You can find a full list of PVD Cello Fest concerts at

JAMES BAUMGARTNER: We try to be unbiased in our coverage of the arts, but there’s one thing that you and I really love, and that is the cello. I played classical cello from when I was 10 into my early 30s.

[underscore: Bartok cello duet]

CHUCK HINMAN: And I always loved hearing the cello played in rock music so I started taking lessons just a few years ago with a group in Bristol.

JAMES: It is one of the most beautiful instruments with its rich tone and expressive ability. It works well in a symphony orchestra or a pop music love song. 

CHUCK: You can hear the full range of cello performance this week and next week at PVD Cello Fest: a multi-genre collection of concerts featuring the stringed instrument. Zan Berry is a local cellist and one of the festival organizers.

ZAN BERRY: It’s a festival that revolves around the cello that can be open to a mixture of musicians from different musical scenes and that play cello in different musical contexts. And so kind of trying to create connections … a more connected musical community through presenting concerts.

[underscore: Brahms Piano Quartet No. 3 in C Minor, III Andante]

JAMES: Isabel Castellvi is also a cellist and one of the festival organizers.

ISABEL CASTELLVI: It's not only very close to the human voice, but being a fretless bowed and or plucked instrument has such a wide range of potential sounds that it can make. And not just the traditional sounds that we think of as like classical music, but has an incredible range of sound effects and different types of sound. [underscore: The Wind soundtrack] The cello is used in so many musical contexts from like, horror movie film tracks with weird sounds. [underscore: Laura Cetilia - Anechoic] And to like playing, you know, tango music to really any type of music because the cello is so versatile, and it can play music and tonalities of other cultures. Because it's a fretless instrument. We're not bound by like the keyboard or the guitar by these like 12 tones.

CHUCK: Zan Berry and Isabel Castelvi also write songs for cello and voice. They played a couple for us when they visited our studio.

ZAN: I'm going to be playing a song that I actually wrote as part of a creativity group where everybody shares an inspiration and then you respond to that inspiration in a two week period. And so this was a piece I wrote, as kind of a meditation. We were supposed to just find a place to sit and see whatever came up and then quickly write a song based on that. So it was kind of like a meditation in the park. Yeah, it's called “Crooked Tree”.

CHUCK: Was there a particular composer or performer who kind of vaulted it into extreme popularity at some point?

ISABEL: I think Pablo Casals is probably the most famous cellist who made really a presence in the world as an international soloist. [underscore: Bach Cello Suite No. 2 performed by Pablo Casals] And so he was doing that in the late 1800s and early 1900s. And there were famous cellist before him, like Boccherini or Popper, but no one that kind of like penetrated the international scene like that. [underscore: Bach Cello Suite No. 2 continued] And not only was he a cellist, he was like, a very amazing activist for human rights, and used his voice as a musician and an activist to really like communicate to the world. And yeah, I think he really changed the way people saw the role that cello can play.

JAMES: Isabel, tell us about what you're about to play.

ISABEL: The song I'm going to play is called “All Of Us”. And I wrote it several years ago, inspired by a Japanese concept, kintsukuroi which is when you like, say you drop a vase, or you accidentally break it, and you decide to mend it back together with gold. And the concept is that the object is more beautiful now that it's been broken, and put back together. And I thought of that in relationship to our society. And so that's the inspiration for that song.

JAMES: There are several concerts in PVD Cello Fest. Friday, April 29th, at 7PM there’s a show at Moniker Brewery. That will feature pop cello arrangements.

[underscore: Bartok cello duet]

CHUCK: There are two events on Saturday, May 7th. From Noon to 5 PM at the Sutton Street Gallery there will be a variety of cello music from classical to folk to experimental, including a community performance of Terry Riley’s “In C” where everyone is invited to bring their own instrument.

JAMES: And finally, the evening of May 7th there’s a concert at AS220 with all original cello music.

CHUCK: You can find the full schedule at