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2018
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music
Yellow Springs becomes Cello Springs this week and next, with the debut of a cello festival that runs from Jan. 4–14 and includes several public performances. Pictured from left, festival organizers Lisa Liske-Doorandish, Chiara Enderle and Miriam Liske-Doorandish improvised together at the Foundry Theater before the Friends Music Camp benefit concert last Friday. (Photo by Audrey Hackett)

Yellow Springs becomes Cello Springs this week and next, with the debut of a cello festival that runs from Jan. 4–14 and includes several public performances. Pictured from left, festival organizers Lisa Liske-Doorandish, Chiara Enderle and Miriam Liske-Doorandish improvised together at the Foundry Theater before the Friends Music Camp benefit concert last Friday. (Photo by Audrey Hackett)

Music and friends at Cello Springs

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For two weeks beginning Jan. 4, Yellow Springs will become Cello Springs — home to a cello festival that strings together music, friendship, family and love.

Festival Events

Opening Concert
Saturday, Jan. 7, 7:30 p.m.
Antioch Foundry Theater

Music of the Past Century
Sunday, Jan. 8, 3 p.m.
Yellow Springs Senior Center

Cello Techniques Forum and Play-In
Monday, Jan. 9, 5 p.m.
Friends Meeting House, Rockford Chapel; all with cellos are invited to attend and play.

Environmental Art Evening
Wednesday, Jan. 11, 7:30 p.m.
Glen Helen Institute

Bach Suites Evening
Thursday, Jan. 12, 5 p.m., with
a potluck intermission
Herndon Gallery South Hall

Cello Springs Jam Session
Friday, Jan. 13, 2 p.m.
Emporium Wines & Underdog Cafe

Concluding Concert
Saturday, Jan. 14, 7:30 p.m.
Antioch Foundry Theater

All of the above events are free and open to the public. Donations are accepted.

The festival’s organizers are cellists Lisa Liske-Doorandish, Miriam Liske-Doorandish and Chiara Enderle. They’ve been coming to Yellow Springs for years, to visit family and friends and take part in the Friends Music Camp benefit concert, an annual holiday event. Lisa Liske-Doorandish, a freelance cellist, ensemble member and renowned cello teacher from Virginia, has been teaching at Friends Music Camp, or FMC, for many years. Her daughter, cellist Miriam Liske-Doorandish, was an FMC camper from an early age. That’s where she met fellow FMC camper Chiara Enderle, a Zurich-based cellist with deep family roots in Yellow Springs. (Enderle is the daughter of Wendy Champney, who grew up in the village, and the granddaughter of FMC co-founder Peg Champney, who has lived here for many years.)

“Miriam and I would wander wild all summer, going off into the woods. And we’d play cello occasionally,” Enderle recalled, with a laugh.

The two women are now in their early twenties, and are highly accomplished cellists. Enderle appears regularly as a soloist with orchestras around the world, while Miriam Liske-Doorandish is a junior at the Oberlin Conservatory who also performs internationally. When they get together, they play music; Miriam even plays in a family quartet with Enderle and her parents. 

Yet time, distance and diverse music projects make sustained musical collaboration harder to arrange. So this year, for the first two weeks of January, all three women are extending their annual stay in Yellow Springs to launch Cello Springs — part musical retreat, part community celebration and outreach. 

“We looked all over the world for a place that rhymed with ‘cello,’” joked Lisa Liske-Doorandish. 

Rhyme aside, there’s a deeper reason: all three love Yellow Springs, and honor it as the source of many musical friendships and collaborations that span states, countries, even generations.

“Yellow Springs gave us this. The festival is so tied to Yellow Springs as a place,” Enderle said.

The festival will include five free public concerts, the first scheduled to take place this Saturday, Jan. 7, 7:30 p.m., at the Foundry Theater. The program includes unaccompanied works by Britten and Holliger, as well as chamber works by Arensky and Clarke with violin and viola guest artists Matthias Enderle and Wendy Champney and cello ensemble music by Villa Lobos and Corrette. Other concerts will be held at other venues in Yellow Springs, and will offer distinct musical programs. Additional community events include a “technique forum and play-in” at the Friends Meeting House on Monday, Jan. 9, at 5 p.m. for all cello players in the community, and a jam session featuring festival cellists at the Emporium on Friday, Jan. 13, at 2 p.m.

See the sidebar, and the festival website at cellospringsfestival.weebly.com, for all event details. More events may be added as the festival unfolds.

Together, the public programs aim to suggest the breadth of what’s possible on the cello, the most versatile of string instruments, according to Lisa Liske-Doorandish. The cello has nearly a five octave range and is often described as being closest of any instrument to the human voice. It has gained in popularity in this country and abroad, and is incorporated in every musical genre imaginable, from rock to punk gypsy music to heavy metal, as well as its traditional home in the repertoire of classical music.

“Cello is sweeping the world,” Lisa Liske-Doorandish said.

And cello players are known to be a particularly outgoing, gregarious bunch, according to her daughter, who said she looks forward to the festival as “celebratory cello time” with friends old and new.

Enderle offered up this playful summation of musical temperaments: “Violinists have competitions, violists have conferences, cellists have celebrations.”

In keeping with that spirit, the organizers have invited three other musicians to join them for the festival: cellist Joshua Dent of Nashville, who plays with a range of musical groups; multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and composer Malina Rauschenfels, whose new composition, “Peace for Standing Rock,” will be debuted during the festival; and David Skrill, currently studying at the Oberlin Conservatory. A “cello apprentice,” 13-year-old David Smith, who studies with Lisa Liske-Doorandish, will also take part.

And the festival organizers are making many more contacts with cellists in and around Yellow Springs. “Cellists of all stripes,” from kids to senior citizens, are invited to contact the organizers through the festival website and take part in some way, said Lisa Liske-Doorandish. The “technique forum and play-in” on Jan. 9 will be one opportunity for involvement. And the concluding concert, on Saturday, Jan. 14, aims to feature as many cellists as possible.

“There will be an ever-changing number of satellite players joining us for a day to a couple of days or more,” Miriam Liske-Doorandish explained. 

But core festival participants will not just be performing at public events; practice sessions, workshops on topics of collective interest and other structured and unstructured opportunities to learn and collaborate will round out the “retreat” aspect of the festival.

To make it all work, the organizers are relying on the hospitality of several local residents for rehearsal space, places to stay, fellowship and meals. “As itinerant persons with large instruments we are being nurtured by people who appreciate music — and hopefully we, too, have something to give,” Lisa Liske-Doorandish said.

If the festival succeeds, as an artistic project and community collaboration, the organizers said they’d like to make it an annual occurrence. This year, they are relying on donations and their own funding; in future years, they may seek grants or other forms of sponsorship. But they wish to keep this year’s events free to the public (though donations are always welcome) to draw as many people as possible into the magic of the cello — and the magic of cellists’ enthusiasm for collaboration and celebration.

“We love the feeling that FMC has created. Cello Springs feels like another iteration of that — a musical environment where interpersonal connections are at the heart,” Miriam Liske-Doorandish said.

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Music and friends at Cello Springs

by Audrey Hackett