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10 Summer 2019 Cello Concerts You Won't Want to Miss

Thanks to streaming technology, listening to music or watching concert videos has never been easier. We imagine your summer plans include spending quality time in a comfy spot with earbuds or headphones firmly in place, soaking up your favorite recordings.

As a string player with a deep appreciation of music composed for cello, your playlist probably includes Yo-Yo Ma and other celebrated artists. Have you ever seen him, or any of the world’s best cellists, perform live? It can be inspiring and life-changing. Whether you’re a regular concert-goer, or overdue for a live show, festivals and recitals abound this summer from the Northeast to the Northwest and stops in between.

One of the best parts is, there’s no need to spend a second of your precious downtime searching for concert dates. We compiled this handy list of 10 compelling opportunities to see the music you love, and the instrument you hold dear, played in-person by some of the best:

1. Daniel Müller-Schott

Consistently referred to as one of the best and most dynamic cellists of his generation, Daniel Müller-Schott will be burning up the stage July 1, 2019, and again July 3 and July 5 at the Seattle Chamber Music Society Summer Festival. On night one, Müller-Schott, along with Andrew Wan (violin), Matthew Lipman (viola), and Piers Lane (piano), present Brahms’ Quartet for Piano and Strings in A major, Op. 26. The second night, it’s Joaquín Turina’s Quartet for Piano and Strings in A minor, Op. 67, as Lane and violinist Kristóf Barát and violist David Harding join Müller-Schott. In the third performance, Müller-Schott, Baráti, Harding, Lipman and violinist Alexander Kerr will play the Dvořák Quintet for Strings in E-flat major, Op. 97.

2. Meehae Ryo

Love is in the air at New York’s Carnegie Hall July 11, 2019, when The Love Letters, a mono-opera by Vitaly Hubarenko, premiers. Cellist Meehae Ryo and pianist Inkyoung Lee accompany soprano Yulia Petrachuk. They tell the story of a woman, separated from her lover, who faithfully sends him love letters for 20 years. They will also perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.12 and Haydn’s Cello Concerto in D Major.

3. Jerome Wright

If it’s true that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, that might help explain the resolve that sustained cellist Jerome Wright, who survived child abuse and the mean streets of Baltimore to make a name for himself as a visual artist as well as a musician. Wright and pianist Glenn Sales will perform Beethoven’s Complete Sonatas for Cello and Piano July 19, 2019 at New York City’s famed Carnegie Hall.

4. Alisa Weilerstein (Mountain States)

Fresh off the release of a collaborative recording, Transfigured Night, MacArthur Fellowship winner Alisa Weilerstein returns to the Grand Teton Music Festival July 19-20, 2019, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to perform Schumann’s Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129. Weilerstein, who has appeared with all the foremost U.S. orchestras, was once invited by then First Lady Michelle Obama to help with a music workshop for young people at the White House.

5. Gautier Capuçon

Chicago may be known as the home of electric blues, but it has plenty to offer those who appreciate classical music, too. Come to the Windy City, host of the Ravinia Festival, July 22, 2019, to catch an appearance by Gautier Capuçon. Known as much for his ambassadorial efforts on behalf of classical music as he is a world-class cellist, Capuçon and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet perform Dimitri Shostakovich’s Sonata for Cello and Piano in D minor.

6. Gary Hoffman

If you made it to Ravinia for Capuçon, it’s worth your while to stay for cellist Gary Hoffman on July 24, 2019.  A prodigy who made his debut in London at age 15, Hoffman went on to become, at 22, the youngest faculty appointee ever at the Indiana University School of Music. A regular guest with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York, Hoffman and pianist Jon Kimura Parker will perform Brahms and Rachmaninoff cello sonatas.

7. Sebastian Dörfler

Dörfler, one of the principal cellists of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in Norway, presents A Meditation Over the Dance of Life at Carnegie Hall August 3, 2019. Dörfler, who also performed as a soloist under conductors Dmitri Kitayenko, Simone Young, and Andras Ligeti, will introduce Bach’s Cello Suites, played in the context of the composer’s personal life.

8. Yo-Yo Ma

Start winding down your summer cello concert tour in the scenic Berkshire mountains of western Massachusetts, where on August 11, 2019, Yo-Yo Ma returns to Tanglewood to perform The Bach Project – all six of Bach’s Suites for unaccompanied cello. Ma’s other Tanglewood appearances that week are August 6 with pianist Emanuel Ax and violinist Leonidas Kavakos for an all-Beethoven show with selected trios for cello, violin and piano, and on August 18, when Ma joins the Boston Symphony Orchestra to perform Schumann’s Cello Concerto.

9. Alisa Weilerstein (West Coast)

If you couldn’t catch Alisa Weilerstein in Wyoming, you’re in luck. She has several other tour dates later in the summer, including three dates (August 2, 3 and 6, 2019) at the La Jolla Music Society SummerFest in La Jolla, California.

10. Amit Peled

Already in New England for the Tanglewood concerts or otherwise? End the season with a recital featuring virtuoso Amit Peled, August 29, 2019, in Bethlehem, New Hampshire, for the Bethlehem Hebrew Congregation’s Sounds in the Sanctuary Friday Concert Series. Peled and pianist Noreen Cassidy-Polera will perform selections from Bach (Suite #4 for Cello Solo), Cassado (Sonata for old Spanish style), and Strauss (Sonata in F Major).

Have we whet your appetite for live performances? If the concerts or festivals that interest you most are not in your neck of the woods, perhaps you want to consider planning part of your summer around them. There’s nothing like a good road trip to recharge the soul, especially if you can fit some sight-seeing in along the way.  And, think of the stories you’ll have to tell when you get home! Enjoy!

Above photo of Daniel Mueller Schott ©Ahrens, courtesy of www.daniel-mueller-schott.com

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