In the fall of 2017, Chas Helge will premier Gene Knific's new Cello Concerto for Solo Cello and String Chamber Orchestra (2vn1, 2vn2, 2va, 2vc, 1db) at the University of Oklahoma for his last degree recital for the Doctor of Musical Arts. It is a classically informed, jazz-influenced, multi-movement work composed in the same strain as the standard cello concerto repertoire.
This project is funded in three parts: $500 of Chas's own funds, $25 dollars from each consortium member, and through the gifts of generous individuals. We have already reached our $1,500 commission fee and are hoping to raise funds to pay for our premier. Check out our Indiegogo page to contribute!
This interdisciplinary, multi-institutional, community-driven project explores new models for commissioning, performing, and disseminating new music. We have 10 academic institutions, 25 cellists, and an engaged audience invested in our cause. By becoming a member of our project, you help to build a wider network of performers and audiences. One composer's piece will be given to 25 cellists, one premier becomes multiple live performances, and one project connects hundreds of people worldwide!
This model of consortium and crowdsourcing a cello concerto for string chamber orchestra accomplishes three objectives:
First, it reduces overhead costs by using chamber string orchestra. More cellists can put together an ensemble of this size with ease. This also makes the group more flexible and nimble. We can bring a concerto like this to non-traditional venues more easily than a full orchestra and with more impact than a soloist or quartet.
Secondly, it greatly amplifies the impact of the new work. Rather than having an isolated event (the premier), one performance replicates into many performances. Additionally, teachers can give it and teach it to their students. Thus, we are also building a larger network of stakeholders, performers, and audience members than could be connected by one cellist.
Thirdly, if we can prove that this can be done with a concerto, then why not genres of our repertoire? We want to turn the most logistically challenging, technically difficult, and artistically ambitious genre of our repertoire into a powerful and flexible tool for as many cellists as possible to use. We hope that other artists will apply and build up our model to commission their own works.
Chas and Gene collaborated on Gene's Piano Quintet (2014) and his Three Pieces for Piano and Cello (2015).
For a sample of Chas' work:
Cellicatessen Cello Quartet: Oblivion by Astor Piazzolla
For samples of Gene Knific's past work:
The Merling Trio: "Moon River"
About Gene Knific
Gene Knific is a pianist, composer, and producer based in Chicago, IL. Knific has performed worldwide presenting an extensive and diverse repertoire with a wide array of artists. Recent highlights include performances with saxophone legend Joe Lovano in 2014, Macarthur Genius Grant recipient Miguel Zenón in 2015, and three performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. with the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program. His talents have brought him on tours to Russia at The St. Petersburg Conservatory and Jazz Philharmonic, the Copenhagen Opera House and Montmartre Jazzhus in Denmark, the Xiquitsi International Music Festival in Mozambique, and The Schlern International Music Festival in Italy.
Knific’s own band, The Gene Knific Trio, is an adventurous group dedicated to original works and unique explorations of classical and modern genres. The GKT has performed at the Elkhart Jazz Festival twice in 2014 and 2015, the Fontana Chamber Arts Summer Series in Kalamzoo Michigan, and the Amelia Island Jazz Festival in Florida, along with countless other venues in the Midwest and South Florida areas.
Gene is the recipient of 8 Down Beat Music Awards for his performances and compositions in jazz and contemporary categories, Two ASCAP Young Jazz Composers awards, and the University of Miami’s Patricia Frost Top Graduate award in 2014. Knific also has been awarded numerous grants, including funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for his documentary “Mitten” premiering in Spring 2016.
Knific graduated with highest honors from the University of Miami Frost School of Music with degrees in jazz performance and composition, where he studied with Shelly Berg, Martin Bejerano, Lansing McLoskey, and Terence Blanchard.
Founder, The Knific Cello Concerto Project
D.M.A. Cello Performance (Currently Studying), University of Oklahoma
Cello and Violin Instructor, The Norman School for Strings
Dr. Rob Bradshaw
Principal Cellist, The Fort Smith Symphony
Adjunct Faculty, The University of Oklahoma
Instructor of Cello, Interlochen Arts Academy
Faculty, Javeriana University and the Filarmonica Joven de Colombia, Colombia
Instructor of Cello & Chamber Music, St. Olaf College
Founder & Director, The International Cello Institute
Graduate Assistant, OU Symphony Orchestra
DMA Cello Performance Student, University of Oklahoma
Cellist, Composer, Arranger, Conductor
Associate Professor of Cello, Indiana University
Term Instructor, Cello & Music Education, University of Fairbanks Alaska
Principal Cellist, Fairbanks Symphony
Cello Professor and Chairman of the Department of Instrumental Music, University of Miami
Cellist, Bergonzi String Quartet
Cello Instructor, Music Mission San Francisco
Master of Chamber Music Student, San Francisco Conservatory
Dr. Melissa Kraut
Co-head and Professor of Cello, The Cleveland Institute
Founder and Education Director, Sitka International Cello Seminar
Dr. Thomas Loewenheim
Professor of Cello & Director of Symphony Orchestra and Strings, California State University
Music Director and Conductor, Youth Orchestras of Fresno
Dr. John Marshall
Professor of Cello & Chamber Music, Eastern Washington University
Principal Cellist, Spokane Symphony Orchestra
Graduate Assistant, University of Tennessee
Counselor, International Cello Institute
Director of Strings, Norfolk Collegiate
Bassist, The Original All Star Big Band
Cellist/Cofounder of the Spektral Quartet
Artist in Residence, University of Chicago
Dr. Jonathan Ruck
Professor of Cello, University of Oklahoma
Principal Cellist, Oklahoma City Philharmonic
Paula Santa Cruz
Graduate Assistant, Crouse Quartet
DMA Cello Performance Student, University of Oklahoma
Bashdar Ahmad Sdiq
Representative of The National Youth Orchestra of IraqFormer teacher, Sulaymaniyah Fine Arts Institute Music Department
Cellist, Carolina Philharmonic
Cello Instructor, Moore Music Company
Cellist, PROJECT Trio
Cellist, IRIS Orchestra
Founding Member Gnarwhallaby & Trio TerroirCellist, wild Up Modern Music Collective
Emily Gosma Stoops
Celllist, Oklahoma City Philharmonic
Instructor, Norman School for Strings
Cellist, Composer, Arranger
Co-founder of the two-time Grammy®-winning Turtle Island Quartet
Composer and Electro-Acoustic Artist Cellist, Reno Philharmonic
Professor of Cello and USO Conductor, Western Michigan University
Cellist, The Merling Trio
Adriana Fernández Vizcaíno
Interim Principal, Cuenca-Ecuador's Symphony OrchestraM.M. Western Michigan University