From Addi L.
Posted February 9, 2004 at 07:44 PM
And just a general question on the cello, how does one travel on air with it? I've been thinking lately that people with intense touring/concertizing schedules like Yo-Yo Ma wouldn't be very happy when his x million dollars Stradivirius is in the cargo, somehow I have a feeling sticking ten fragile stickes on the case won't be enough. Does he buy a seat for his cello? And what about people who play the double bass?
Those who can't afford the extra ticket have to put it in cargo and get ulcers during the flight. There are several different case systems to help protect the instrument, but none are flawless. My son, the cellist, takes the train when he can and worries when he flies, but so far the instrument has not been damaged.
His amazing technique is only a part of what makes him so special. There is also his great intellectual curiosity which keeps him looking for new ways to play the standard repertoire and also drives him to study the musics of other cultures.
He's also done much to expand his instrument's repertoire by the large number of composers with whom he's collaborated and contemporary pieces he's premiered.
Then there's his great generosity of spirit and his "approachabilty" which makes him a wonderful ambassador for classical music.
Earlier this season, he came to play Dvorak with the Oklahoma City Phil.
It was an exhilarating experience. How many times has he performed this piece in his career? Hundreds--but we were all struck by his incredible enthusiasm and by how fresh and passionate his playing was. He was also very much playing with us (the orchestra) rather than simply doing his thing and expecting us to follow. His body language and eye contact were all about his playing a duo with the orchestra.
Cello and bass students were invited to attend the dress rehearsal and he stayed long after it had finished to talk with them, sign autographs, and pose for pictures. He also passed his cello around for the students to play on!
With regards to intellectual curiosity and promoting contemporary music, Gidon Kremer comes to mind as someone of comparable stature, but he doesn't have the same kind of "warm and fuzzy" appeal. Sometimes his playing is brilliant and sometimes it's a bit too bizarre or mannered.
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