About this project
Dear music lovers, friends, and family,
Celli@Berkeley (commonly known as Celli) is on a mission to expand the cello ensemble repertoire, and we need your help to record our first album!
Celli@Berkeley was created in 2012 after a cellist (now graduated and working at Carnegie Hall) assembled the cello section of the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra - often with bribes in the form of free pastries - to rehearse Villalobos' Bachianas Brasileiras off-hours. The cellists quickly realized that the only thing better than one cello was many, many cellos.
Composed of twelve undergraduate and graduate students studying a variety of academic disciplines (including statistics, music, environmental science, history, chemistry, biology, and public health), Celli is united by a desire to express the possibilities of the cello. We love performing and sharing music ranging from classical to pop, not only in concert halls but also outdoors - by the Campanile, in art galleries and cafes, at marathons or flea markets, and on the streets of Berkeley!
The Debut CD Album:
This past season, Celli has had the honor of performing pieces by high-caliber composers such as Michael Nicholas (Stagioni, inter alia, 2012), Anica Galindo (These Feathered Walls, 2011), and Daniel Leo (Sharp Skills, 2010), and we are excited to record and share them.
Our next step is to embark on a collaboration with Boston-based composer Jared Redmond and soprano Felicia Chen, both fellow alums of UC Berkeley. Redmond’s Deep Song – written for Chen and Celli - will be featured on our debut album.
Your contribution to the project will go towards the commission of this new work composed for Celli@Berkeley, as well as fund the production, rehearsal, recording, and post-production costs of the CD. As soon as we reach our Kickstarter goal, we will begin recording, editing, and designing our album for our projected release date in July - August 2014. We'll also be working with local Grammy-winning producer Barry Phillips for the recording process, so our desire for quality work will always take precedence.
Featuring Jared Redmond, composer:
Jared Redmond leads an active double life as a composer and pianist. His compositions - restrained, considered, and lyric - are informed by his experience as a prizewinning pianist and by an intimate love of repertoires from the Renaissance through the modernist avant-garde. Redmond studied during his undergraduate years at UC Berkeley and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Brandeis University. He is a private student of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steven Stucky, and his name has appeared on programs in Italy, Scandinavia, and galleries, concert halls, and academic institutions throughout the United States.
Deep Song - A piece for 12 cellos and soprano
Some thoughts from Jared about his piece:
"It is a large work which uses three poems by Federico Garcia Lorca, with instrumental interludes. The whole thing is going to be in one large movement (or you could think of it as separate songs and interludes performed attacca.) The three poems by Lorca are "Venus", "Night of Sleepless Love", and "Lucia Martinez". All three are in Spanish and are surreal, erotic, and rather terrifying, [exploring] a kind of dark dreamscape between love and violence, adoration and fear, possession and absolute impotence. The texts are really arresting...made all the more sensual and gripping by the use of a high female voice to sing this text."
Felicia Chen, soprano:
Felicia Chen is the 2013-2014 recipient of the Alfred Hertz Memorial Traveling Scholarship, which supports her studies of 20th and 21st century vocal repertoire with renowned soprano Lucy Shelton in New York City. Also a Cal alumna, Chen has performed with the likes of Esa-Pekka Salonen, Jane Glover, Joana Carneiro, Davitt Moroney, and Marika Kuzma. She has sung leading and supporting roles with the Stanford Savoyards, Verismo Opera, Golden Gate Opera, Bay Area Classical Harmonies, the Dickens Fair, and Martinez Opera. In addition, Chen has held summer residencies at the Baroque Opera Workshop at Queens College, Académie Internationale d'Eté de Nice, Seattle Academy of Opera’s Accademia d’Amore, SongFest, Bay Area Summer Opera Theatre Institute, and San Francisco Early Music Society’s Baroque Workshop.
As a young and ambitious ensemble, we hope to contribute to the cello repertoire and continue to develop our own unique sound. This CD will enable us to share our music and pave the way for future Celli@Berkeley recordings and performances around the world.
Berkeley, CA is a beautiful, quirky city full of extremes. With an abundance of the organic, of the locally-grown, and of fair-trade, Berkeley is also a hub for new art and new music.
We invite you to join us in challenging and exploring the versatility of the cello. As a group, we are extremely passionate about this project, but we need your help to make it possible. Anything you can contribute is much appreciated. If you'd like to get directly involved with Celli@Berkeley (we need graphic designers for our logo and album design, composers for future music arrangements, and kind people to bake us cookies during recording sessions), shoot us an email at:
In the meantime, we'd love if you could help spread the word about Celli@Berkeley and our debut album on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and any other social media sites you can think of. One of the most powerful tools available is word-of-mouth, and we can only talk so much!
Thank you for all that you do - have a bowtiful day!
Risks and challenges
As an ensemble dedicated to creating works of the highest caliber, our biggest risk is prioritizing quality music over timely CD production. However, we are resourceful college students who are accustomed to meeting deadlines, so the CD will without a doubt be released on schedule.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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