TCU Cellofest opens Thursday


    The third TCU Cellofest opens Thursday, but for the first time students will be able to compete for cash prizes and the opportunity to perform with a professional orchestra during this three-day celebration of cello, Jesus Castro-Balbi, artistic director of TCU Cellofest and associate professor of cello, said.

    Every two years, the School of Music will open its doors to cello students from other institutions and distinguished cellists from around the world, Castro-Balbi said.

    The goal of the three-day Cellofest is to encourage the open exchange of ideas between students and professional performers with 33 cellos, nine master-classes and four recitals.

    “This is a world-class event that’s happening at a university that is not that large, and I think it’s in line with what TCU is doing in other areas,” Castro-Balbi said. “We’re not the largest, but hopefully we are among the top as far as quality.”

    Eighteen contestants from TCU and other institutions were preselected by Castro-Balbi to compete in the Haydn Concerto Competition, which is open to future and current college students. He said one student from both the college and pre-college category would be rewarded with $250 and the chance to perform with the TCU Chamber Ensemble Saturday.

    Participants must master the first movement from the Haydn Cello Concerto in C Major or D Major, a piece all professional cellists are required to learn, Castro-Balbi said. The piece is integral to the study of the cello for both soloists and orchestras, and it is for this reason that the Haydn competition was created, he said.

    “If they want to play in an orchestra, they have to learn this piece because it is required at every audition. It’s the standard against which everyone is being judged,” Castro-Balbi said. “Whether you want to be a soloist and you enter performance competitions, like international competitions, or whether you want to get a job at any orchestra, you have to play one of those two pieces.”

    Bo Zhang, a senior cello performance major, said he is one of the six TCU students who will compete in the Haydn Concerto Competition, and saw this as an opportunity to improve his live performance abilities.

    “When I play a competition, it’s always to compete with myself, not with others,” Zhang said. “Because sometimes you’re a better player than others, but you cannot play perfectly this time. Maybe next time you’re better.”

    For Zhang, it’s not all about winning. He said a competition was different for him than a concert or audition because he cannot afford to make mistakes or he will lose points.

    “I don’t mind if I win or not because it’s just a different experience,” Zhang said. “If I win, it’s because I’m lucky.”

    Castro-Balbi said that other contestants come from the Boston Conservatory, the University of Southern California, China and Canada, among other places.

    According to the TCU Cellofest website, the Haydn Concerto Competition will be judged by three TCU faculty: Associate Professor of Music, Director of Orchestral Studies and Director of the Center for Latin American Music Studies German Gutierrez, Associate Professor of Viola and Chamber Music and Strings Division Chair Misha Galaganov and Assistant Professor of Double Bass Yuan-Xiong Lu.

    The Cellofest begins today with the first performance at 7 p.m. in the Ed Landreth Auditorium. There will be additional performances at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Friday in the PepsiCo Recital Hall. The Haydn Concerto Competition winners will perform with the TCU Chamber Ensemble 7 p.m. Saturday in Ed Landreth Auditorium.

    Cellofest Performances:

    TCU Symphony Orchestra, TCU Cello Ensemble, TCU Wind Symphony

    When: 7 p.m. Thursday

    Where: Ed Landreth Auditorium

    Admission is $20 general, $15 seniors or $10 students; free with TCU ID

    Showcase Recital

    When: 3 p.m. Friday

    Where: PepsiCo Recital Hall

    Admission is free

    Concert: Cello Spectacular

    When: 7 p.m. Friday

    Where: PepsiCo Recital Hall

    Admission is $20 general, $15 seniors or $10 students; free with TCU ID

    Haydn Concerto Competition winners, TCU Chamber Ensemble, TCU Cellofest Cello Choir, and more

    When: 7 p.m. Saturday

    Where: Ed Landreth Auditorium

    Admission is $20 general, $15 seniors or $10 students; free with TCU ID

    $40 event registration gives access to all concerts and master-classes.

    All ticket sales/ registrations in the Walsh Building (PepsiCo Recital Hall).

    For more information call 817-257-6617 or visit