Since its origins in 2020, Cellospeak has built a large and committed community of cello enthusiasts. We stay in frequent touch with our community in a variety of ways. Members enjoy special access to many of our teaching and informational resources as well as member-only forums. We reach an extensive mailing list through our periodic newsletter, NOTES. We also maintain an active Facebook page. Every once in a while, we also hold an open Town Hall via Zoom for general discussions open to all community members.
The Cello Workshops for Adults, our signature activity, consists of two one-week summer resident programs that include private lessons, technique and master classes, coached ensembles, and recitals by the esteemed faculty. All sessions are calibrated to four levels of proficiency: Beginner, Elementary, Intermediate, an Advanced. There is a place for everyone, even those who have just started playing the cello! We pride ourselves on creating a supportive environment geared toward the particular needs of adult learners.
The first workshop week focuses on skills training with private and group lessons. Read more on our Skill Builder Workshop page. The second workshop week focuses on ensemble playing, specifically in quartets and a large all-cello choir. Read more on our Ensemble Workshop page. Visit our History and Mission page for more information about how we got started. We also invite you to get to know our Faculty.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we initiated virtual Cellospeak Studio programs in 2020. Our initial Studio offering via Zoom, held over 3 days, involved 17 faculty offering a very diverse program of 15 different technique presentations, as well as guided etude and duet practice sessions, and live-streamed faculty recitals. Read more on our Cellospeak Studio page. Videos of most of the Studio technique classes are available to members via our Technique Videos page.
For the past few years, Cellospeak has presented various concerts featuring workshop faculty and other local professional cellists. These concerts provide opportunities for Cellospeak to showcase the talent that contribute to the organization and to reach out to our local community to promote appreciation for the cello.
In 2020 we organized our first virtual Cello Choir concert, a performance of Cello Carol Medley, a unique arrangement of Carol of the Bells and Greensleeves, created by Gary Fitzgerald. Watch the performance on YouTube.
In 2019, we inaugurated “Cellospeak Presents!” concerts in Northern Virginia to combine an engaging performance with audience Q&A sessions. Read more on our Cellospeak Presents page.
Cellospeak introduced “16Cellos” concerts in the spring of 2014. Over the past few years, faculty and guest artists have brought to life unique arrangements and original compositions for a 16-member cello ensemble in concerts held in Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia. Led by conductor and arranger Gary Fitzgerald, 16Cellos programming has included special orchestrations of works such as Rismky-Korskokav’s The Flight of the Bumblee, Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations, Piazzolla’s Le Serie del Angel, and Barber’s Adagio for Strings. The first few concerts took place at the Church of the Epiphany in Washington D.C. In 2018, Cellospeak moved the event to Providence Presbyterian Church in Fairfax, VA. 16Cello concert DVDs are available for purchase in our Store.
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.
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.
In 2004, Cellospeak commissioned a work for the Cello Choir in honor of Dorothy Amarandos’ 80th birthday by composer Mark Stephenson. That piece, Cello Calypso and Chorale, 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, 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. Click here to see a 30-second video clip of the work.
Since 2009, 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 both by small ensembles and full Cello Choir. Cellospeak is publishing these arrangements and will make them available for purchase from our website store.
A new Cellospeak activity 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, and are available exclusively to our members. Visit our Technique Videos page for more information.
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.
In addition to the summer workshops, 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. In May 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. It is a nascent goal of Cellospeak to support the numerous cello groups that pervade the DC area and beyond.