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Creative Cello Workshop

  • Thursday, July 13, 2017
  • 5:00 PM
  • Sunday, July 16, 2017
  • 2:00 PM
  • Immanuel Retreat Center

with Eugene Friesen
and special guests
Joel A. Martin, piano
Myles Bullen, poet & rapper

It’s a new day for the cello! It seems like everybody wants a cello onstage with them. From singer/songwriters, Brazilian combos, bluegrass bands, and every breed of rock group, people are inventing new uses for the cello that bring this special instrument into contemporary settings.

Come join a community of cellists exploring new ways of collaborating and using our instruments. Innovative rhythmic techniques, accompanying singers and other soloists, creating cello parts in a “band” setting, practicing for being a lead voice in an ensemble – these are issues demanding creative solutions for the contemporary cellist.

Among the many questions addressed at the workshop: How do I practice to cultivate originality? How do I expand my comfort with chords? How can I create melodies through thorny chord progressions? How can I add more rhythmic tension and variation in my improvising and composing? How can I create rich accompaniments by covering the bass notes and harmony while keeping a groove? How can I make cello parts that don’t get overwhelmed by drums and bass?

As well as some hardware questions: Should I have an electric instrument? What type of pickup helps me to cut through a rhythm section while retaining my great cello sound? What electronics do I need to make the cello a compelling arena-sized voice?

In the Creative Cello Workshop you'll meet creative and collaborative players, share stylistic tips, jam with other cellists, explore new repertoire for cello ensemble, perform new pieces, and have the opportunity to improvise and play solos in a group.

Eugene Friesen has worked with hundreds of innovative cellists in jazz, rock, and folk settings. Eugene’s classes at the Berklee College of Music  - and three decades of workshops throughout the United States and at international cello festivals - have influenced a generation of players who are changing the face of the cello for audiences worldwide.

Eugene will also be teaching his personal techniques including “Afro-Pizz,” a double-handed pizzicato technique featured in original pieces like “Shadowplay” and “Street Corner;” his signature multi-glissando featured in “Dances of Rasputin;” polyrhythmic col legno, etc.

Across all disciplines, collaboration is the new norm of creativity. To gain practice in collaborative work, we encourage participants to bring original music and sketches to the Workshop. We will play each other’s music and through the process of “workshopping,” we will discuss alternatives, work together, try new ideas and prepare pieces for public performance.

 "Eugene's workshop was the best pure music-making I have experienced in many years.  His openness, depth of knowledge, and mastery of the cello led everyone to unlock doors to personal expression that will stay open for a long time.  This weekend was a gift." 
--  Crispin Campbell, Cellist / Educator, Interlochen Arts Academy, Michigan

"Oh, I see how this works.  Yesterday you couldn't get me to play a solo, and today you can't get me to stop!"
--  Janet Haarvig, Cellist and Composer, Montana


Four-time Grammy winner Eugene Friesen is active internationally as a cellist, composer, conductor and teacher. He has worked and recorded with such diverse artists as Dave Brubeck, Toots Thielemans, Betty Buckley, Will Ackerman, Joe Lovano and Dream Theater, and has been featured in concerts all over the world with the Paul Winter Consort, with Trio Globo (Friesen, Howard Levy and Glen Velez), and in his popular CelloMan performances for children and families. A pioneer in the teaching of improvisation to classically trained musicians, Eugene has led workshops throughout North America and around the world. His book, Improvisation for Classically Trained Musicians(Berklee Press) was published in 2012. Eugene’s newest CDs are: Colorful Transitions, a collection of jazz, Brazilian and originals with Lyle Lovett’s pianist Tim Ray; Trio Globo’s Steering By the Stars; and Love Songs of the Americas, a collection of songs in Spanish, Portuguese and English featuring Mexican vocalist Mili Bermejo and the Berklee World Strings. He is an artist-in-residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, and on the faculty of the Berklee College of Music in Boston. More information on Eugene can be found at: www.eugenefriesenmusic.com


Joel A. Martin is an award-winning concert and jazz pianist who has performed his innovative Jazzical compositions as well as jazz and classical pieces both domestically and in Paris, London, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Russia and Kyrgyzstan. Joel has performed as soloist with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, Delaware Symphony, Springfield Symphony and Hartford Symphony Orchestras premiering Jazzical: Dueling Orchestras. He has been featured on BET (Black Entertainment Television) in "BET on Jazz," NBC-TV and performed his original Jazzical compositions at the Savannah Music Festival, Guggenheim Museum, Lincoln Center, Snug Harbor, Kennedy Center, and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. In addition to his prodigious productions and concert schedule, Joel is also touring with famed soprano Kathleen Battle in international concert appearances.


“Spoken Word Performer. Teaching Artist. Play Expert. Myles Bullen is a radical poetic rapper who touches on self empowerment, social issues, uplifting oppression, and creating community. He performs in Schools, Living Rooms, Juvenile Prisons, Rehabilitation Centers and Conscious Music Festivals around the U.S.”
The well-traveled, hip-hop poet is also a creative writing educator teaching poetry to teens in juvenile detention centers, public and private schools, and other art related programs. Myles has explored most of the United States as well as parts of Europe touring his music, writing and teaching poetry.

“It took Myles less than 20 minutes to build rapport with the students on the first day, and by the end of that session, they were all writing. See, Myles can freestyle – really, really well. And when he started freestyling about the students, all of the tension in the room melted away, and suddenly everyone was around him giving high-fives and asking him questions. But Myles isn’t just someone who builds rapport; he also gets great work from students, and takes himself seriously as a professional. 
-Nick Schuller, Program Director of The Telling Room

Contact Us:     Phone: 802-460-0110     Email: sca@sover.net     Snail Mail: 12 Church St., Bellows Falls, VT 05101

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