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Here is a photo collage by Bob Scoverski. I appreciate one of the titles he gave this piece, which was "Celloist", because a lot of people do indeed call one who plays a cello a "celloist" (though fyi, I am a Cellist, which is now the official title of this piece:) 

The Elephant and The Swan


It started in a rehearsal with Different Drummer Band, talking about what our spirit animal would be.... the Elephant and the Swan being two pieces from Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saens, representing the bass and the cello. The thing is, I do feel like the Swan--or rather, the Ugly Duckling-turned-Swan. Like many kids, I felt like quite the "other" growing up. My brown skin was not reflected around me, in school or in media. And, that brown skin of mine was covered with spots. (Seriously. I had a rare condition that gave me spots all over my body from age 10--the year I started playing cello--into adulthood.) I pretty much poured all my energy into practicing cello, a part of my life where I felt accepted and celebrated. And somewhere along the way, I blossomed.... 

And then there's the Elephant. I don't think of the bass in this case. The Elephant in the room for me is the issues of our days. I find it challenging to send out messages asking you folks to tune into my musical life, when there are huge issues with humans and this planet. I try to stay away from too many words, because I would rather communicate through music, beyond words.... and for you to get what you need from listening to what I can offer. 

I am going to try to continue to have my music offer a peaceful sanctuary for the mind and the heart. I am going to continue to be open to each person who opens themselves to me and my cello. I am going to wear my emotions on my sleeve and send it out through my strings as a bridge across sound. 

Thank you for contining to Listen. 

Love Gretchen

Beginning Strings


I knew I didn't want to play violin, because that was what most people wanted to do and I did not want to be like everyone else (perhaps because I was already "Other", or maybe because I'm a Leo?)  So, when the teacher asked if we wanted to play cello, this other girl and I said ok. I didn't quite know what a cello was at that point. My dad would take us to Seattle Symphony concerts sometimes, but I just didn't know the names of everything. Well, we got our instruments, and I took my cello home (what a wonderful thing to have a public school program with instruments for us to have at school and at home), and I would pluck the open strings of my cello and listen to the resonance.

Title story--Waves


....last summer we had the pleasure of recording a collection of dances for piano and orchestra with the amazing Joel Fan. Joel soloed with Sinfonietta in the fall, and I enjoyed my unique vantage point from the stage (looking head-on through the piano to Joel). I think it was during Liszt's Mephisto Waltz that I became mesmerized by the sound of the piano... Joel is a freaking monster (I mean that in the very best way)... I felt like sound waves were washing over me, soul-cleansing, energizing, reminding me of why I love music and play music. 

Cello Virtuosity/Gourmet Cuisine


 I love wearing different musical "hats", part of which is my role as section cellist of Northwest Sinfonietta orchestra. We just had the joy of playing Samuel Jones' cello concerto with Julian Schwarz, who is indeed a virtuoso. The piece was written for him, and he first premiered it in 2010 at the age of 19. Julian has been a guest soloist in our orchestra over the years, and it has been amazing to watch him evolve. It is always fun to be onstage with amazing soloists, but it is extra exciting to have a cellist onstage in the spotlight. He plays with great power and intensity, yet he also has this wonderful ease. What a musical signature he makes! 

I often think about comparisons between food and music, and how we feed our bodies and souls.

Live Music at Sea-Tac Airport!


If you happen to be traveling through Sea-Tac airport, check this link for the schedule--you may see me! This is though a program called Experience The City Of Music, sponsored by the Port of Seattle and the vendors at Seatac. It is such a fun place to play, with so many folks from all over traveling through.... Look for musicians throughout the airport!

P.S.--A Duo with my Dad


P.S. I remember is a "virtual" duo with my Dad, Leslie. He enjoys playing jazz piano, and was interested in recording a duo when I was working on my first cd project. Well, he was interested in recording until we actually got into the studio! Will Dowd, my wonderful recording engineer at Spikehaus, had a digital keyboard, which is of course much different than playing on a grand piano. I think my Dad felt agonized by the experience, which certainly can be stressful. Being in the studio is like looking at your reflection under a microscope--a humbling feeling. The piece we recorded, written by my Dad, had a very different feel than the rest of the material I had recorded, so ultimately it did not feel right to include it on Bow and Cello. Also, I had tried to play along with the melody line in unison with the keyboard, and it didn't seem to be the best way to use the cello voice. So, the recording lay dormant in the digital ether.....

Mom's Flowers


 My mom loves to take photos, and she has fun with flowers in photoshop. This is the image upon which my Waves Wash Over Us disc floats inside its case. I love the vibrance of these flowers! My mom helped me learn how to express myself, through her own example and through her encouragement. She sat through every single one of my performances from age 10 into my adult years! Happy Mother's Day. 

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