Cello Solos Today
The Latest Update
Premiere update and New Videos!
Yesterday, and all this week, I’m meeting with students from around New York City to hear their preparations for the premiere event on Feb. 5, 2:00 at Greenwich House Music School. All I can say is that the work they are doing is really impressive and inspiring—these students are doing amazing things with new music! If you’d like to hear the concert on Feb. 5th, please RSVP to me directly.
Also, to celebrate the upcoming concert, I’ll be posting several new videos that have been in the works, all about playing, listening, and creating new music. I just posted four small videos to the “Learn” page of the Cello Solos Today website, and you can check them out here. These are especially great if you’re working as/with a string player on many of the new techniques found in contemporary music today.
Thanks as always for following and for your support!
The premiere of Cello Solos Today will be Sunday Feb. 5, 2017 at Greenwich House Music School in New York! I’ll be joined by students from around New York City performing many of these new works, as well as their teachers, families, and the contributing composers. Cellist Fred Sherry will also be joining me to perform Charles Wuorinen’s contribution Cello Duets.
We’d love to have a big group of supporters there for this event but space is limited, so if you’d like to attend, please send me a message. Thanks to all of you for following this project and supporting new music for young musicians.
all my best,
New Video! Additive Rhythm
There’s a new video for Cello Solos Today! This one is about Additive Rhythm and looks at some possible ways of using improvisation to explore these different rhythms. There is also a webpage (www.cellosolostoday.org/learn) that provides written instructions for those who want more detailed instruction. As always, I hope you can share with your students as well as interested musicians and music lovers.
thanks for following!
New Video and updated website
New video just posted! This one is all about modern music at the turn of the last century, featuring music of Anton Webern. Please share, especially if you have interested students or friends new to contemporary music.
Also, I’ve updated the website, so now all new videos and educational content will have a dedicated page with extra materials, info, etc. Check it out here: http://www.cellosolostoday.org/learn/
First Video Online
Happy holidays! I’m very excited that the first of three videos I filmed a few weeks ago is now online (many thanks to Monica Duncan at RKAD for her great work filming and editing):
This video is all about how we listen to new or unfamiliar music, and should be of interest to cellists, music students, musicians, and music lovers alike. Please take a look/listen and let me know what you think. As well, please share with your students, colleagues, and friends/family.
I’ll post updates when the next two are ready, and as more content is added to the website. Thanks for following, and Happy New Year! Chris
Website Up and Videos Coming Soon
Cello Solos Today is now on the web (www.cellosolostoday.org)! While the site is just beginning, in time it will serve as a home for the collection of solo cello pieces, and be a place where students, cellists, and musicians of all kinds can come and learn more about how we create, perform, and listen to new music. The first step began today when I had a great session with the folks at RKAD productions to film the first in a series of web videos exploring topics ranging from listening to new music, abstraction in Anton Webern, and additive rhythms. I’ll be exploring more topics about new music for students throughout the coming year, all leading up to the premiere of the Cello Solos Today collection in Fall 2016. If you have any ideas or topics you think would be of particular interest to students, or in general, please be in touch!
Stay tuned for more updates, and thanks for following!
Description: The idea behind Cello Solos Today is simple: to commission an anthology of 12 new short works (3-4 min. max) for solo cello, composed for intermediate cellists in a variety of contemporary styles by some of today’s leading composers. By creating a repertoire of new works specifically designed for the non-professional cellist, Cello Solos Today seeks to actively engage young musicians with contemporary music through firsthand performance experience. A broader goal is to strengthen a tradition of living composers writing new music for young players of all instruments.
Cello Solos Today is committed to commissioning a range of composers representing different styles, backgrounds, and ages. The following composers have agreed to contribute new works to the collection, pending successful funding of the project:
Goals: The first goal of Cello Solos Today is the commissioning, publishing, and distribution of new work for intermediate cellists. A second, and concurrent goal, is the creation of pedagogical materials to assist musicians who may be encountering contemporary music for the first time. These materials will include an accompanying recording of each work, as well as exercises designed to introduce unfamiliar techniques and musical syntax. An emphasis would be made on creating short exercises that are creatively-based rather than pedantic, and centered on experimentation and improvisation using the materials of the work being studied. These pedagogical materials would be made available online using audio and video, with the goal of creating an easy-to-use digital resource for both students and teachers.
Impact: The target audience for Cello Solos Today is a broad community of intermediate cellists, focused on young musicians and their teachers as well as adult amateurs and musicians in the early years of conservatory study. Further, the pieces in this collection will be performed nationally by students on a range of levels, and gain widespread exposure for these composers beyond the more serious audiences who are already familiar with them. Audiences for these works will range from devoted classical music-lovers, to families and peers of students. By creating works that are technically accessible yet aesthetically demanding, Cello Solos Today hopes to engage a wider audience with contemporary classical music through the joy of performing new works.
Funding and Timeline: Cello Solos Today seeks funding for commissioning fees to create new works for intermediate cellists. Funding is expected to be completed in 2015, with new works submitted at the end of 2016. Performance and recording, as well as publication and pedagogical materials will follow completion of the collection.
Cello Solos Today is a project of the Talea Ensemble (NY), initiated and performed by founding cellist Chris Gross. Talea is committed to engaging students and audiences with contemporary music, through residencies/institutes, workshops, masterclasses, and concert discussions. Talea is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization.
Charles Wuorinen: Cello Variations III (1997)—Recorded live at The Juilliard School on December 20, 2014. Cello Variations III was written for cellist Fred Sherry, and the opening motive is a musical cryptogram based on his initials. The form of the piece is modeled on a Baroque dance suite. Wuorinen’s writing for cello is highly inventive, creating unexpected melodic contours and harmonies, and drawing from elements of the 12-tone and tonal systems.
Jonathan Dawe: Fantasey for solo cello (2014)—Recorded live at Lehigh University on April 6, 2014. Fantasey for solo cello uses fractal-based nesting procedures on a Henry Purcell bass line to create a kaleidoscopic world blending the contemporary and the Baroque. Dawe’s highly-original style challenges musicians to reconsider the music of the past and the music of today.
Milton Babbitt: More Melismata for solo cello (2006)—Recorded live at Lehigh University on April 6, 2014. More Melismata exhibits Babbitt’s unique partitioning method to create a highly contrapuntal work that references the contrapuntal lines of the Bach cello suites. The piece is highly personal to me, as I worked on it with Babbitt as a student at Juilliard. It is a reminder that the experiences of young people—in music or otherwise—are a powerful influence throughout their lives.
Start and End Dates
09/01/2015 — 02/05/2017
New York, New York