By Jacob Stockinger
Attention, all cellists and cello lovers! Madison, Wisconsin is about to become the temporary Cello Capital of the world.
The cello (or violoncello, below) has been, is and will remain very popular, largely, The Ear suspects, because its beautiful sound so resembles the human voice and because it uses total body involvement and has a wonderful repertoire. Just go to Google Images and check out how many schools, colleges, universities and conservatories have a Cello Choir. You will be amazed at how many exist.
Starting this Friday, June 1, the biennial National Summer Cello Institute will take place at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It will run through June 16, when it cuminates with a FREE and PUBLIC concert at 8:30 p.m. in Mills Hall. It will feature music by Bach, Bloch, Bruch and Villas Lobos,
Once again, the sessions will be under the general guidance of UW-Madison cellist and institute founder Uri Vardi (below top) and his wife Hagit Vardi (below bottom), who is a trained practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method and was a professional flutist in her native Israel. Another important figure is the institute site administrator, Cathy Spann, a UW alumna who is a cello teacher and performer and helped found the Wisconsin Cello Society with Uri Vardi.
And here are links to a two-part Q&A the Vardis did for The Ear last summer:
Famous cellists and teachers – including the well-known performer Ralph Kirshbaum, who now teaches at USC – will teach, many come from such prestigious music schools as Juilliard, Mannes and the University of Michigan among others. Students highly praise the results.
This year – for the first time – the public will be allowed to audit the clinics and master classes for $15. There will also be a FREE public concert by the Cello Choir on June 16 at 8:30 p.m. in Mills Hall. For a full schedule of events with times and places, visit:
In addition from June 1-6 there will be on-going sessions and workshops called “Your Body Is Your Strad” — great title, no? Make me wonder: Is My Body My Steinway? Anyway, the sessions teach the Feldenkrais Method to help cellists relax and use their bodies to play more efficiently and make them less prone to injury.
The NSCI is co-sponsored by the UW-Madison School of Music and The College Music Society (CMS), and this year received additional grants from the UW Chancellor’s office, the Evjue Foundation (the charitable branch of The Capital Times newspaper) and the UW Anonymous Fund.
For more details about the Feldenkrais sessions – which are NOT open to the public for auditing – and about the National Summer Cello Institute, visit:
And listen to the YouTube videos included in this posting:
Here is a schedule of highlights – where auditing fees apply:
June 3: Seminar with Dr. Mark Erickson: “Kinesiological Considerations for Musicians”
June 4: Seminar with Dr. Raymond Purdy: “Brain Plasticity and its Relevance to Musicians”
June 8: Seminar with Timothy Eddy (below): “Natural Resources”
June 11, 12: Seminar with Richard Aaron: “Teaching Young Children”
Cello master classes include:
June 7 and 9: Timothy Eddy
June 3, 4 and 8: Uri Vardi
June 12 and 13: Richard Aaron (below)
June 14 and 15: Ralph Kirshbaum
All events are at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music Mills Hall or Morphy Hall.
Here is the program for the FREE concert at 8:30 p.m. on June 16 in Mills Hall by the NSCI CELLO CHOIR, conducted by German Marcano: the “Chaconne” from Violin Partita No. 2 in D minor BWV 1004 by J.S. Bach (1685-1750) as arranged by Laszlo Varga; “Pájaro Guaracha” for cello ensemble by Paul Desenne (1959); “Rochela” for cello ensemble by Ricardo Lorenz (1961); “Kol Nidrei,” Op. 47, by Max Bruch (1838-1920) with soloist Uri Vardi and arranged for cello ensemble by Gunther Rinke; the “Bachianas Brasileiras” No. by Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959).
If you wonder about the credentials of the participants, here are a couple of impressive biographies:
PAUL DESENNE: The 2009 Guggenheim Fellow Paul Desenne (below) began composition studies at the age of 14 under Greek composer Iannis Ioannidis, and as a cellist, he became a founding member of the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra in 1977. He moved to Paris and studied cello with Michel Strauss and Philippe Muller; composition with Marc-Olivier Dupin and Luc Ferrari. He won first prize in cello performance at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris – the dean of the jury was the great Pierre Fournier.
His works are performed around the world, with venues and festivals including Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York, Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Juilliard, MoMA‘s Summergarden series in New York, the Sonic Boom Festival, Focus! Festival, Caramoor, Faneuil Hall in Boston, among many others.
His works have been performed by the Simón Bolívar Symphonic Orchestra, Kremerata Baltica, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas, Boston Classical Orchestra, the Bogotá Philharmonic, I Musici de Montréal, the Miami Symphony, Nederlands Blasers Ensemble, the New Juilliard Ensemble, by various artist such as the Verdehr Trio, pianist Gabriela Montero, clarinetists Paquito d’Rivera and Jorge Montilla, flutists Luis Julio Toro, Marco Granados, Javier Montilla, and Jacques Zoon, violinists Alexis Cárdenas, Virginie Robilliard, and Jennifer Curtis, violinist/violist Nicholas Mann, and cellist Iseut Chuat, with conductors including Tania Léon, Olivier Grangean, Joel Sachs, Yuli Turovsky, among others
RICARDO LORENZ: Venezuelan-born Ricardo Lorenz has served as Composer-in-Residence in several programs and presenting organizations, such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Armonía Musicians Residency Program (1998-2003), the Billings Symphony (1998-1999), and Music in the Loft chamber music series (1999-2000).
Lorenz has also been the recipient of several other distinctions and awards from American Bandmasters Association, National Flute Association, Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Organization of American States (OAS), Concert Artists Guild, Meet-the-Composer, Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, the Newhouse Foundation, Illinois Community College Trustees Association, and ASCAP.
Although Ricardo Lorenz has resided in the United States since 1982, he has always maintained close ties with Latin America. Between 1987 and 1992, Ricardo Lorenz held the position of Interim Director of the Indiana University Latin American Music Center.
During this time he established a network of composers from the continent and compiled the sourcebook Scores and Recordings at Indiana University’s Latin American Music Center (Indiana University Press, 1995) nominated to receive the 1996 Best General Reference Source Award by the Association of Recorded Sound Collections. Ricardo Lorenz holds a Ph.D. degree in composition from the University of Chicago and a Master of Music degree from Indiana University. He studied composition under Juan Orrego Salas, Shulamit Ran and Donald Erb.
He has taught at Indiana University, The University of Chicago, City Colleges of Chicago, and he is currently Associate Professor of Composition at Michigan State University.
Lorenz’ compositions are published by Lauren Keiser Music and Boosey & Hawkes. They can also be heard on the following record labels: Arabesque Recordings, Albany Records, Indiana University LAMC Series, Doublemoon Records (Turkey), Urtex Digital Classics (Mexico), SOMM Recordings (UK), Cedille Records, and Navona Records.