I would say that humans today don’t listen enough. In music students’ cases, even if I have a student that listens to their assigned work, they listen to the Suzuki recording and call it good.
When I was in college I had the privilege of being accompanied by Dr. David Breckbill, a leading expert on Wagner recordings. Not only was he brilliant to work and make my playing more historically meaningful, but the moment he saw my repertoire for the season he would also give me 3 recordings each of every single piece I was playing so I could make my own choices. Everything we do comes down to choice, so why shouldn’t we put thought into choosing to play like someone or not?
I want my own students to truly understand their cello heritage and I think we will focus on that this year. Each student should be able to list their 3 favorite cellists, here is the first step: I can list my favorites!
Below are the cellists that inspired my life, each for their own reason – some for technique, others for bowhold, and a few for pure gumption.
- Pablo Casals – one of the ultimates.
- Pierre Fournier – so crisp, and has a great edition for the Bach Suites.
- Raya Garbousova – I love how she didn’t just play the traditional rep.
- Zara Nelsova – student of Casals and a delightfully aggressive player
- Janos Starker – has lovely left hand technique
- Mstislav Rostropovich – a beautiful cello player/composer playing the works of another incredible cellist, Boccherini
- Jaqueline Du Pre – expressive player, and I love how this short clip gives you the view of what a cellist looks like from the back!
- Julian Lloyd Webber – this was an inspiration clip when I was a little one – Paganini to a 90’s rock orchestra? Yep.
- Yoyo Ma – enough said.
- Mike Block – current cellist that enjoys experimenting with anything from folk music to Indian tabla duets
Who has inspired you?