On Stage at Curtis

Graduation Recital by Cellist Nathan Vickery

A graduation recital by cellist Nathan Vickery. Nathan is a native of Indianapolis, Indiana, and studied at Curtis with Peter Wiley. Upon graduation, he joined the cello section of the New York Philharmonic. Incidentally, each piece on Nathan’s program exists in more than one form, as you will see below:

Bach: Suite No.4 in E-flat major, BWV 1010
Nathan Vickery, cello
Johann Sebastian Bach composed six of these suites for unaccompanied cello from 1717 to 1723, and no cellist can aspire to a virtuoso career without being tested by them. This Suite No.4 is considered to be one of the most technically demanding of them all. Bach’s cello suites are so firmly embedded in the literature that they have been transcribed for everything from violin, viola and double bass, to classical guitar, recorder, horn, tuba and ukulele, among others.

Stravinsky: Suite Italienne
Nathan Vickery, cello; Amy J. Yang, piano
The Suite Italienne has its genesis in the ballet “Pulcinella” that Stravinsky wrote in 1920 for Serge Diaghilev. The ballet’s themes from the Commedia dell’arte dovetailed nicely with Stravinsky’s new-found interest in neo-classical styles. In 1932/33, Stravinsky and cellist Gregor Piatigorsky collaborated on a cello suite based on the ballet. A version also exists for violin and piano, and an orchestral suite from the ballet is often played by symphony orchestras.

Schumann: Fantasiestucke, Op.73
Nathan Vickery, cello; Amy J. Yang, piano
Schumann created these three “Fantasy-Pieces” in 1849 for clarinet and piano, but directed that the clarinet part could also be played by violin or cello. The three pieces are entitled: Zart und mit Ausdruck (Tender and with expression); Lebhaft, leicht (Lively, light); and Rasch und mit Feuer (Quick and with fire).

Music Word of the Week: Violoncello
(this is the full classic name of tonight’s featured instrument)
The bass instrument of the violin family. It was known originally as the bass violin, its four strings being tuned in 5ths from B-flat upwards. The modern tuning based on C was adopted in Germany and Italy before 1600, but in France and England not much before the eighteenth century. (from The Oxford Companion to Music)

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