Heads Up

EvolutionIn order to change the world, you have to get your head together first
-Jimi Hendrix

Here is a question for you…what is the foundation of good balanced movement at the cello? There are many answers and many ways of defining balance and coordinated movement. The CelloBello website offers some great advice here.

In this short blog, I propose to turn the question on its head, as we do in our work as Alexander Technique teachers.

“How can we prevent interference with our balance? ” And by defining what gets in the way of balancing ourselves with the cello, we can discover what to let go.

Years ago, in my student days, I gradually made the discovery that something in my bow arm wasn’t working. For years I tried to correct the problem directly and became obsessed with the arm, wrist, hand and fingers when all along the answer lay outside this
circumscribed territory. It’s like the Sufi story of the Mullah looking for the key by the Continue reading

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Viva, Joel Krosnick! Viva, Astrid Schween!

A true cello icon from my generation of string quartets is stepping down – after a remarkable 42 seasons in the Juilliard Quartet,  Joel Krosnick leaves at the end of next year (and continues as Chair of Juilliard’s Cello Dept.) Mega-Congratulations Joel, and welcome to a wonderful cello colleague and friend of mine, Astrid Schween, who will join the Juilliard Quartet in September of 2016! – Paul Katz

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CELLIST JOEL KROSNICK TO CELEBRATE HIS 42nd AND FINAL SEASONWITH THE JUILLIARD STRING QUARTET.
 Krosnick Will Continue to Teach and Remain Chair of Juilliard’s Cello Department. Cellist Astrid Schween to Join the JSQ September 2016

NEW YORK –– Juilliard President Joseph W. Polisi announced today that the 2015-16 season will mark cellist Joel Krosnick’s final season with the Juilliard String Quartet, the quartet’s 70th season. Mr. Krosnick has been a member of the Juilliard String Quartet since 1974 and is chair of Juilliard’s cello department. He will be entering his 42nd and final season with the quartet – whose other members are violinists Joseph Lin and Ronald Copes, and violist Roger Tapping – performing with them throughout the 2015-16 season and ending with concerts in Asia and the United States in June 2016.

Cellist Astrid Schween, an alumna of The Juilliard School, will join the Juilliard String Quartet beginning in September 2016. She will also become a member of Juilliard’s cello faculty beginning with the fall 2016 semester. Ms. Schween is an internationally recognized soloist and chamber artist, and is currently professor of cello at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Ms. Schween will perform Schubert’s C Major Quintet, D. 956 with the Juilliard String Quartet on its February 22, 2016 recital in Alice Tully Hall as they celebrate cellist Joel Krosnick’s last appearance at Alice Tully Hall as the JSQ cellist.

Reflecting on the start of his last season with the quartet, Joel Krosnick said: Continue reading

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János Starker Remembrance Week: Starker’s Two Grandchildren Remember Grandpa

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CelloBello apologizes that the last beautiful paragraph of Alexandra Preucil’s blog was originally omitted. Be sure to read the corrected version.

By Alexandra Preucil
Assistant Concertmaster
Cleveland Orchestra

For as long as I can remember, family gatherings have been synonymous with music making. Sometimes this took place in fancy concert halls, but more often than not, my family would simply come together in the music room. As a young child I would watch in awe and dream of the day that I could join them. Continue reading

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János Starker Remembrance Week: Presenting My Mentor with His Honorary Doctorate in 2006

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János Starker Receiving His Honorary Doctorate at the New England Conservatory

It is a privilege for me to be able to use my website,  CelloBello.com,  to honor my former teacher, colleague, and friend of many decades, the legendary Janos Starker, July 5, 1924 – April 28, 2013.

In May 2006 the New England Conservatory of Music presented Janos Starker with an Honorary Doctor of Music, and i was asked to introduce him. To speak publicly of him was an emotional and gratifying moment for me, and as we celebrate him in the year 2015, it feels appropriate for me to share my words of nine years ago.  Continue reading

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János Starker Remembrance Week: The Test

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After a long journey a young man arrived deep in a forest where the teacher of his choice was living in a small house he had built himself. When the student arrived, the teacher was sweeping up autumn’s falling leaves. Greeting his new master, the young man received no greeting in return. And to all his questions, there were no replies. Realizing there was nothing he could do to get the teacher’s attention, the student went to another part of the same forest and built himself a house. Years later, when he was sweeping up autumn’s fallen leaves, he became enlightened. He thought to drop everything, run through the forest, and say “Thank you!” to the teacher. Instead he stayed sweeping, calm & smiling.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   –John Cage from “Silence”

There are so many aspects of János Starker’s teaching philosophy that I am only now beginning to grasp. For example, he had the brilliant talent to be able to size people up. And by measuring your strengths and your weaknesses he was able to understand what each cellist needed. I call them tests and each test was completely different and form fit for the individual. Continue reading

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János Starker Remembrance Week: A Tribute To János Starker

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By Maria Kliegel

A moment of tense, expectant silence – to me it seemed to be an eternity. A couple of silent smoky clouds floating in the teaching room.  Janos Starker looked at me in his typical manner, a gaze so full of intensity that I could feel it under my skin, followed by a shattering comment, uttered with a cool slowness and a stony, unchangeable look on his face:  “if you ever play as inaccurately as you just did, I will deny ever having been your teacher.“ And again, an eternal moment of silence, this time I sat horrified in my chair, not being able to breathe or move. Silent smoky clouds.

One of my lessons in Bloomington ended this way – the Haydn D major concerto.

Continue reading

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János Starker Remembrance Week: Reminiscences from the Starker Studio

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Cello-playing aside, Starker’s intelligence, force of personality, and personal discipline were intimidating to most people, and downright frightening to students.  Our culture generally allows our geniuses and high achievers to be self-indulgent and immature outside of their field of endeavor, but Starker lived out his ideals and principles at all times (that we could see).  This discipline made him virtually bullet-proof as a cellist.

During my two years in Bloomington, I carried a relatively light course load, as I wanted to observe as many lessons as possible.  I was in MA 155 many mornings when he came in, looking tired and/or hungover, needing coffee, and not wanting to hear anything too loud.  The student would play for awhile, and Starker would listen as long as he could before had to stop him/her, get out his cello, and teach. Continue reading

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CelloBello János Starker Remembrance Week: Janos Starker, Who Is, Was, and Always Will Be My Master

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Starker with pianist Gyorgy Sebok – life-long friend and musical partner of Starker.

By Michael Haber

Many years ago, I was on a family trip to Israel. In a hotel in Beersheva, I was surprised to find Mr. Starker standing in the lobby together with the conductor of the Israel Sinfonietta. I greeted Mr. Starker………”Janos Starker, who is, was, and always will be my master.”

What has remained with me since my final lesson with Mr. Starker in August 1966 is his personal brilliance as a man and his deep patience and kindness. His way of being kind, which often meant an uncompromising honesty, was perhaps not for everyone. But what is more kind, in a teacher/student relationship, than taking a student seriously enough to share with them what you truly think, in the hope that these insights will help them move forward in their work? Continue reading

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CelloBello János Starker Remembrance Week: Life as a Student of János Starker

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János Starker “S” Bridge

János Starker’s incomparable achievements as a performer and recording artist are well-documented. However, when I first appeared at his door as a new graduate student, my awareness of him mostly stemmed from hearing others speak about him, and from only one of his recordings: that of Zoltan Kodaly’s Sonata, Op. 8. I had developed a mental image of Mr. Starker as an austere, intimidating presence.

Paul Katz, with whom I had been studying at Eastman, enjoyed a longstanding friendship with Mr. Starker, and in those years Paul would often send a graduating senior to Bloomington for further education. Continue reading

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CelloBello János Starker Remembrance Week April 22-28

CelloBello Remembers János Starker

Please join us for a full week of events and video releases,
to remember and honor this great figure of the cello world.
Preview of upcoming events:

New Videos of Never-Before Seen Interviews

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Newly released interview videos of János Starker in conversation with Paul Katz in 2010. 

April 22: Growing as a Performer
April 23Releasing Tension
April 24Rhythmic Freedom
April 25Vibrato
April 26His Performance Anxiety
April 27His Difficult, Early Years

Please visit our János Starker CelloLegacy section 
on CelloBello.com each day to view the newest video.

Daily Blogs 
A new blog each day at CelloBlog by former Starker students and family including
Robert BatteyPaul KatzMaria KliegelAlexandra Preucil (Starker’s granddaughter),
Brant Taylor and Jeffrey Zeigler.

CelloChats
Your chance to ask questions about Starker’s cello teachings and hear personal anecdotes and stories of the master! 3 special CelloChats with former students of Starker

Reminiscing: What I Learned From János Starker
all chats at 8:30 pm EDT at www.cellobello.com/chat

  April 22Brant Taylor, Chicago Symphony
            April 26Jeffrey Zeigler, formerly of Kronos Quartet, now at Mannes School of Music
            April 28Paul Katz, formerly of Cleveland Quartet, now at New England Conservatory  Continue reading

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