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Long, Long Ago . . . Or Maybe Just Last Year
TODAY IS
January 25
Can You Guess?
A Yesterday we talked about violas, today we talk about cellos.  Violin strings are tuned G, D, A, E.  Violas are tuned C, G, D, A. Can You Guess what notes a cello's strings are tuned to?

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January 25, 1957 marked the premiere of William Walton's Cello Concerto.  The Boston Symphony was conducted by Charles Munch.Gregor Piatigorsky was the soloist.

Gregor Piatigorsky was born on April 17, 1903 in Ekaterinoslav, Ukraine. He began studying the cello at age 7, and shortly thereafter supported his entire family by playing in cafés and silent movie houses.
Gregor Piatigorsky
1903-1976 
 
See Gregor Piatigorsky's Recordings
Did You Guess?
Tricky Question!  A cello's strings are tuned to C, G, D and A, but one octave lower than the viola's.

Listen to the violin, viola and the cello by clicking on their names and compare their sounds!
Two years later, Piatigorsky went to the Moscow, to study at the Conservatory of Music. By age 15 he was principal cellist of the Bolshoi Opera Orchestra and a member of the famed Beethoven String Quartet, later renamed Lenin String Quartet.

In 1921, Gregor became unhappy with his country's government.  He left Russia and escaped into Poland. Gregor was a great storyteller, and there are many stories of his escape, some even saying that he swam the Zbruch River holding his cello above his head while people on both sides shot at him.  It is said that Gregor had a wonderful imagination.

He became principal cellist of the Warsaw Symphony, then went to Leipzig to join the class of famed cellist and teacher, Julius Klengel. Finishing his studies in Leipzig, Piatigorsky moved to Berlin, where he premiered Arnold Schönberg's Pierrot Lunaire with pianist Artur Schnabel, violist/violinist Boris Kroyt, conductor Fritz Stiedry and flautist Paul Bose. It was so well accepted that Gregor recieved an audition with conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler of the Berlin Philharmonic. He was made principal cellist, but continued performing  as soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. He played with violinist Carl Flesch and Artur Schnabel in the first of three famous trios with which he was to be associated. Later he toured with violinist Nathan Milstein and pianist Vladimir Horowitz and finally, in the latter part of his career, with Jascha Heifetz and Artur Rubenstein.

After several years in Berlin, Gregor began a solo career. He traveled the world with his cello, playing for listeners from large cities to tiny villages.

When Gregor decided to play the cello in 1910 it was not considered a solo instrument.  Audiences couldn't imagine listening to the cello for an entire evening! He developed technique and expanded the repertoire of the cello (by commissioning new works and transcribing works for other instruments) making it as audience-friendly as the violin.

In the first half of the twentieth century, musicians did not fly from one major city to another. They often traveled by train, playing in every town along the route. Piatigorsky said that the "bread and butter" of his career was the "Tuesday Morning Music Club," that is, the local community events that made great live classical music a regular event for large portions of the population. Of course, Gregor also performed with the worlds' greatest orchestras in the finest concert halls.

While on tour in the United States in 1939, Piatigorsky acquired a property in Elizabethtown, NY. When war broke out in Europe, Piatigorsky, his wife and daughter, left France for New York.  When he was appointed to the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music, they moved to Philadelphia. In 1949, he moved to Los Angeles to teach at at UCLA and joined violinist Jascha Heifetz on the faculty of the University of Southern California in 1962.

After a remarkable career, Gregor Piatigorsky died at his home on August 6, 1976 of lung cancer.
1459 - Birth of Austrian composer Paul Hofhaymer in Radstadt

1817 - Premiere of Rossini's opera La Cenerentola, 'Cinderella', in Rome.

1829 - Death of English composer, violinist and violist William Shield in Brighting, Sussex. Believed to have wrote the tune to Auld Lang Syne.

1886 - Birth of German conductor and composer Wilhelm Furtwangler in Berlin.

1909 - Premiere of Richard Strauss' opera Elektra at the Hofoper in Dresden.

1921 - Alfred Reed, US composer and conductor, was born.

1945 - Metropolitan
Opera debut of American tenor
Richard Tucker in Ponchielli's La Gioconda. Track 11 on the Sample is from La Gioconda.

1945 - Russell Peck, US composer, was born.  Wrote Don't Tread on Me or on My String Quartet.

1946 - Premiere of Richard Strauss's Metamorphosen.

1969 - And When I Die, by Blood, Sweat and Tears, was released.
Piatigorsky Plays Walton
Piatigorsky Plays the
Walton Cello Concerto
Piatigorsky and Heifetz
Heifetz and Piatigorsky
Great Duo to Play Brahms
Cello Sheet Music at Sheet Music Plus
Meisel Cello Stand
Safety for your Cello and Convenience are the reasons to buy a Cello Stand.  This is a Very Good Stand at a Reasonable Price.
I Love Cello Merchandise