Author: Emily Wright

Idyllwild Arts

On Friday, I drove up Mt. San Jacinto to the lovely mountain town of Idyllwild, where I went for pretty much all of the formative summers of my life to what was then called ISOMATA. (Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts) I visited with Steve Fraider, the head of the summer program, and Bill Lowman, president of Idyllwild Arts, and it was so good to see that a new generation of arts students is benefiting from the same people who took such good care of me when I was there. After lunch, I got to watch Rick Giangiulio conduct an orchestra rehearsal at old Bowman auditorium, where I was introduced to some of the major orchestral repertoire at an early age. Off the top of my head, I can remember playing: Bartok Concerto for Orchestra, Sibelius 2nd, Mahler 1, Mahler 2, Pictures at an Exhibition and Lt. Kije Suite. All before going to college. This, and programs like it, give students such a fabulous introduction to the realities of orchestral playing and interpersonal dynamics. I grew up in Riverside, and though I had a terrific teacher in Cathy Graff, the music scene for the serious student was pretty sparse. She insisted that I take part in the ISOMATA summer program, and I can safely say that it is because I did so that I am a professional musician...

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an army of cellists

I had a session today for a film whose composer had the genius concept to score the whole movie…..with cellos and basses. 28 cellos! It was nice to hear the sound, of course, but it was also a great hang with some of the top players in LA that I am lucky enough to know. My thumb aches from the false harmonics, but it’s a small price to pay for a whole day in Cello Geek...

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Podcast alert!

My podcast is available on my site and cellobloggers. The purpose of this podcast is to give an intermediate student some tools to add to their normal menu of scales and etudes that can bridge the gap to advanced playing and also prime you for what more difficult repertoire will expect technically. I never record more than 1 or 2 takes. The aim here is not to showcase my talents, but to demonstrate the...

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tennis, anyone?

Do anything enough times and you’re bound to flirt with injury. Do something like play the cello, and your back is sure to remind you now and again that you are actually responsible for taking care of your body, not just master Popper #17. So I’ve been doing crazy chops practice this summer, am midway through a move, and have had a whole lotta stress from just about every other sector of my life to boot. My back is a wreck, and it reached a crisis point Sunday night. I called a massage therapist who listed Sunday nights as an availibility, and though she was not able to come and work out the kinks, she passed on this amazing nugget to me: Lie on a tennis ball. That’s right. Set yourself up on the floor (I used my yoga mat so my head wouldn’t bonk) and then put the ball where it hurts. Gradually put your weight onto the ball, and eventually, relax, supine, on the floor. Though it didn’t solve 100% of my issue, it made substantive improvement in the tension and pain I had....

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I heart my students

Sigh. This recital marks some milestones for my studio and the wonderful students in it. For some, I am fairly certain, it will be the last time I see them, as the pressures of Real Life make the required hours of practice impossible. For others, it will be their first solo performance since a traumatic experience in their youth. Still others are battling injuries and confidence issues. Recitals are funny that way. If they don’t mean something big going in, they end up that way once they’re done. The departing students have little way of knowing that while this recital may be their cello swan song, my fondness for them and admiration for their work has no end. Bravi, in...

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