History of Cellospeak Activities

A History of Cellospeak Activities

The Adult Cello Workshops

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 quartets, and recitals by the esteemed faculty. Visit “About Cellospeak” for more information about how we got started.

Gala Concerts

For the past few years, Cellospeak has presented concerts featuring workshop faculty and other local professional cellists. These concerts provide opportunities for Cellospeak to showcase the talent that contribute to the organization.

Cellospeak introduced its “16 Cellos”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 cello ensemble. Led by conductor and arranger Gary Fitzgerald, 16 Cellos 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.

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.

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.

Instructional Videos

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, but they will be of interest to cellists of all ages and levels of proficiency. The first video, released in the summer of 2010, features an interview with the exciting and engaging performing artist Zuill Bailey. These videos are available for purchase from our website store.

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.

Cello Choir

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.