Wall-to-Wall Cellists

Five and a half hours of music for cello in one evening! When you gather around the greatest cellists of our times, this is a highly entertaining affair. Jan Vogler, himself a cellist and the director of the Dresden Music Festival, invited his colleagues to a festival-within-festival for the second time since 2018.
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More than 40 cellists such as Mischa Maisky, Kian Soltani, Pablo Ferrández, Sol Gabetta, Nicolas Altstaedt, David Geringas and Harriet Krijgh performed in Dresden, a Who is Who of the international cello scene. The most impressive event was the “Long Night of the Cello” on 26th May bringing almost 20 cellists together on stage. In addition to classics such as Julius Klengel’s Hymnus for 12 Cellos Op. 57 — also performed a few days earlier by the 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic — the evening also featured rarely-heard works. One example was Canticum marianum for 12 Cellos by Udo Zimmermann, which had its world premiere 35 years earlier at the Dresden Music Festival, or Ellen Reid’s Somewhere There Is Something Else, written for Johannes Moser’s electric cello — lending the evening a further fascinating sonic colour.

In general, the stylistic diversity of Dresden’s “cellofest” is quite unique: while a classical audience listened to a duo concert by the siblings Sheku & Isata Kanneh-Mason performing works by Britten, Shostakovich, Bridge and Khachaturian at the Hygiene Museum, fans of rock rhythms celebrated an open-air concert of the cello metal band Apocalyptica 100 metres down the street — in the rain. “I don’t see any advantage in setting genre boundaries,” says Jan Vogler. “In Dresden we have a large audience for classical music; I feel a need to bring music to the rest of Dresden as well.”

Flashmob in Dresden with Misha Maisky, David Geringas, Edgar Moreau, Zlatomir Fung, Harriet Krijgh and Jan Vogler.

The collaboration of different generations of cellists at the Dresden Music Festival is also worth mentioning. Very young talents found a podium at Cellomania through master courses given by Ivan Monighetti, David Geringas and Miklós Perényi. In Pablo Ferrández, Anastasia Kobekina, Zlatomir Fung and Santiago Cañón-Valencia, the (presumably last) winners of the Tchaikovsky Cello Competition performed at Cellomania. The youngest cellist to take the stage at the “Long Night” was Friederike Herold, who is only 16 and still a student at Dresden’s Special Music School.

Website: Dresden Music Festival

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