MSFO cellos to perform ‘Bachianas Brasileiras,’ solos in recital today

Kreable Young | Staff Photographer
Music School Festival Orchestra cellists rehearse in Fletcher Hall Sunday for their recital, which is at 10 a.m. today in McKnight Hall. Each of the 10 students will perform a solo of their choice, as well as Heitor Villa-Lobos’ “Bachianas Brasileiras” as a group.

Arie Lipsky likes to share an urban legend about the cello: One day, famous Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos found himself lost in the leafy green trenches of the Amazon surrounded by cannibals.

Armed with nothing but his cello, Villa-Lobos commanded his bow to stroke the strings of his saving grace. The cannibals, believing they had heard the voice of God, ran away in fear.

At 10 a.m. today in McKnight Hall, the 10 cellists of the Music School Festival Orchestra hope to play a sound as heavenly as Villa-Lobos’ in their cello recital.

Each student will perform a solo of their choice, larger works together and Villa-Lobos’ “Bachianas Brasileiras.” As a homage to Bach, chamber music chair Lipsky said that “Bachianas Brasileiras” is a crowd favorite — an 18-year tradition to play in the recital.

After six weeks of intensive practice and study, Cleveland Institute of Music student Yuta Takano said that today’s recital will showcase the culmination of weeks of team building.

“How often are you going to get to hear 10 cellists and a singer play a piece?” Yuta said. “It’s not seen very often, and we’ve all worked together in orchestra for the last six weeks. We are a group of people who have really learned to play together.”

Second-year University of Michigan student Thomas Barth said that today’s recital is rare.

“I personally think that the cello is the most beautiful instrument,” Barth said. “People often say that the cello is the closest instrument to the human voice, and so hearing a recital that’s going to be a chorus of cellists and also played with a vocalist is going to be a unique experience to listen to that people do not hear all that often.”

With less than two weeks left at the Institution, Barth said that he is enjoying all that he had learned and is ready to end the season on a high note.

“It’s been an incredible experience for growth,” Barth said. “Coming this far in just six weeks and seeing the orchestra grow has been great. We’re learning so much about orchestral playing, solo playing and playing in chamber groups. From playing in a lot of performances in many unique settings with different musicians and different genres, it has been a great experience for my growth and I’m looking forward to finishing out the last two weeks strong.”

Proceeds from today’s event will benefit the Chautauqua Women’s Club Scholarship Fund.