In his day job as a music critic, George Bernard Shaw once dismissed the cello as “a bee buzzing in a stone jug,” but more appreciative music-lovers know the instrument as the one that most closely approximates the range and expressiveness of the human voice. They’ll want to attend TCU Cellofest this weekend.
The event begins on Thursday evening with a splash, as Germán Gutiérrez conducts the TCU Symphony Orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s enormously charming Variations on a Rococo Theme, a cello concerto in all but name. That same night also sees the world premiere of the “Lord of the Air” Cello Concerto by the multifariously talented 34-year-old Peruvian composer Jimmy López.
This sets the tone for the programming at the festival, which includes music not only by established masters (Bach, Dvorák, Sibelius) but also by contemporary composers such as Tan Dun and Kaija Saariaho. Ordinary concertgoers may recognize Gregor Piatigorsky’s name among the composers, but they might not know that opera composer Richard Wagner and piano composer Frédéric Chopin both wrote for the instrument as well. Their music also will be featured here. Cellofest even includes a book signing by Mexican cellist Carlos Prieto, whose Adventures of a Cello traces the history of his own 1720 Stradivarius instrument, nicknamed the “Piatti.” It all should renew your appreciation for this sonorous instrument.
TCU Cellofest runs Thu-Sat at 2800 S University Dr, FW. Tickets are $10-40. Call 817-257-7602.