A History of Cellospeak Activities
The Adult Cello Workshop - The Adult Cello Workshop, our signature activity, is two one-week summer resident programs that includes private lessons, technique and master classes, coached quartets, recitals by the esteemed faculty, and the “Cello Choir” playing all-cello multipart repertoire – including original compositions and and arrangements for Cellospeak.. The Cello Choir is comprised of 5 sections ranging from beginner (Section V) to advanced (Section I). Prior to attending the Workshop, participants are individually assigned to the Cello Choir section, as well as a quartet, that best suits their ability based on the participant’s self-assessment and/or prior experience at Cellospeak. Our logo of 13 cellos in a circle represents the number of attendees at the first workshop. In 2007, after seven years at Orkney Springs, VA, Cellospeak moved the Workshop to Wilson College in Chambersburg, PA. The 2010 Adult Cello Workshop included 64 participants of all levels from as far away as Florida, Texas and Alaska. In 2011, the Workshop moved to Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, PA including 78 participants, one from as far away as Georgia the country! In 2012 due to the strong demand, an additional week-long workshop was added to our summer program. The first week now focuses on individual skill-building and the second week focuses on ensemble playing.
Gala Concerts - For the past few years, Cellospeak has held a 16 Cellos concert or a gala fundraiser concert in the spring featuring Cellospeak faculty and other performers. The concert provides an opportunity for Cellospeak to showcase faculty and friends in solo and ensemble cello music, and gives Cellospeak participants a welcome opportunity to gather and socialize. In 2010, a world premier of a new piece composed for cello quartet was presented by the National Symphony Cello Quartet 4 In Correspondence . On March 2, 2014, Cellospeak will be gathering its faculty from around the country to perform as the 16Cellos in Washington, D.C.'s Church of the Epiphany.
In 2015 Cellospeak gathered our faculty from around the country to perform under the baton of Gary Fitzgerald. The concert was held at Washington D.C.'s Church of the Epiphany on March 8th. Works included Gary Fitzgerald's arrangements of the Flight of the Bumblebee and the Le Serie del Angel by Piazzola for 16 cellos, along with the rarely played Lento from Heitor Villa-Lobos' Fantasia Concertante along with many other selections.
In 2014 Cellospeak gathered our faculty from around the country to perform under the baton of Gary Fitzgerald. The concert was held at Washington D.C.'s Church of the Epiphany on March 2nd. Works included Gary Fitzgerald's arrangement of the Rococo Variations for 16 cellos, along with Bachianas Brasilieras #5 and Barber's Adagio.
Our 2010 10th Anniversary Gala Concert featured the cello quartet of the National Symphony Orchestra, “4 In Correspondence” led by Steven Honigberg. The concert included a premiere of a new composition for cello quartet by Joel Hoffman of the Cincinnati Conservatory as well as a varied program of other pieces. Cellospeak faculty members joined for part of the program. For the complete program, click here.
In 2009 Cellospeak presented Jorge Espinoza in recital at The Lyceum in Alexandria, Virginia. A native of Chile, Jorge Espinoza is an active performer and teacher in the Washington DC area. His program featured music from a wide variety of times and places, including unique multimedia performances of pieces from the country of his birth.
Our 2008 fundraiser concert featured concert artist and Cellospeak faculty member Stephen Framil performing a varied program of works for accompanied cello by Schumann, Prokofiev, Paganini and others. For the complete program, click here.
Commissions of Original Works and Arrangements for Cello Ensembles - One of Cellospeak’s priorities is to promote opportunities for adult amateur cellists of varying skill levels to play in large all-cello ensembles or orchestras. Cellospeak also seeks to support composers who can expand the general repertoire of orchestral cello music. To serve these purposes, Cellospeak occasionally commissions suitable original compositions and also produces and publishes its own proprietary arrangements of works in the public domain. [Link to Music Tab]
In 2004, Cellospeak commissioned a work for the Cello Choir in honor of Dorothy Amarandos’ 80th birthday by composer Mark Stephenson [link to pdf of biography]. That piece, Cello Calypso and Corale [link to MP3 file], an all-cello orchestral work in 4 parts, was premiered by the Cello Choir in a special performance in 2005.
In 2009, another Mark Stephenson commission produced the brief and uplifting Cellospeak Prelude [link to MP3 file], which has become a signature piece for our Cello Choir
In 2010, Cellospeak commissioned a work from award-winning composer James Barry. "Expanding Circles, " a concerto grosso arranged for an advanced cello quartet accompanied by a 5-part cello orchestra, was premiered at the 2010 Workshop. To see a 30-second video clip, follow the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5Jo1HqsbFg
Between 2009 and 2010, Gary Fitzgerald, long time conductor of the Cello Choir, has produced numerous arrangements expressly for the Cellospeak 5-part ensembles. Virtually all of these arrangements can be performed either by small ensembles or full Cello Choir. Cellospeak is publishing these arrangements and will make them available for purchase from our website Store.
Instructional Videos - A new Cellospeak activity initiated in 2010 is the production of original instructional videos featuring notable performers and/or Cellospeak faculty providing helpful and insightful comments on cello study, practice and performance. These video sessions are designed to be particularly useful for adult amateur cellists, but they will be of interest to cellists of all ages and levels of proficiency. The first video, being released in the summer of 2010, features an interview with the exciting and engaging young performing artist Zuill Bailey. The videos will be available for purchase from our website Store.
Membership - Cellospeak also is launched a membership initiative in 2010. Members have exclusive access to special educational information and other materials over our website and receive valuable discounts.
Master Classes - Cellospeak participants in the Washington, DC area often join Kindler Cello Society members for special “Cello Day” presentations and Master Classes by cello experts and performers, including such artists as Mstislav Rostropovich, Mischa Maisky and Zuill Bailey
Facebook/Twitter Cellospeak launched its own Facebook page and Twitter account. We hope to use these to help Cellospeak enthusiasts continue to exchange information, ideas and experiences, and just stay in touch.
Cello Choir - In addition to the summer Workshop, Cellospeak occasionally has constituted the Cello Choir in the Washington, DC area for winter rehearsals and performances. Off-season performances by members of the Cello Choir also have been presented in churches and retirement homes. On May 4, 2005, members of the Cellospeak Cello Choir joined members of the Kindler Cello Society of Washington, DC for an all-cello performance on the Millennium Stage at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. As of today there are a number of cello groups in the Washington area and beyond that meet during the year. It is a nascent goal of Cellospeak to provide assistance to these groups to help them grow.