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I have recently discovered a new cellist that has blown my mind. We are talking next level cellist. This guy is one of the greats of the era. In my opinion he is good enough to rise to the level of fame and notoriety that Yo Yo Ma has achieved (or others for their respective instruments such as Itzhak Perlman for example). A few weeks ago he played a Saint Saens concerto with the Kansas City Symphony at Helzberg Hall. That on its own was marvelous. Not only was the playing incredible, but it is Saint Saens and that is always a major plus. His mastery of instrument is beautiful. He becomes one with it. His playing is very free and expressive. He has been playing since the age of 6 and is now 28. So, he has been honing and mastering his technique for nearly his entire life. He hardly even opens his eyes and looks at the instrument when he plays. It is all just free flowing muscle memory. He is Armenian and was born and raised in Yerevan, Armenia. He went to the Sayat Nova Music School initially and then when his family moved to Russia he attended the Moscow Conservatory. He has also studied at the New England Conservatory. He has won the Khachaturian competition and the International Tchaikovsky competition.

So, back to the concert I attended. He played the 1st Cello Concerto written by Saint Saens. However, following his 3 ... 4 ... maybe even 5 minutes of standing ovation he played one of the most unique encores I have ever and probably ever will hear. The piece is an extremely ethnic sounding piece written by italian composer and fellow cellist Giovanni Sollima. I am not exactly sure what the name of the piece is or where it fits categorically. Here is a video of my newly found favorite cellist playing an encore performance of this piece for a different concert:

This has turned out to be one of the great highlights of my concert going experiences in the past 10 years.  

 

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I had seen him play on the Mezzo TV channel. At the end of a great performance of Tchaikovsky's "Variations on a Rococo Theme", he played that same encore. I agree with you. He is a phenomenal cellist. I had never seen anything like it. I can only imagine what it must have been like to see him at a live concert. The name of that piece is "Lamentatio" as I recall and as the video above mentions in the title.

 

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