progressive politicians talk about how we are stronger together; but these promises fall short of ideas for the actual practice of becoming stronger together. Why? (There are no cut and paste formulas that will work for every single city or community.) 

Because of this same challenge, leaders must develop opportunities to help people enter into the stories of others. In my case, let me give you an example from a teaching moment at a symphonic rehearsal. There is now a growing anxiety regarding immigration to our country. Our Community Youth Orchestra at Sistema Tulsa was rehearsing a work by Dvorak. Every time I introduce a new work, I like to give a short lecture about its origins, why the piece is important, and what it can teach us. The New World Symphony was composed by a Czech immigrant who in the late 1800’s landed in a small rural town in Iowa. While in America he discovered African-American spirituals and other Native American musical expressions. One of his new friends, a man named Harry Burleigh, sang spirituals to him and he internalized the style and weaved it into a very sophisticated creation that transcends borders and has stood the test of time. “These beautiful and varied themes are the product of the soil,” Dvorak said. As they play this work, our students are entering into the chronicles of history, negotiating their own identities through the stories and ideas of others. And that is the beginning of a process to discern the potential that we have as a “union,” or at least to begin useful conversations about who we are and what we can become. 

What I see as a way to bring us closer together is to learn from experiments like the Gathering Place or Sistema Tulsa. Our orchestra is a microcosm of the entire Tulsa community. We are African, Native, Hispanic, Asian, and White Americans working towards one goal, one ideal. We are also converging or meeting in a church with a membership that has been historically homogeneous but is now slowly establishing a new identity. Of course, these shifts of purpose happen very slowly and gradually, and they can come with certain amount of tension and anxiety. 
  
To alleviate the burden of change, one has to think very strategically and lead by example. One can also apply the rules of public policy. During a professional development course at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, I learned that people will not only support most what they help create but also what they can clearly understand. I also learned a useful technique that perhaps you could also apply when trying to enact change in your companies or work areas. It brings visioning and public-policy thinking together to bring people into the core of your idea and then invite them to develop and model it after the place or community where it will be implanted. It is called the “Eight-Fold Path” by Eugene Bardach. 

The “path” includes several steps: a definition of the problem to solve, collection of evidence pertaining to the problem, identification of alternatives that can solve the problem, criteria by which to weigh the best course of action, a projection of outcomes, examination of costs vs. benefits, and documentation through storytelling. 

This is speech is an example of storytelling. 

Not everyone knows this but before we started Sistema Tulsa we worked for an entire year to define our mission. We sought out key leaders in the community who could teach us about how to best position our program as a change agent.  (Looking for moral support is important.) We looked at resources that were already available in the community, we set up a timeline, and looked years ahead. We asked many questions like – How would we know that the program was actually working? Or how would we know our investment and energy was being put to good use? 

After our first year of operation and through early independent research done by OSU-Tulsa we affirmed our program’s ideals—Sistema Tulsa is inclusive of all races and socio-economic groups, it is giving children a better love of music and broadening their horizons, it is teaching lessons in discipline and community. 

Also, 100% of parents would recommend the program to other parents. 93% of parents believe that the program has taught their child to work hard to reach his/her goals. And my favorite stat – 97% of students want to get better at playing their musical instrument and 87% of them believe they have made their families proud. 

Most importantly, we are learning how to work together and how to build a community that is constantly aspiring to better itself.  One of our students said it best: “We learn important things here, and we have the opportunity to do something very special.” 

So my friends, all it takes for steady and systematic change is that we bring the best of ourselves to each opportunity and to make sure that those opportunities can also motivate, inspire, and nurture others at the same time. Also, most ideas for innovation can already be found right in front of you.  Take what you know, take what you love, and make something out of it. Ideas abound, our job is to experiment and practice connecting the dots to come up with something entirely fresh and new (They call this simple formula genius). 

I hope that my message this morning spoke to you in some way. I hope that you can begin to think of music as a metaphor for community building and most importantly, that we can continue to aspire to be good friends, colleagues and neighbors as our communities grow and evolve over time. 

If you or people that you know can help me take my work to the next level please let me know. I would be happy to continue the conversation. More about Sistema Tulsa (its mode of operation, funding, and goals) can be learned from our annual report which is found our website

Thank you all. I am so glad to meet you. 
 

The Indispensable Pianist By Pei-Shan Lee

NEC @ Huff Post - Mon, 2016-10-10 12:56
Pianists have increasingly come to understand that collaborative piano is not an escape for a failed solo pianist but is an exciting, rewarding field open to wonderful musicians who love making music and exchanging ideas with others. New England Conservatory http://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/new-england-conservatory

The Indispensable Pianist By Pei-Shan Lee

NEC @ Huff Post - Mon, 2016-10-10 12:56
Pianists have increasingly come to understand that collaborative piano is not an escape for a failed solo pianist but is an exciting, rewarding field open to wonderful musicians who love making music and exchanging ideas with others. New England Conservatory http://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/new-england-conservatory

How Music and Cello Changed My Life

Cello Bello Blog - Tue, 2016-10-04 10:00


By Nathan Chan

Hey CelloBello readers! My name is Nathan Chan and I’ve been playing the cello for over 17 years. Throughout this time period, my relationship with the cello has been an ongoing evolution in the way I see music as an incredibly powerful tool of expression and creativity. What started as a hobby in the beginning of my musical learning initially evolved into a battle for technical mastery and now has begun to blossom as a freeing medium for spontaneity and exploration.

As a child born and raised in the 90s, my parents were very supportive of me. My father, a Hong-Kong born cardiologist who emigrated to the states for college, represented the discipline and detail-oriented leader in my early life. My mother, a Chinese-Canadian who is a Juilliard-educated pianist, was my creative and spiritual guide growing up. They would often put on LaserDiscs (the older ancestor to the DVD) featuring conductors such as Herbert von Karajan, Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa on this TV we had at home. Using a chopstick as a baton, I did my best in emulating these legends who became my musical heroes. A chance event became an alignment of the stars when as an audience member, then assistant conductor of the San Francisco Opera Sara Jobin (now assistant conductor of the Toledo Symphony) noticed something peculiar in the toddler a few rows ahead of her at an orchestral performance. I must have been conducting from my seat! After a brief introduction to my parents, Sara gave me informal conducting lessons which led me to my debut with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra conducting Beethoven’s 5th Symphony at age 3. So my musical life started then, through the art of conducting.

It was two years later at the age of 5 when my parents thought a more formal musical education in the form of an instrument would help solidify my musical understanding. I initially was drawn to the double bass because I always loved the low sounds of the orchestra. But of course the double bass is huge and I was (and still am) a very small guy. So we settled on the cello! My first private teacher was the wonderful Irene Sharp, with whom I studied for over 11 years. She held monthly studio classes in her home in Palo Alto, which I am so thankful for because they made me so comfortable performing new repertoire every single month. Mrs. Sharp, (who we all affectionately called Reinie) was instrumental in getting me to where I am today.

The thought that the cello could be my career materialized years later at age 11 when I had an epiphany about its intrinsic value as a communication tool. This realization only occurred after I was fortunate enough to be a part of an HBO TV series called “The Music in Me”. I auditioned for the show via video (which I produced myself on iMovie!) and was asked not only to play the cello, but also to speak a bit about myself. I later asked the show’s producer Leslie Stifelman why I was chosen among the 500+ applicants, and she said that I had the ability to inspire others through the communication in my playing instead of scaring off or dominating via technical ability.

“The Music in Me” was premiered in Carnegie’s Zankel Hall on via a huge projector. All of us from the show also performed too! I distinctly remember watching the show for the first time, where I performed and spoke about Camille Saint-Saens’ The Swan and felt absolutely astonished at the way music made me feel and how it could make other feel. Subconsciously, the show also reinforced my attraction to film and video (much like the way video inspired me as a toddler). This would have a great influence on my life when I started to explore music video creation on the internet.

I’ve never been a technical perfectionist at the cello, and while I am always trying to improve my technical ability, I have tried to focus more on how I can communicate a story or an emotion. I once watched an amazing news bit featuring Yo-Yo Ma when he was only 25 years old. In it he said:

You can say ‘I never want to miss a note’, and that can be dangerous in the sense that you can be too careful about what you want to do. If you take a risk… and you miss something, you’ve still communicated something. But if you don’t take a risk and you get it right, you may not have communicated anything except perfection, which… I don’t think is an end in itself. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emZaPicXie8)

Going to the fantastic high school in San Francisco named “Lick-Wilmerding High School” so changed the way I viewed myself and how I viewed others. The depth and breadth of knowledge my colleagues possessed made a huge impression on me. I suddenly became fascinated with so many things outside of the cello, like film, history, business, table tennis, chess, and even a bit of acting. So, looking towards college it felt natural for me to investigate dual degree programs. My teacher at the time Sieun Lin was instrumental in recognizing my strengths. She had a great ability of honing in on my communication skills as a cellist. But she knew that I needed to up my technical level going forward. So, I eventually settled on the Columbia-Juilliard Exchange, where I would get to experience the magic of New York alongside a cello teacher who I very much look up to named Richard Aaron.

The greatest event of my college life occurred magically during the first week of orientation, when I met my cello colleagues and classmates Justin Zhao, Maddie Tucker, Steven Bennett and Corinna Boylan at a casually organized sight-reading party. What first started out as truly joyful musical readings, eventually turned to, “Hey, this sounds pretty good. Why don’t we form a band?” Thus, our 5-person cello ensemble String Theory was born.

String Theory was a great musical experience for me in that I felt we were able to push the musical boundaries of many musical genres and most importantly, make music fun. Because the cello is such a versatile musical instrument we were able to play pop, jazz, classical, rock, movie and even Chinese and Indian music. We first started by playing for many of the student groups across campus. We had such a blast that we recorded and made music videos for our most popular pieces and uploaded them to YouTube. Amazingly, these videos became popular enough to reach other cool communities outside of the Columbia campus. We were invited to perform at places such as Google Zeitgeist, and even a Johnson and Johnson pharmaceutical conference. Being a part of String Theory made me realize the importance of reaching out to all different types of audience in order unite people through music.

While this was all going on, my studies at Juilliard gave me the opportunity to focus solely on improving my technical ability on the cello. Richard Aaron really whipped me into shape over the course of 5 years. For the first time in my life, I learnt how to practice. I used to never know what I was doing whenever I practiced. Richard gave me a plethora of tools and skills to analyze whatever I did and have the self-confidence to get better. In doing this, I challenged myself to always improve my technique. But this also made me lose some of confidence I had, as learning more and more secrets of the cello revealed the errors I never knew I had. Getting the opportunity to study with a different sort of master in my first year of graduate school changed this thinking for me forever.

In 2015, I was fortunate enough to be a participate in the great cellist Gautier Capuçon’s “Classe d’Excellence du Violoncelle” at Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, France. Studying with Gautier opened my ears to the importance of sound and color. As I traveled back in forth 5 times that school year, I always would put on a huge smile whenever I heard Gautier draw his bow on his Gofriller cello. The hugeness of his sound must be experienced live. His sound affected all 6 of us cellists in his class. We were playing bigger and rounder each visit and I was always inspired by the emotional experience one got when faced with incredible sound.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to regain the confidence in my cello playing with regards to technique. And now, I am most interested in how freely I can be a creative artist when I play. This past summer I got to work with Mike Block in the Silk Road Ensemble’s “Global Musicians Workshop” as a fellow at Tanglewood. In it, I got a chance to explore the farthest reaches of my musical knowledge through Arabic and Bluegrass music. It was an amazing feeling to try and transfer as much of my knowledge in the classical world over to these new genres. It felt great to improvise and learn about microtones and learn new things by ear. It reminded me of the importance of music on a global level as something spontaneous and creative. This is what ultimately makes me tick.

Currently, I am residing in New York and constantly exploring. I am a passionate believer in the power of YouTube and am continuing to make music videos that push classical music to the next level. I am also periodically performing with the St. Louis Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra as a cellist in the section. I am very excited to be performing Brahms Double with Simone Porter and Maestro Laura Jackson in January 2017 with the Reno Philharmonic.

Being a cellist is such an interesting career because you are only limited by your creative imagination. I can’t wait to see where cello takes me next and hope to continue pushing myself to the next discovery!

 

Cellist Nathan Chan made his musical debut at age three conducting the San Jose Chamber Orchestra. He has performed as a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic, and the Albany Symphony, among others. In 2016, Chan was a chosen artist for the Foundation Louis Vuitton’s Classe d’Excellence du Violoncelle with renowned cellist Gautier Capucon. Nathan earned his Bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and has a growing internet presence with over 5.6 million views. Nathan studied with Richard Aaron at The Juilliard School, where he recently earned his Masters of Music.

Announcing CelloStream Master Classes 2016 – 2017

Cello Bello Blog - Tue, 2016-09-27 12:08
Streamed live from Pierce Hall at New England Conservatory in Boston

COMING 2016 – 2017:

YO-YO MA
Monday, October 24th 2016
2:00 – 4:30 pm ET

LAURENCE LESSER
Sunday, November 13th 2016
7:00 – 9:30 pm ET

ANDRÉS DIAZ
Tuesday, December 6th 2016
7:00 – 9:30 pm ET

PAUL KATZ
Sunday, February 19th 2017
7:00 – 9:30 pm ET

JOEL KROSNICK
Friday, March 31st 2017
1:30 – 3:30 pm ET

To tune in for a live-viewing of a CelloStream Artist Master Class, please navigate to the CelloStream page at the appropriate time.

To read bios of previous CelloStream master class artists, please see below.

PREVIOUS MASTER CLASSES


JOEL KROSNICK TRIBUTE
Mar 23rd 2016
7:30 pm EDT 

Joel Krosnick has performed as soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician around the world. As a member of the Juilliard String Quartet since 1974, he has performed the great quartet literature throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. With his sonata partner of more than 30 years, pianist Gilbert Kalish, Mr. Krosnick has performed recitals throughout the U. S. and Europe. Since 1976, they have given annual series of recitals in New York City and in 2007 presented the series “American Milestones of the Last 100 Years” at The Juilliard School.

A dedicated teacher, Mr. Krosnick is chair of the cello department of The Juilliard School and is a member of the faculty of Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival in Maine. He has been associated with the Aspen, Marlboro and Tanglewood music festivals, and appeared for the third time as a member of the artist-faculty of the Piatigorsky Seminar at the University of Southern California. A recipient of the Chevalier du Violoncelle Award from the Eva Janzer Memorial Cello Center at the Indiana University School of Music, Mr. Krosnick holds honorary doctoral degrees from Michigan State University, Jacksonville University, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

PAUL KATZ
Monday, Jan 25th 2016
4:00 – 5:30 pm ET

Paul Katz is known to concertgoers the world over as cellist of the Cleveland Quartet, which during an international career of 26 years made more than 2500 appearances on four continents, in all of the music capitals, great concert halls and music festivals of the world. As a member of this celebrated ensemble from 1969-1995, he performed at the White House and on many television shows including “CBS Sunday Morning,” NBC’s “Today Show,” “The Grammy Awards” (in 1973, the first classical musicians ever to appear on that show,) and was seen in “In The Mainstream: The Cleveland Quartet,” a one hour documentary televised across the U.S. and Canada.

Mr. Katz has received many honors, including the American String Teacher’s Association “Artist-Teacher of the Year 2003, Indiana University’s “Chevalier du Violoncelle”, Chamber Music America’s highest honor, The Richard M. Bogomolny National Service Award,  and an Honorary Doctorate of Musical Arts from Albright College. Mr. Katz served for six years as President of Chamber Music America. As an author, he has appeared in numerous publications and wrote the liner notes for the Cleveland Quartet’s three-volume set of the complete Beethoven Quartets on RCA Red Seal.

PETER STUMPF
Tuesday, Oct 27th 2015
7:00 pm EDT

Peter Stumpf is professor of cello at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Prior to his appointment, he was principal cellist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. A dedicated chamber music musician, he is a member of the Johannes String Quartet and has appeared on the chamber music series at Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, the Boston Celebrity Series, the Da Camera Society in Los Angeles, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Casals Hall in Tokyo, and at the concert halls of Cologne. He has performed with the chamber music societies of Boston and Philadelphia and at the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico as well as the Festivals of Marlboro, Santa Fe, Bridgehampton, Ottawa, Great Lakes, Ojai, Spoleto, and Aspen. He has toured with Music from Marlboro, the Casals Hall Ensemble in Japan, and with pianist Mitsuko Uchida in performances of the complete Mozart Piano Trios.

Concerto appearances have been with the Boston Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Boston Philharmonic, the Virginia Symphony, the Vermont Symphony, the Connecticut String Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of the South Bay, the American Youth Symphony, and at the Aspen Music Festival. As a recitalist, he has performed at the Universities of Hartford, Syracuse, and Delaware, at Jordan Hall in Boston, and at the Philips and Corcoran Galleries in Washington, D.C. Most recently, he performed the Six Suites for Solo Cello by J. S. Bach on the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society Series and on the Chamber Music in Historic Sites Series in Los Angeles. His awards include first prize in the Washington International Competition, the Graham-Stahl Competition, and the Aspen Concerto Competition and second prize in the Evian International String Quartet Competition.

GARY HOFFMAN
Sunday, Oct 18th 2015
1:00 pm EDT

Gary Hoffman is one of the outstanding cellists of our time, combining instrumental mastery, great beauty of sound, and a poetic sensibility. Mr. Hoffman gained international renown upon his victory as the first North American to win the Rostropovich International Competition in Paris in 1986. A frequent soloist with the world’s most noted orchestras, he has appeared with the Chicago, London, Montreal, Toronto, San Francisco, Baltimore and National symphony orchestras as well as the English, Moscow and Los Angeles chamber orchestras, the Orchestre National de France, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Netherlands and Rotterdam philharmonics, the Cleveland Orchestra for the Blossom Festival and Philadelphia Orchestra, among many others. Mr. Hoffman collaborates regularly with such celebrated conductors as André Prévin, Charles Dutoit, Mstislav Rostropovich, Pinchas Zuckerman, Andrew Davis, Herbert Blomstedt, Kent Nagano, Jésus Lopez-Cobos and James Levine. In the 2015-16 season he performs Elgar’s Concerto in E Minor with the Baton Rouge Symphony.

Gary Hoffman performs in major recital and chamber music series throughout the world, as well as at such prestigious festivals as Ravinia, Marlboro, Aspen, Bath, Evian, Helsinki, Verbier, Mostly Mozart, Schleswig-Holstein, Stresa, Festival International de Colmar, and Festival de Toulon. He is a frequent guest of string quartets including Emerson, Tokyo, Borromeo, Brentano, and Ysaye. Mr. Hoffman performs throughout Europe with various orchestras: Cordoba, Helsingborg, Warsaw, Stavanger, Budapest, Bodensee Festival, Orchestre National d’Ile de France, Russian National Philharmonic, het Gelders Orchestra, Holland, Luxembourg; and around the world in the United States, Asia, South Africa, in halls such as the Théâtre du Châtelet, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Auditorium de Dijon, Concertgebouw, and the Kennedy Center. He also plays and gives master classes at the Ravinia Festival, Bloomington, Kobé, Manchester Cello Festival, Kronberg Cello Akademie, Salzburger Mozarteum, Festival de Prades, and Santa Fe.

LLUÍS CLARET
Sunday, Oct 11th 2015
1:00 pm EDT

Born in Andorra, Spain in 1951, from exiled catalan parents, Lluís Claret began his musical studies at the age of 9. His musical future would be strongly marked by his contact with great teachers such as Maurice Gendron, Radu Aldulescu and Enric Casals (Pablo Casals brother) who, though not a cellist, would be his principal musical adviser for many years. His meetings with György Sebök, Eva Janzer and Bernard Greenhouse were also to be decisive for the development of his artistic personality.

First Prizes at the Casals (1976) and Rostropovitch (1977) Competitions helped to project an international career to the principal capitals of Europe, America and Asia. He received invitations from The Washington National Symphony, Czech Philharmonic, English Chamber Orchestra, France National Orchestra, as well as others in cities such as Tokyo, Seoul, Düsseldorf, Stuttgart, Bamberg, Moscow, Madrid, Barcelona, and has played under the baton of Vaclav Neuman, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Pierre Boulez, Karl Münchinger, Dimitri Kitaienko, Sakari Oramo and Georges Malcom among others.

MARCY ROSEN
Tuesday, Sept 22nd 2015
10:00 am EDT

Marcy Rosen has established herself as one of the most important and respected artists of our day. Los Angeles Times music critic Herbert Glass has called her “one of the intimate art’s abiding treasures.” She has performed in recital and with orchestra throughout Canada, England, France, Japan, Italy, Switzerland, and all fifty of the United States. She made her concerto debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the age of eighteen and has since appeared with such noted orchestras as the Dallas Symphony, the Phoenix Symphony, the Caramoor Festival Orchestra, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in Carnegie Hall, the Jupiter Symphony and Concordia Chamber Orchestra at Alice Tully Hall, and the Tokyo Symphony at the famed Orchard Hall in Tokyo. In recital she has appeared in New York at such acclaimed venues as Carnegie Hall, the 92nd Street “Y” and Merkin Concert Hall; in Washington D.C. at the Kennedy Center, Dumbarton Oaks, the Phillips Collection and the Corcoran Gallery, where for many years she hosted a series entitled “Marcy Rosen and Friends.” In recent seasons she has given Master Classes and appeared on stage in Beijing and Shanghai, China, the Seoul Arts Center in Korea and in Cartagena, Colombia.

A consummate soloist, Ms. Rosen’s superb musicianship is enhanced by her many chamber music activities. She has collaborated with the world’s finest musicians including Leon Fleisher, Richard Goode, Andras Schiff, Peter Serkin, Mitsuko Uchida, Isaac Stern, Robert Mann, Sandor Vegh, Kim Kashkashian, Jessye Norman, Lucy Shelton, Charles Neidich and the Juilliard, Emerson, and Orion Quartets. She is a founding member of the ensemble La Fenice, a group comprised of Oboe, Piano and String Trio, as well as a founding member of the world renowned Mendelssohn String Quartet. With the Mendelssohn String Quartet she was Artist-in-Residence at the North Carolina School of the Arts and for nine years served as Blodgett-Artist-in Residence at Harvard University. The Quartet which disbanded in January of 2010, toured annually throughout the United States, Canada and Europe for 31 years.

ALISA WEILERSTEIN
Apr 30th 2015
2:30 pm EDT

“A young cellist whose emotionally resonant performances of both traditional and contemporary music have earned her international recognition, … [Alisa] Weilerstein is a consummate performer, combining technical precision with impassioned musicianship.” So stated the MacArthur Foundation when awarding Alisa Weilerstein a 2011 MacArthur “genius grant” Fellowship, prompting the New York Times to respond: “Any fellowship that recognizes the vibrancy of an idealistic musician like Ms. Weilerstein … deserves a salute from everyone in classical music.” In performances marked by intensity, sensitivity, and a wholehearted immersion in each of the works she interprets, the American cellist has long proven herself to be in possession of a distinctive musical voice. As the Los Angeles Times explains, “Weilerstein’s cello is her id. She doesn’t give the impression that making music involves will at all. She and the cello seem simply to be one and the same.”

Weilerstein has appeared at major music festivals throughout the world, including Aspen, Bad Kissingen, Delft, Edinburgh, Jerusalem Chamber Music, La Jolla SummerFest, Mostly Mozart, Salzburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Tanglewood, and Verbier. In addition to her appearances as a soloist and recitalist, Weilerstein performs regularly as a chamber musician. She has been part of a core group of musicians at the Spoleto Festival USA for the past eight years and also performs with her parents, Donald and Vivian Hornik Weilerstein, as the Weilerstein Trio, the trio-in-residence at Boston’s New England Conservatory.

ROBERT deMAINE
Apr 13th 2015
2:00 pm EDT

Robert deMaine is an American virtuoso cellist who has been hailed by The New York Times as “an artist who makes one hang on every note”. He has distinguished himself as one of the finest and most versatile instrumentalists of his generation, performing to critical acclaim as soloist, recitalist, orchestral principal, recording artist, and chamber musician. In 2012 he was invited to join the Los Angeles Philharmonic as Principal Cello.

deMaine has appeared on the stages of Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, the Teatro Colón, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, the Berlin Philharmonie, Vienna Konzerthaus, and Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Hall, among others. He was the first cellist ever to win San Francisco’s prestigious Irving M. Klein International Competition for Strings. The recipient of a career grant from the Helen M. Saunders Foundation, deMaine’s distinctions have included first prizes and awards from numerous competitions. His principal teachers include Leonard Rose, Stephen Kates, Steven Doane, Paul Katz, Ronald Leonard, and Aldo Parisot, among others. Master classes and additional studies were undertaken with Bernard Greenhouse, János Starker, Boris Pergamenschikow, Felix Galimir, and Jerome Lowenthal.


JOEL KROSNICK
Oct 19th 2014
10 am – 12 noon EDT 

Joel Krosnick has performed as soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician around the world. As a member of the Juilliard String Quartet since 1974, he has performed the great quartet literature throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. With his sonata partner of more than 30 years, pianist Gilbert Kalish, Mr. Krosnick has performed recitals throughout the U. S. and Europe. Since 1976, they have given annual series of recitals in New York City and in 2007 presented the series “American Milestones of the Last 100 Years” at The Juilliard School.

A dedicated teacher, Mr. Krosnick is chair of the cello department of The Juilliard School and is a member of the faculty of Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival in Maine. He has been associated with the Aspen, Marlboro and Tanglewood music festivals, and appeared for the third time as a member of the artist-faculty of the Piatigorsky Seminar at the University of Southern California. A recipient of the Chevalier du Violoncelle Award from the Eva Janzer Memorial Cello Center at the Indiana University School of Music, Mr. Krosnick holds honorary doctoral degrees from Michigan State University, Jacksonville University, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

MARCY ROSEN
Sept 28 2014
2:30 – 5:15 pm EDT 

Marcy Rosen has established herself as one of the most important and respected artists of our day. Los Angeles Times music critic Herbert Glass has called her “one of the intimate art’s abiding treasures.” She has performed in recital and with orchestra throughout Canada, England, France, Japan, Italy, Switzerland, and all fifty of the United States.

A consummate soloist, Ms. Rosen’s superb musicianship is enhanced by her many chamber music activities. She has collaborated with the world’s finest musicians including Leon Fleisher, Richard Goode, Andras Schiff, Mitsuko Uchida, Isaac Stern, Robert Mann, Sandor Vegh, Kim Kashkashian, Lucy Shelton, Charles Neidich and the Juilliard, Emerson, and Orion Quartets. She is a founding member of the ensemble La Fenice, a group comprised of Oboe, Piano and String Trio, as well as a founding member of the world renowned Mendelssohn String Quartet.

GARY HOFFMAN
April 8 2014
2 – 5 pm EST 

Gary Hoffman is one of the outstanding cellists of our time, combining instrumental mastery, great beauty of sound, and a poetic sensibility. Mr. Hoffman gained international renown upon his victory as the first North American to win the Rostropovich International Competition in Paris in 1986. A frequent soloist with the world’s most noted orchestras, he has appeared with the Chicago, London, Montreal, Toronto, San Francisco, Baltimore and National symphony orchestras as well as the English, Moscow and Los Angeles chamber orchestras, the Orchestre National de France, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Netherlands and Rotterdam philharmonics, the Cleveland Orchestra for the Blossom Festival and Philadelphia Orchestra, among many others. Mr. Hoffman collaborates regularly with such celebrated conductors as André Prévin, Charles Dutoit, Mstislav Rostropovich, Pinchas Zuckerman, Andrew Davis, Herbert Blomstedt, Kent Nagano, Jésus Lopez-Cobos and James Levine. View video of Gary Hoffman masterclass

PIETER WISPELWEY
Tuesday, 11 February 2014
7:00 – 9:30 pm

Pieter Wispelwey is among the first of a generation of performers who are equally at ease on the modern or the period cello. His acute stylistic awareness, combined with a truly original interpretation and a phenomenal technical mastery, has won the hearts of critics and public alike in repertoire ranging from JS Bach to Schnittke, Elliott Carter and works composed for him. View videos from previous Pieter Wispelwey master classes

RALPH KIRSHBAUM
Tuesday, 21 October 2013
7:00 pm-9:30 pm

Ralph Kirshbaum has appeared with many of the world’s great orchestras, including the Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, BBC and London Symphonies, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philharmonia, Zurich Tonhalle, Orchestre de Paris and Israel Philharmonic. He has collaborated with many of the great conductors of the time such as Herbert Blomstedt, Semyon Bychkov, Christoph von Dohnányi, Andrew Davis, the late Sir Colin Davis, James Levine, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, Sir Antonio Pappano, André Previn, Sir Simon Rattle, and the late Sir Georg Solti. Ralph Kirshbaum has appeared frequently at such prominent international festivals as Edinburgh, Bath, Verbier, Lucerne, Aspen, La Jolla, Santa Fe, Music@Menlo, Ravinia, and New York’s Mostly Mozart.

A renowned pedagogue, he served on the faculty of the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester for 38 years, and in 2008 accepted the Gregor Piatigorsky Chair in Violoncello at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. He serves as artistic advisor of IMS Prussia Cove, and is Founder/Honorary president of the Pierre Fournier Award as well as honorary president of the London Cello Society. He recently served for five years on the US President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. View videos from previous Ralph Kirshbaum master classes

LLUÍS CLARET
Thursday, 26 September 2013
7:00 pm-9:30 pm

Born in Andorra in 1951, from exiled Catalan parents, Lluís Claret began his musical studies at the age of 9. His musical future was strongly marked by his contact with great teachers as Maurice Gendron, Radu Aldulescu and Enric Casals (Pablo Casals’ brother), who, besides not being a cellist, was his principal musical adviser for many years. His meetings with György Sebök, Eva Janzer and Bernard Greenhouse were also decisive for the development of his artistic personality.

He founded the Barcelona Trio (1980-1993), performs regularly with the pianists Josep-Maria Colom and Benedicte Palko and collaborates very often with other prestigious musicians at festivals like Kuhmo, Naantali, Ernen, l’Epau, Pablo Casals (Prades), Granada, and Seoul.

His great interest in contemporary music brought him to a close professional collaboration with Henri Dutilleux, Witold Lutoslawski, Kristoff Penderecki, Joan Guinjoan, Iannis Xenakis and Pierre Boulez.

Master classes from earlier years

 

Sistema Fellowship Resource Center Report

Exploring El Sistema - Tue, 2016-09-20 15:54
NEC’s decision to reinvest in the fifty alumni of the Sistema Fellows Program created an exciting opportunity to deepen the relationships that had begun on campus. The creation of the Resource Center also presented me with an opportunity to learn the stories of the Fellows from the first three classes... Sistema Fellows Program

Center for Professional Development and Performing Arts Leadership

Exploring El Sistema - Mon, 2016-09-19 07:00
Welcome to Exploring El Sistema! Dating back to 2012, this blog documents many of the experiences of NEC's Sistema Fellows Program. Since the completion of the five-year program, the blog has continued to serve as a platform for the Fellows to share reflections on their work and new ideas with... Sistema Fellows Program

Wednesdays at Kroger

Exploring El Sistema - Mon, 2016-09-12 10:21
Laura Jekel, Sistema Fellow '11 and founder of MyCincinnati, has been experimenting with creating opportunities for broad community engagement by showing up with her cello on Wednesday afternoons at the Price Hill Kroger. Read about her project by enlarging the image below. Sistema Fellows Program

Playing for Their Lives

Exploring El Sistema - Mon, 2016-09-12 10:17
Eric Booth, Senior Advisor to the Sistema Fellows Program, and Tricia Tunstall, author of Changing Lives, have jointly produced a new book about how the global El Sistema-inspired movement is exploring the intersection of music education and social change. Available on Amazon beginning September 13. Sistema Fellows Program

International Conference of Music Perception and Cognition

Exploring El Sistema - Thu, 2016-08-04 07:24
On July 5th, four students from UNC Charlotte performed, and I presented at a special session of the International Conference of Music Perception and Cognition in San Francisco. ICMPC accorded us an exceptional honor, providing airfares for the students (my participation was supported by NEC's Sistema Fellowship Resource Center) and... Sistema Fellows Program

Exploring Colombia's Youth Music Initiatives

Avi Mehta's Blog - Sun, 2016-01-10 10:09
Prior to arriving in Colombia this past summer, I had numerous preconceived ideas of what to expect based on my previous trips to Venezuela. Given their proximity on the map, similar heritage, and testimonies by numerous visitors, I came away from my three-week trip realizing that Colombia was a country headed in a very different direction from its neighbor, both in their development of society and El Sistema.
            With tourism thriving and a rough history with drugs mostly in its past, each of the four cities I visited in Colombia were unique. I packed for weather ranging from 40—90 degrees as the changes in climate and landscape were as diverse as the Sistema-inspired programs I visited.  
My trip started in Medellin, a very large city bustling with traffic, mountainous views, perfect temperatures, and stunning properties. The youth instrumental programs in Medellin are run by an organization called La Red, which serves students in over 30 neighborhoods and schools throughout the city. Funded by the city government, the program serves both affluent and underserved areas—a unique concept in Medellin, where lots of effort has been placed on equalizing the playing field between residents with a varied levels of income. I was introduced to two schools in La Red by two of my former Boston colleagues, Rebecca Levi (Sistema Fellow ’10) and Claudia Garcia. When visiting the programs, we witnessed a less intense, but more creative approach to music making. Each program showcases a different type of ensemble, caters to all ages, and also provides instruction in music literacy. For instance, In Claudia’s nucleo, a theatre teacher taught a class on how to use their body’s to communicate and build trust within an ensemble. When visiting the wind ensemble in another part of the city, the ages of the students ranged from 12—22.
            After a quick vacation in the popular city of Cartagena, my next stop was Santa Marta, a warm, tropical, costal city on the Caribbean. Another former Boston colleague, Antonio Berdugo, hosted me as we spent our time hosting seminarios with students in Cajamag, a private organization that uses public funding to serve youth in the area. The music program is only a small branch of the organization, which leads to an insufficient quantity on resources, limiting their ability to grow artistically. This was a huge contrast to Venezuela’s national Sistema, which is able to offer more support and resources to their teachers, helping them  improve the musical level of their program. The students in Santa Marta, of course, were fantastic to work with and displayed enthusiasm and hospitality that made rehearsals in the intense heat totally enjoyable.
            The final leg of my trip was in Bogota, Colombia’s capital city situated at over 8,000ft, where the temperature stays in the 50’s year around. I had a wonderful time working with the musicians of the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of Batuta, the largest music for social change organization in the country. Given their flagship status, my first instinct was to compare their Metropolitan Youth Orchestra with the leading youth orchestras in Venezuela. However, given that the organization has branches in fewer cities, focuses more on fundamental musical training rather than orchestra training, and has been around for only just over 20 years, I realized that the leading “Sistema’s” in both countries are quite distinct. The lack of one governing organization throughout the country made it more difficult to achieve the standardized resources, which has led to so much artistic success in Venezuela. However, the more localized approach to building a Sistema in each city, rather than to form a national system has yielded some flexibility is allowing for each city to have numerous organizations create their own programs and customize their approach to each community.
            The difference in infrastructures in Colombia and Venezuela was certainly unexpected at first. While Venezuela has clearly invested much of its resources into developing a national system of youth orchestras that serves as many youth as possible, Colombia had a feel much closer to that of the United States and Europe--separate organizations created localized programs without much outside leadership. The clear commonality between the two South American countries was the children, who were eager, passionate, and relentless in their pursuit of music education, which instilled the joy that will motivate me to plan my next trip to South America soon. 
 
For a video containing photos, rehearsal footage, and student testimonies from my trip to Colombia, please see the video below!
 
http://www.redmusicamedellin.org/
http://www.cajamag.com.co/#/
http://www.fundacionbatuta.org/

Briefly on Senior Year

Penguin - Mon, 2015-11-02 15:58
by ELIZABETH WENDT 4th Year – BM Voice     Another year full of excitement is budding here at NEC. For me, this year is unlike any other…It’s my senior year! I honestly thought that this day would never come – that it would be forever before I would have to face the idea of moving […]

The NEC Team

Penguin - Mon, 2015-11-02 15:48
by ALEX STENING 2nd Year – MM French Horn     For those of you returning to Boston and NEC, welcome back! And for those who are starting their first year, welcome to the team! Last year, I remember sitting in Jordan Hall with the pipe organ towering above and being surrounded by a sea of students […]

Composers in the Kitchen

Penguin - Mon, 2015-11-02 15:40
By SARAH ATWOOD 2nd Year – MM Violin       Rumor has it that Niccolo Paganini was a virtuoso in the kitchen, as well as onstage. He has a famous ravioli recipe to prove it. Although Jean Sibelius did not compose during the latter part of his life, he did take the time to concoct […]

MUSICIANS OWN MUSIC BECAUSE MUSIC OWNS THEM. VIRGIL THOMSON