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Debut recording by cellist Michael Samis rediscovers a lost Romantic concerto.
166 backers pledged $11,887 to help bring this project to life.
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***  Post-launch note: Thanks to backers around the world, A Forgotten Cello Concerto has met its goal! However, all funds raised beyond it will greatly help me with this album's recording expenses. I set the goal conservatively because of Kickstarter's all-or-nothing funding model. I'd still love to have you be a part of this!  ***

Sometimes, great music is overlooked. The forgotten cello concerto of gifted and prolific composer Carl Reinecke is a lost gem that deserves a place in the repertoire. With no recording currently available, few people have ever heard it. I hope to change that by making it the centerpiece of my debut solo album, to be released on the Delos label by 2014.

Reinecke wrote music in the tradition of his early Romantic-era teachers, Mendelssohn and Schumann. I love to play music of this time because of its singing melodies, profound expression, and power to communicate emotionally. Mendelssohn was my first “favorite composer” as a kid – I played my mother's CD of his violin concerto over and over.

About a year ago, I discovered Reinecke's cello concerto, written in 1864. After playing the opening theme, I decided that I had to learn this piece. Its soaring melodies and brilliant virtuosity remind me of Mendelssohn's violin concerto.

Lyricism, drama, and technical fireworks
Lyricism, drama, and technical fireworks

Reinecke's music was overlooked because it was considered “out of fashion” at the time. Today I find it compelling and full of emotion, as it looks back to the work of composers like Schumann and Mendelssohn. This album is built around connections to the past, with works that look back to music and people for their inspiration.

Schumann's lyricism was clearly a part of Reinecke's musical voice. This disc will include the first-ever recording of Schumann's charming Adagio and Allegro in a setting for cello and orchestra by the great conductor, Ernest Ansermet.

Twentieth-century composer Ernest Bloch, during the final years of his life, looked back to the unaccompanied cello suites of J.S. Bach, after which he modeled three suites of his own. I will record the first of the three – I am moved by the power of its dark and somber language.

For music of a more personal nature I turn to two of my favorite living composers. Both Osvaldo Golijov's Mariel, for cello and marimba, and John Tavener's Threnos, for solo cello, were written following the death of their close friends, and reflect on their lives and memories. Eric Willie will join me on the Golijov.

I would love for you to be a part of my debut solo album. I am relying on my backers to help cover the considerable expenses associated with recording. Funds from this Kickstarter campaign will be used to hire the emerging Gateway Chamber Orchestra to collaborate with me on the Reinecke and Schumann, and for the engineering and production of the album. I hope that you will consider helping me revive Carl Reinecke's forgotten cello concerto. I look forward to sharing such passionate, stirring music with people across the world.

With heartfelt thanks,

Photo credits: Dean Dixon

Risks and challenges

Thank you for visiting my Kickstarter page, and I hope that you find this project as exciting as I do! Please share this with your friends and family, as I would love for as many people as possible to be a part of my album. Keep in mind that the all-or-nothing approach of Kickstarter means that funds will change hands only if I meet my goal.

Once this campaign is funded, I will have all the pieces in place to record this album. The production will be in the hands of Grammy-nominated producer, Wilson Ochoa. The engineers are Grammy-winning John Hill and Kevin Edlin. I look forward to working with this Nashville-based team of three friends whom I trust wholeheartedly. The recording sessions will take place June 16-19, 2013, in the ideal acoustics of the George and Sharon Mabry Concert Hall in Clarksville.

I faced the greatest challenges to my project leading up to my performance of Reinecke's Cello Concerto on February 11, 2013 with the Gateway Chamber Orchestra. The orchestral parts had to be reprinted in Germany, since the work had not been played in so long and our performance was likely the U.S. premiere. We did not receive the music until 10 days prior to performance. Our producer, Wilson Ochoa, (also the Nashville Symphony librarian), canceled his Superbowl party to prepare the parts for rehearsals!

There is an inherent challenge in learning music which one cannot listen to ahead of time. I worked for many months with only the score to shape my interpretation, and then with pianist Megan Gale playing a reduction of the orchestral parts. When it came time to rehearse for the premiere, conductor Gregory Wolynec and the Gateway Chamber Orchestra helped me bring this concerto back to life in an effort that was a true collaboration. Our performance was a great success met with critical acclaim and an enthusiastic standing ovation. I can't wait to record the work with this spirited ensemble at the sessions in June.

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    Digital Download: You'll receive a promo code for a free download of Reinecke's Cello Concerto (3 tracks) from my new album.

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    Signed CD + EP! Receive a signed pre-release copy of my new album, and my professional EP. My EP is about 30 minutes of music including works by Bach, Grieg, Ginastera, and one movement of the live February 2013 performance of the Reinecke concerto.

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    Receive a high-quality DVD of my February 2013 performance of Reinecke's Cello Concerto with the Gateway Chamber Orchestra, likely the U.S. premiere. This is a special offer available only to my backers! You'll also receive all of the rewards offered at the $50 level.

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    Sit in on the recording sessions at the George and Sharon Mabry Concert Hall in Clarksville, TN on June 17 and 18. I'll list you as a "Partner" in the CD booklet, and you'll receive a VIP invitation to the CD release party plus the rewards at the $100 level.

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    Enliven your next party or event with music. I will play at your home or other indoor venue that you provide. Up to 25 minutes of music; we'll mutually agree upon scheduling, repertoire, and other details. (Please add travel expenses if location is over 150 miles from Nashville, TN.) I'll list you as "Sponsor" in the CD booklet, plus you'll receive all of the rewards offered at the $500 level.

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    House Concert: You provide the space, I provide the music! A full-length recital for you and your guests. Up to 90 minutes of music; we'll mutually agree upon scheduling, repertoire, and other details. (Please add travel expenses if location is over 150 miles from Nashville, TN.) I'll list you as a "Signature Sponsor" in the CD booklet, plus you'll receive all of the rewards offered at the $500 level.

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Funding period

- (32 days)