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THE CELLIST Comes to DVD Jan. 28

THE CELLIST Comes to DVD Jan. 28

Gregor Piatigorsky was one of the 20th century's greatest classical musicians, a beloved teacher and larger-than-life personality.

In 2015, filmmakers Murray Grigor and Hamid Shams embarked on an odyssey that led them from the Piatigorsky Archives at the Colburn School of Music to Los Angeles, New York, Moscow and beyond. Along the way they interviewed dozens of subjects, from YoYo Ma and Zubin Mehta to a who's who of former students. Unearthing a trove of material that span Piatigorsky's life and times - performances, home movies, photographs, annotated music sheets, and more - they capture the vibrancy of the cellist's adventures and achievements.

The film will be available on DVD January 28.

Born in 1903 in the Ukraine, Piatigorsky's life spanned some of the 20th century's most harrowing moments - Czar Nicholas's pogroms, the Russian Revolution, and two World Wars. The man's remarkable talent and ebullient character enabled him to transcend the challenges of his times. A child prodigy already displaying musical proficiency at the age of 7, by 15 he was first chair in the Bolshoi Orchestra. He escaped the Soviet Union in the 1920s and launched an international career. Noted for his virtuoso technique and soulful interpretations of a broad range of the classical repertoire, Piatigorsky played in renowned orchestras across Europe and North America. He toured and recorded in chamber groups with other celebrated performers, including the famous "million dollar trio" with Arthur Rubenstein and Jascha Heifetz. A number of composers wrote works for him including Sergei Prokofiev, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, William Walton and Igor Stravinsky.

Piatigorsky dedicated himself to "popularizing the cello," by which he meant developing audience appreciation for the resonant "box with four strings" as a solo instrument. In later life, the consummate performer devoted himself to imparting his love for the cello to new generations of young musicians. His students went on to teach at leading conservatories and universities and to perform as principal cellists in orchestras throughout the world.

Perhaps the deepest pleasure of this warm portrait are those sections devoted to Piatigorsky's legacy as a devoted and generous teacher and mentor. Blending a delightful sampling of master classes with the reminiscences of family, friends, colleagues, and, most especially, former students, the filmmakers evoke a vivid impression of a man who loved people as much as he loved music.

(excerpted from an article by George Eldred & Laura Thielen in the Aspen Times)

Watch the trailer here:



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