For me, playing music is about sharing, sharing my love for music and sharing my love for what we are as human beings. The minute I start to play, I’m in a different world, and I’m so caught up in the music and in my desire to share it with the audience that all else fades away. The overwhelming feeling I get is a sense of connection with each person in the audience; I want the audience members to know how much I love what I am doing and how much I love them. And how do I do it? I do it by trying to communicate my love through beautiful music. – Zara Nelsova from an interview with cello.org
In my quest to learn more about this instrument and it’s history, I love stumbling on stories of cellists. Zara Nelsova came to my attention via tribute concert announcement lumped into one of my “cello” google alerts.
The Russian born cellist imigrated to Canada with her family as a child. She began playing cello at four, on a converted viola, taught by her musician father and quickly showed promise that was honed through dedication and lot (and lots) of practice. She was known for her emphasis on concentration:
Here’s an excerpt from an interview at cello.org.
My father rented two rooms in a house for the five of us. Because there weren’t enough rooms for each of us to practice separately, I often practiced in the same room with my violinist sister, she in one corner and I in another, for six hours a day with five minute breaks at the end of each hour. As you might guess, I learned how to shut out the sound of someone else playing, and I developed intense powers of concentration. I have learned since that you cannot do anything well without concentration. Concentration is the key.
She studied in London before returning to the US and was later a student of Pablo Casals. I’m totally infatuated with her vibrato. Check it out.