Cello Nova

April 20, 2008

Cellist Eugene Friesen visited Falmouth this week, bringing his contemporary improvisational music to the kids at East Falmouth Elementary School, to a workshop for 25 of Nikki Garcia-Renart’s cello students, ages 5 to 60-ish, in the Woods Hole Community Center, and, later, to a very appreciative audience at the Fishmongers in Woods Hole.

I was happy to be one of those cello students (I started cello lessons well into adulthood), and Eugene is one of my favorite cellists. The annual workshops with him are always fun and challenging. He introduces us to a different aspect of nontraditional cello playing each time. This year it was a lesson in rhythms. We learned a short series of notes by ear (always a challenge for me), and then played it as a round, and then with a rhythmic accompaniment that Eugene taught by building on a combination of notes.

Later, Eugene performed Brazilian jazz at the Fishmongers Coffee House with guitarist Freddie Bryant and pianist Tim Ray (as a group, they are known as Cello Nova). All of them are outstanding musicians, but, of course, I am partial to the cello and in awe of the way Eugene manages to get such an incredible assortment of sounds, moods, and emotions out of the instrument, showing there are no limits to what types of music can be played on the cello. Very inspiring!

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