The idea that emerged fully as, came about as I looked for a way to extend and vary my teaching career. I wanted to get myself, and my students beyond the usual routines. Making a point of focus on practice, performing  & ensemble playing away from my music room was the answer. It’s one thing to talk about these things in a lesson: it’s another to be in a structured class with others. We take more onboard so we grow and can then evolve faster.

I wanted students to have the thrill of playing stunning music with others, as soon as they could. I knew that some of my more experienced cellists felt intimidated by the thought of joining an orchestra, or, having done some orchestral playing, felt they wanted a new experience. Others didn’t have the confidence to play in a string quartet. The answer was to create an ensemble for cellists. The solution to playing great music was in the choral music of the Renaissance and Baroque masters where everyone would find a line to play that matched their current standard. Nobody was held up by over-difficult music and, those who were experienced, could soar high up and challenge themselves. It is a win-win for players and teachers.

I then founded a cello quartet called String Theory Cello Ensemble as I felt that the growing repertoire was a wonderful concert idea. We created a Meditation as a performance device.  It seemed wrong that this spiritual music had us bobbing up and down and an audience clapping every few minutes. The pieces are too short.

There were two Meditations: one long, one short and we performed continuously so it was more of an event than a concert. We played in a cabaret bar while people sipped wine at candlelit tables and it was stage lit for us by a theatre lighting friend. In churches people could lie down or just zone out from the world.

This is inspiring music written by extraordinary people who have become so important to me and many, many cellists. Many students had never heard of them before joining us, and they too are now geeks.