Chamber Music

The Amit Peled Peabody Cello Gang: Closing the Circle — by Amit Peled

Originally posted on Violinist.com. As a student, I was fortunate enough to experience the magic of performing music on stage with my great mentors Bernard Greenhouse, Boris Pergamenschikow, and Laurence Lesser, as well as see how each of them balanced their performing and teaching careers. The difference between listening to them explain how to create a phrase and actually forming that phrase with them on stage was huge and significant. Performing with my teachers was a vastly more effective lesson than a one-on-one in a studio, teaching me “on-the-spot” artistic decision-making, amending each performance to fit the energy of the hall. Ever since those transformative and magical moments, I knew that I would become a teacher and pass on the tradition of sharing music with my own students on stage. [...]

Pacifica Quartet Announces First Personnel Change in 17 Years

Reposted from The Violin Channel. The Pacifica Quartet has announced 2nd violinist Sibbi Bernhardsson and violist Masumi Per Rostad are set to leave the ensemble. The Indiana-based Pacifica String Quartet has today announced that 2nd violinist Sibbi Bernhardsson and violist Masumi Per Rostad are set to leave the ensemble at the end of the current season—the group’s first member change in seventeen years. Sibbi, who joined the quartet in 2000, is set to take up a teaching position on faculty at the Oberlin Conservatory School of Music. Masumi, who joined the ensemble in 2001, was last month appointed to the teaching faculty of the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester. “Over the past 17 years, the Pacifica Quartet has played nearly 1500 concerts all over the world  … [...]

The Rep…More than Quartet — by Thomas Rosenberg

More or Less...String Trios, Quintets and Beyond  It is generally agreed that the string quartet is the ultimate chamber music idiom. While there are surely those that differ with that assessment, I confess that I agree from my perspectives as both a listener and a performing artist. Many of the greatest composers from Haydn to the present day have tried their hand at quartet writing. Many have succeeded in giving us their best creations, some of which are regarded to be some of the greatest creative work of human kind. When asked about repertoire for other combinations of strings, most musicians can come up with a relatively small list of trios, quintets, sextets and more. However, in reality, there is a lot of music for string ensembles that are not quartets. Although the most well known [...]

By |2017-10-30T04:35:30+00:00July 17th, 2016|Categories: Chamber Music, Performance|Tags: , , |

Great Chamber Music Reading and Watching — by Thomas Rosenberg

Besides enormously enhancing listening skills, chamber music study also develops a players’ ability to sight-read, note read and watch. These are skills that are vital in orchestral situations as well. However, this is not about that kind of reading and watching! This is about books, movies and videos that will also greatly enhance the skills of anyone playing chamber music. READING: There are some great books out there about chamber music. None of these are long (300 pages or less) and are relatively quick and easy reading. I hope this will spur the interest of those reading this article to check some of them out. Con Brio: Four Russians Called The Budapest String Quartet by Nat Brandt The Budapest Quartet was perhaps the greatest quartet ever…or certainly one of the most important. They existed for nearly [...]

A Chamber Music Concert is Worth a Thousand Words — by Thomas Rosenberg

One of the goals of good teaching is assisting students to develop into interesting, compelling and communicative artists. Of course, there are many influences that create artistic musicians and many of them can be discussed and demonstrated in lessons. However, one of the factors that I believe is extremely important is also one that cannot actually happen in a lesson. For it to get done, you must often rely on the parents of your students or, for collegiate students, the student themselves. That factor is getting students to attend concerts to hear and watch professional and artistic musicians performing “live." Imagine the difference it would make to students who love sports if they could not see great athletes performing. It is relatively easy to see a basketball game, baseball game, tennis match, football game, gymnastic or swim meet, [...]

What?….I have to listen too?? — by Thomas Rosenberg

  For seven long minutes he stood. Then he stirred And he said to the bear, “do you know what I heard? Do you see that far mountain…? It’s ninety miles off. There’s a fly on that mountain. I just heard him cough! Now the cough of a fly, sir, is quite hard to hear When he’s ninety miles off. But I heard it quite clear.”  -Dr. Suess   In Dr. Suess’s story, “The Big Brag”, the rabbit goes on and on about how well he can hear. Of course, that is not the point of the story, which is about how dumb it is to brag about how great you are. (That is a possible topic for another article…not that musicians ever do that!). But it does have an important message that [...]

The Viola and 2nd Violin (The Unsung Heroes of Chamber Music Groups!) – by Tom Rosenberg

  When violinists are asked what part they prefer to play in chamber music, there are often just two answers. I wish more often that there were three common answers, but more on that later. Some like to feel like they are the star, and so they want to play 1st violin. Others are either unwilling or unable to take on the 1st violin part which often features the most virtuosic part writing in the strings and so they choose 2nd violin. The irony in that decision is that playing 2nd violin well in a chamber ensemble requires a skill set that is in many ways more difficult than what the 1st violin is required to do. And, it is very different than in orchestra, where the individual player can and often should blend into the section. [...]

Developing Musicianship Through Chamber Music — by Thomas Rosenberg

In a typical private instrumental lesson, until a student has reached a fairly high technical level, much of the time in a lesson is spent on issues such as good hand positions, intonation, tone production, fingerings and bowings, and the development of technique in both hands through scales, etudes, etc. The choice of a solo piece or pieces is usually connected to these same issues. Musicianship is hopefully discussed, and hopefully in some detail. But, the fact remains that it is unlikely issues of musicianship will dominate the lesson time. One of the great benefits of having students play chamber music is that it helps them become better musicians faster. A good, well matched chamber music group with a good coach will push forward the abilities a student has already developed and enable them to be able [...]

Being the Music — by Thomas Rosenberg

What is it that makes one performance more compelling to an audience than another? Of course, there are many things that come into play, not the least of which is the aesthetic taste of individual audience members. However, at most concerts the audience consensus is clear. When it seems dull or not played at a high technical level, they are polite; when it seems good, they are appreciative; and when it seems great, they are compelled to give energy back to the performers by clapping energetically and often standing and cheering. I believe there are usually two primary factors that create those compelling performances that audiences and performers enjoy so much. Both involve artistry, but different kinds. And, in the setting of a chamber music concert, the chances of NOT succeeding are greater than in a solo performance. [...]

CelloStream Artist Master Classes – Fall 2015

Streamed live from Pierce Hall at New England Conservatory in Boston COMING THIS FALL 2015 MARCY ROSEN Tuesday, September 22nd 2015 10 am EDT LLUÍS CLARET Sunday, October 11th 2015 1 pm EDT GARY HOFFMAN Sunday, October 18th 2015 1 pm EDT PETER STUMPF Tuesday, October 27th 2015 7 pm EDT 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. […]

Viva, Joel Krosnick! Viva, Astrid Schween!

A true cello icon from my generation of string quartets is stepping down—after a remarkable 42 seasons in the Juilliard Quartet,  Joel Krosnick leaves at the end of next year (and continues as Chair of Juilliard’s Cello Dept.) Mega-Congratulations Joel, and welcome to a wonderful cello colleague and friend of mine, Astrid Schween, who will join the Juilliard Quartet in September of 2016! —Paul Katz   CELLIST JOEL KROSNICK TO CELEBRATE HIS 42nd AND FINAL SEASONWITH THE JUILLIARD STRING QUARTET.  Krosnick Will Continue to Teach and Remain Chair of Juilliard’s Cello Department. Cellist Astrid Schween to Join the JSQ September 2016 NEW YORK—Juilliard President Joseph W. Polisi announced today that the 2015-16 season will mark cellist Joel Krosnick’s final season with the Juilliard String Quartet, the quartet’s 70th season. Mr. Krosnick has been [...]

What if We All Did That? — by Martha Baldwin

OK, not to blog-rant (is that a thing?) but I’m often surprised by basic behaviors I see in music students (and professionals) and it reminds me of a saying we have in our cello section: “What if we all did that?” Here are my top 3: 1. STAY!!!!!! seriously, just stay to the end people. I realize that many student recitals seem endless but leaving as soon as you’re done playing is, simply put, rude. I’ve seen entire rows of extended family get up and leave noisily after the first performer (their kid) is finished and I’m shocked. Really? No one else matters? Your child is so special that this entire recital is there just for his/her 4 minutes of glory? People notice these things. As a side benefit - [...]

Laszlo Varga, Cellist for the New York Philharmonic, is Dead at 89

Laszlo Varga, Cellist for the New York Philharmonic, is Dead at 89 by Bruce Weber and Jacob Burg Reposted from the Herald-Tribune Laszlo Varga, a Hungarian-born musician and teacher who escaped a Nazi work camp to become principal cellist for the New York Philharmonic under the batons of Dimitri Mitropoulos and Leonard Bernstein, died on Dec. 11 at his home in Sarasota, Fla. He was 89. He died several days after a fall had precipitated a stroke, his son Michael said. In a long career, Mr. Varga applied his virtuosic skills to solo performances, orchestral playing and ensemble work. As a young man he lost his position as first-chair cellist of the Budapest Symphony in a purge of Jews. He came to the United States after World War II as a member [...]

On How to Play a Baroque Cello: Gut Strings (Part 2) — by Guy Fishman

In last week’s blog, I outlined a brief history of gut strings in the 20th century. Here I complete my blog on gut strings, and also offer a bit of advice on their use. There is no doubt that the character of the sound of gut strings differs from that of steel. Gut has what is usually described as a warm sound. This is despite the fact that the surface tension of gut is much higher than steel, and the “buzz” that musicians often hear under their ears coming from gut strings is part of what propels the sound toward the listener. I have found that the variety of color between the strings and along the same string, especially on unwound gut, creates a great deal of interest in the [...]

By |2017-10-30T05:05:53+00:00September 29th, 2014|Categories: Baroque, Chamber Music, Teaching, Repertoire|Tags: , , , , , |

Dave — by Arnold Steinhardt

David Soyer, cellist and founding member of the Guarneri String Quartet, passed away on February 26, 2010—one day after his 86th birthday. Michael Tree, violist, and John Dalley and I, violinists, the other founding members, played in the quartet with Dave for almost forty years and we knew him for close to fifty. Peter Wiley, a former cello student of Dave’s and his successor in the Guarneri Quartet, has known him for easily forty years. Given the close musical and personal relationship that we had with Dave stretching over decades, it is hard to believe that he is no longer with us. Dave and I first met at the Marlboro Music School—quite literally at a rehearsal for Brahms B Major Piano Trio. In the course of that two-hour rehearsal, I [...]