To play cello is to be able to express every emotion possible and use every range from very low to very high and play any style with all sorts of musicians. My goals for students include guiding cellists, violists da gamba, and pianists towards independent musical thinking, creative problem solving, and development of profound, meaningful, connected, expressive, committed execution of music, either written by a composer, or created by the performer.
I studied cello with Orlando Cole and his assistant Metta Watts from the age of 10 until graduation from the Curtis Institute of Music in 1980. Mr. Cole was so celebrated that when he died in 2010 at the age of 101, although he had lived his entire life in Philadelphia, he was given a memorial concert in Oakland for which I was invited to perform along with fifteen of his former cello students.
With Mr. Cole, I began to learn how to play with physical ease, to move my left arm in a single line, and to hold my bow so that I would not create tension. In my professional life, I have studied this to a great extent, and have thought about how to play efficiently. I have never been sidelined by tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome. I communicate what I have learned to my students so that they are able to play effortlessly. Although I am small in stature, I discovered how to play with a large sound and to have easy facility throughout the entire instrument.
In lessons, I assign three or four basic things: a scale, finger exercises, etudes, and one or more pieces from the repertoire. Technique, in the true sense of the word, means the ability to hear a piece of music in your head and translate that aural image into a physical reality. The ability to play scales, exercises, and etudes is a preparation for technique. I learned this principle from two teachers who were not cellists, but a violinist and a singer/pianist.
When a student sings a phrase, it’s often the case that they sing in a natural, musically satisfying way. If you can sing something even if it is silently in your head, you can play it easily.
My extensive 30+ year performing career has taken me all over the world. I have played as a member of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and as assistant principal cellist of the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. I have toured with the Israel Chamber Orchestra, I Solisti Veneti, La Nuova Orchestra Italiana, La Filarmonica de Valencia, Musica Angelica, Lux Musica, Taverner Players and Consort, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and the City of Birmingham Touring Opera Company among many others. I have played under nearly every famous conductor and with many first class soloists. I have also performed numerous concertos as a soloist with orchestra.
Currently I freelance with many orchestras in the San Francisco Bay Area and am a founding member Persephone Chamber Ensemble a piano quartet with mezzo soprano, and am the founder and director of Harmonia Felice, a period instrument group dedicated to performing the great works of the eighteenth and seventeenth century with the addition of dancers of many different technical styles. In addition, I teach cello, piano, viola da gamba privately and teach chamber music through the Adult Program at the Crowden School of Music. Also, I give workshops for the Viola da Gamba society of Northern California and judge several competitions during the year.During this time of Covid19, I am teaching online through Zoom and FaceTime.ce