The Creative Cello Workshop with Eugene Friesen and special guest Jacob Szekely June 21-24, 2018 Bellows Falls, Vermont
It’s a new day for the cello! It seems like everybody wants a cello onstage with them. From singer/songwriters, Brazilian combos, bluegrass bands, and every breed of rock group, people are inventing new uses for the cello that bring this special instrument into contemporary settings.
Come join a community of cellists exploring new ways of collaborating and using our instruments. Innovative rhythmic techniques, accompanying singers and other soloists, creating cello parts in a “band” setting, practicing for being a lead voice in an ensemble – these are issues demanding creative solutions for the contemporary cellist.
Among the many questions addressed at the workshop: How do I practice to cultivate originality? How do I expand my comfort with chords? How can I create melodies through thorny chord progressions? How can I add more rhythmic tension and variation in my improvising and composing? How can I create rich accompaniments by covering the bass notes and harmony while keeping a groove? How can I make cello parts that don’t get overwhelmed by drums and bass?
As well as some hardware questions: Should I have an electric instrument? What type of pickup helps me to cut through a rhythm section while retaining my great cello sound? What electronics do I need to make the cello a compelling arena-sized voice?
In the Creative Cello Workshop you'll meet creative and collaborative players, share stylistic tips, jam with other cellists, explore new repertoire for cello ensemble, perform new pieces, and have the opportunity to improvise and play solos in a group.
Eugene Friesen has worked with hundreds of innovative cellists in jazz, rock, and folk settings. Eugene’s classes at the Berklee College of Music - and three decades of workshops throughout the United States and at international cello festivals - have influenced a generation of players who are changing the face of the cello for audiences worldwide.
Eugene will also be teaching his personal techniques including “Afro-Pizz,” a double-handed pizzicato technique featured in original pieces like “Shadowplay” and “Street Corner;” his signature multi-glissando featured in “Dances of Rasputin;” polyrhythmic col legno, etc.
Special guest, Jacob Szekely, is one of the world's first and foremost modern jazz cellists. A fluent improviser, collaborative musician, and gifted teacher, Jacob will bring a contemporary perspective on life as a sideman, studio musician, and jazz soloist.
Across all disciplines, collaboration is the new norm of creativity. To gain practice in collaborative work, we encourage participants to bring original music and sketches to the Workshop. We will play each other’s music and through the process of “workshopping,” we will discuss alternatives, work together, try new ideas and prepare pieces for public performance.
"Eugene's workshop was the best pure music-making I have experienced in many years. His openness, depth of knowledge, and mastery of the cello led everyone to unlock doors to personal expression that will stay open for a long time. This weekend was a gift." -- Crispin Campbell, Cellist / Educator, Interlochen Arts Academy, Michigan
"Oh, I see how this works. Yesterday you couldn't get me to play a solo, and today you can't get me to stop!" -- Janet Haarvig, Cellist and Composer, Montana
Four-time Grammy winner Eugene Friesen is active internationally as a cellist, composer, conductor and teacher. He has worked and recorded with such diverse artists as Dave Brubeck, Toots Thielemans, Betty Buckley, Will Ackerman, Joe Lovano and Dream Theater, and has been featured in concerts all over the world with the Paul Winter Consort, with Trio Globo (Friesen, Howard Levy and Glen Velez), and in his popular CelloMan performances for children and families. A pioneer in the teaching of improvisation to classically trained musicians, Eugene has led workshops throughout North America and around the world. His book, Improvisation for Classically Trained Musicians (Berklee Press) was published in 2012. Eugene’s newest CD, "The Essential Collection," dynamic tracks from four self produced albums, ships in January, 2018. He is an artist-in-residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, and on the faculty of the Berklee College of Music in Boston. More information on Eugene can be found at: www.eugenefriesenmusic.com
Jacob Szekely Born in Brooklyn New York in 1979, Jacob grew up in a musical family where his talent was recognized early on. Jacob discovered Jazz when he was accepted to study classical cello performance at the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy, and thereafter began leading a musical double life with traditional classical performance and developing a completely new language on his instrument. By the time Jacob arrived in Los Angeles for his masters degree at USC, he had already launched headlong into his professional career.
In addition to his busy schedule as a Los Angeles studio musician, Jacob performs regularly as a sideman with numerous bands and singe/songwriters in LA including the acoustic rock band Uncle Daddy. Szekely is also active as a composer and arranger and has collaborated with a wide range of artists and ensembles from string quartets and world music groups to commissions for chamber orchestra and children’s choir.
In 2007, Jacob cofounded String Project Los Angeles, a music school and resource for the alternative string playing community throughout the world located in Venice, California. With its innovative curriculum and workshops featuring a veritable who’s who of the alternative string world, String Project LA was named “One of the top reasons to study music in Los Angeles” by Strings Magazine. In addition to String Project Los Angeles, Jacob has also conducted residencies and master classes at UCLA, Cal Arts, The Berklee College of Music, Oklahoma State University, Ithaca College and The American String Teachers Association’s national conference and many others.
In 2012, Jacob launched "The Improvisor’s Guide to the Cello", the first comprehensive video learning series designed to address the unique challenges classically trained cellists face when approaching creative string playing.
Jacob is a Steinberger and Danish Professional Audio artist, a Yamaha Clinician, and performs on his five string Steinberger Electric Cello as well as several 4 and 5 string acoustic cellos.
SCHEDULE OF CLASSES & EVENTS Thursday, June 21 5-7PM - Registration/Orientation/Dinner 7:30PM – Introduction: Rigor/Surrender, Four Simple Rules of Free Improvisation, Elements of Music
Friday, June 22 9:00-10AM – Keys, Diatonics 10:15AM - 12:15PM – Soloing1:Modal Improvisation/”Scales of Convenience”/Pentatonics 12:15PM – Lunch 1:15–2:45PM – The Cell-accompanist: Be the Bass, Guitar and Drums/Ostinatos/Hocketing 3 –5PM – Cello Ensemble: Lead Sheets, Collaboration, Roles 5PM – Jamming/rehearsing 6PM - Dinner 7:30PM – Concert:Eugene with Special Guests To Be Announced!
Saturday, June 23 9:00-10:45AM – Amping:EFX Pedals/Looping/Pickups 11-12PM - Odd Meters/Polyrhythm 12PM – Lunch 1:15-2:45PM – Soloing2: iReal b - The Essential Practice Companion 3:00–3:45PM – Blues 4:30–6PM – Cello Ensemble: More Collaborative Work 6PM – Dinner/rehearsals/jams 7:30PM – Free Open Concert: Solos, duets, trios and quartets.
Sunday, June 24 9:30-11AM - Transposing/Transcribing/Closing Circle & Conversation
The Stone Church & Immanuel Retreat Center
The Creative Cello Workshop will include classes, discussions, meals, jamming, and public performances by Eugene and participants. Classes, meals and performances will take place in the historic Immanuel Episcopal Church (Stone Church) in the heart of Bellows Falls, Vermont. The church sanctuary is a magnificent space with warm acoustics and 9-foot Steinway grand piano. The former parsonage has been updated as The Immanuel Retreat Center, and has accommodations for a limited number of participants at very reasonable prices.
Click blue button below for more information on the Stone Church and the Immanuel Retreat Center:
(From the Boston Globe) "Overlooking the Connecticut River on the Vermont-New Hampshire border, Bellows Falls feels like a step back in time. Once one of the largest paper making centers in the world, the town is replete with grand homes built by titans of the pulp, paint, canal, and railroad companies that operated there more than a century ago. Most of its diminutive downtown - a cluster of red brick buildings, including a multistory clock tower above Town Hall - is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Water has been the most valuable amenity in Bellows Falls, first making the area a prized Native American fishing spot (ancient Abenaki petroglyphs are carved in rocks by the riverbed), and later spurring the construction of mills, a bridge, and a canal system that turned the town into a hub of transportation and manufacturing. But Bellows Falls had a familiar post-industrial trajectory: By the mid-1900s most local industry had collapsed and the town fell on hard times. In more recent years, economic redevelopment and historic preservation efforts have injected new life into the community. Many of those gorgeous old homes have been restored, and a smattering of art galleries, modest restaurants, cute shops, and cozy inns makes Bellows Falls a quaint destination. "
Bellows Falls is served by Amtrak. The nearest airport is Bradley International in Hartford, Connecticut (please contact us regarding transportation to/from the airport and Bellows Falls).
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