Dorothy Amarandos crafted a singular lifetime career as a cello teacher, performer and entrepreneur, touching the lives of hundreds of devoted students of all ages and innovating music programs of unique power and reach. For 30 years, she maintained a private teaching studio in Reston for both school aged and adult cello students. Dorothy’s teaching approach combined elements of Suzuki with more traditional instruction techniques.
In 2001 at the age of 75, when most people are well into retirement, she founded Cellospeak in response to requests from her adult students for opportunities to play ensembles in a supportive atmosphere. She led the program for 20 years. Under her visionary leadership, the flagship program of Cellospeak, the summer Cello Workshops for Adults, grew from an initial group of 13 to two separate one-week workshops with a stable of nearly 20 faculty teaching private lessons, giving group technique classes, and coaching quartet and 5-part cello choir performances to over over 100 adult students from the four corners of the United States as well as from Canada.
Dorothy previously performed as a member of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra and with many free-lance professional groups in the Washington, D.C. area. She was a People to People Ambassador of the arts to China and the Caribbean, executive director of ASTA (American String Teachers Assoc.), and a participant in international music tours and festivals in Austria, France, England, and Spain.
Prior to moving to the Washington, DC area in 1975, she was the Executive Director of the National Guild of Community Music Schools in New York City; Performing Arts Coordinator of the Michigan Council for the Arts in Detroit Michigan; professor of cello at Ohio State University as well as Denison University, Ohio Wesleyan University, and Otterbein College, and principal cellist of the Columbus Symphony in Columbus, Ohio. While still in Rochester, she was, for 15 years, a member of the Rochester Philharmonic under Erich Leinsdorf and lecturer at the University of Rochester.
During the 1960s in Rochester, New York, she was Founder/ Director/Producer of Ars Antiqua, a ground-breaking national concert touring group of actors, dancers, singers, and players of original instruments performing musical dramas of the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods. Dorothy created and directed 22 original concert-productions in which she also performed both solo and ensemble works on the viola da gamba. The company, the only one of its kind at the time, was known for its elegance and grace, its superbly imaginative performances, its dedication to authenticity, and its devotion to bringing to life the masterpieces of ages long ago to audiences that had not heard any of it before. In 2005, several recordings of Ars Antiqua performances originally captured on magnetic tape were rescued, digitized and compiled into a 4-CD set with a beautiful and informative booklet. The set is available for purchase in Cellospeak’s online store.
Dorothy’s cello debut came at the age of 14 as a soloist with the Illinois Symphony of Chicago. She later earned the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and Performer’s Certificate in cello from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester. At Eastman, she studied with Luigi Silva, an internationally renowned cello performer and pedagogue, and authority on Boccherini. In 2004, Dorothy restored and produced a special CD of a 1943 Boccherini recital (all Silva editions) performed by Silva and his students, including Dorothy herself, who was 18 at the time.