The Cello in the Non-Western World

This was the title of a talk I gave for the performance class at IU Southeast (where I currently teach) last Tuesday, 02 February 2011.  The short description given by Erich Stem, who had invited me to give the presentation, stated “present[ing] music for the cello and performance approaches with works representing different cultures” which was essentially what the lecture/performance was.

I really want to blog more about this issue when I get a chance and would have done so sooner but was sidetracked by some personal family issues and then the new blogging direction (if you’ve noticed the last few blog posts, you’ll know what I mean).

Some of the issues I discussed were very much related to things I mentioned in yesterday’s post regarding Charles Murray and the general lacunae found in orthodox conservatory music history training while the rest deal tangentially about another set of issues that I (and several others) have talked about in various contexts, but which is summarized in an interview I did some time ago.

While I do plan on making an online/text version of the talk that will be hosted at my personal website as part of a set of resources for those looking for such things, I will simply state for now that this is definitely a subject that I feel needs to be discussed not just by academics, but especially by young classical musicians who are starting their advanced training or who are starting to make their way in the this troubled field.

What I would also like to say is that there are already plenty of other musical contexts that could possibly be rewarding without having to turn to an attempt at become an ersatz pop-musician which, while it may be just as rewarding, the skill set(s) involved is in many ways so very different than what classically trained musicians are used to that it may actually be more difficult to pursue (e.g. I’m still not comfortable singing while playing the cello despite having been doing this for nearly 7 years).

In the end, though, it will probably be the cellist [musician] with the widest range of skills who will be able to find work in the future.  Also, it will be the cellist [musician] able to effectively market herself that will be able to find work–and having the ability to do both will just increase the likelihood!

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