Back in a Starbucks, that office-away-from-home where it’s somehow easier to concentrate than in my own room!
Some cello website/blogging news:
Emily Wright has redone her Stark Raving Cello Blog. It’s a on a new server and looks terrific. Of course I don’t agree with Emily on every aspect of cello playing and interpretation–but what a boring world it would be if we all agreed with each other! I deeply admire the work and imagination she puts into her online outreach. I get gripped at times by paralyzing bouts of insecurity regarding my own expertise, which all too often leads me to hold back from discussing my own views on cello playing. Emily’s go-for-it attitude is genuinely inspiring!
One of the greatest cello teachers in the world, Hans Jensen, whose legendary dedication and enthusiasm is also deeply inspiring, has alerted me to the new blog/website which he’s co-founded, String Visions. Angela Myles Beeching, one of the great music career consultant/project management coaches, wrote me about it just a couple days ago and suggested I offer to write something for it. So I will!
If you’re a cellist, you’ve surely come across the mother-of-all-cello-websites, Paul Katz’s CelloBello, by now. It’s got a blog, too, currently leading with a tribute to the late Bernie Greenhouse, one of my beloved former teachers, about whom I haven’t yet been able to write–I’m still in denial about his passing.
Oh, and do you read this planet’s foremost Klingon cellist Jon Silpayamanant’s Mae Mai? Not yet? Well, you should! Tremendous amounts of information about both the American orchestral music scene and non-western cello playing and music-making.
I was reminded today about this now-old American Express commercial. It uses a truncated version of the Prelude of the Bach G Major cello suite, performed by Robert Burkhart.
I mention it here for two reasons.
First, are things like this good for the general cause of classical music or not?
Yes vote reasoning: It resulted in a lot of people hearing Bach who hadn’t before and may have discovered the music, especially through the YouTube video. My personal trainer, a sharp guy and a great person, had never heard of the composer when I was explaining my participation in Bach in the Subways Day to him. So sure, this is good exposure.
No vote reasoning: It uses a “great work” functionally, as background music in a television commercial, and cutting a huge chunk of the piece out. Maybe bowdlerized isn’t exactly the right word, but certainly the integrity and architecture of the movement is destroyed as performed here.
Second, regardless of the commercial, Robert has a great-looking website (although it needs a bit of updating) with a particularly well-organized biography and great photos. It’s worth looking through.
Google Alerts are a wonderful thing. I have ones set up for “cello” and “cellist,” among others (which is why I’m aware of the countless articles about the non-existence of “cello scrotum,” mentioned in my previous post). Today’s “cello” alert brought this article about cellist Kristina Reiko Cooper, who has what I would call a post-classical career (i.e., one that includes but isn’t limited to traditional classical music). Her website is terrific, with lots of audio and video clips, and some great photos, including this one.
I’m in the process of redesigning my website, which has prompted me to start scouring the web for cellist websites to steal, oops, borrow ideas from. With help from my friends in the Internet Cello Society Cello Chat forum, I’ve put together the following list:
These are listed in arbitrary order. Each has strengths and weaknesses, and I’ll write some comments about each. One thing that has become clear is that I need to get bunch of current photos taken for my site. Right now there are no photos, and all the ones I have show me with a beard, which I no longer have.
It’s interesting to see that there are few if any photos on any of these sites in which the artist is wearing highly formal attire.