Thursday, February 9, 2012

Experiences at the Cello Madness Congress NYC Pt.1

2 nights of the last 2 weeks were really special for me. Cello Joe hosted an event known as the Cello Madness Congress in NYC. First in Brooklyn, then in Manhattan.

Basically, the way I describe it to people is: "take all the cellists who do really weird stuff in New York & put them all in a room together for 4 hours" ... and that's basically what it was ... but so much more.


The Brooklyn event was held in a loft apartment with a nice open space. I think about 13 cellists showed up & maybe 20-30 people or so to watch us. There were snacks & beer & it was an awesome night. I was the first cellist there (besides Joe) & one by one, people wandered in, we introduced ourselves to each other, chatted it up with the audience, figured out how to arrange the room, etc.

Eventually, we got started & began with a group twist on the C scale. Each person started at a different part of the scale (Root, 3rd or 5th) .. it made for a very cool sound. After that, we did a bit of group improv & the rest of the night, alternated group improvisation games with solo sets. The solo sets were really amazing & eye opening in a lot of ways. It was great to see such a high level of playing, as well as such a variety of different kinds of original music. Here's a glimpse of who did what:

CelloJoe (Joey Chang) - beatboxing cellist

Valerie Kuehne - cross-polinating sundry genres

Cosmo D (Greg He
ffernan) - electro cello techno loop genius

Michael Lunapeina - the wandering cellist - rock/metal

Elizabeth Glushko - electronics and looping.

Nick Jozwiak - fascinating composer, throat sings while he plays

Jacob Cohen - melodic improv inspired by hip hop

Meaghan Burke - songstress

There was also a guest appearance by Quetzacoatl via the form of a Giant Puppet & courtesy of

I sadly didn't get any video, but here are some pictures (Taken by Sean Hagerty)...

Stay tuned for part 2!