In February 2008 Kim was asked by the cello section of a London amateur orchestra if she would coach them. The answer was ‘yes’ and why not do it somewhere lovely, for instance Wales? So Chamber Cellos was born, in a bungalow looking out towards Saundersfoot and the sea.
Chamber Cellos is a unique set-up for amateur cellists Grade 6 to advanced, offering them the opportunity to challenge their inner Du Pre’s alongside other cello enthusiasts. The emphasis is less on individual tuition and more on the art of playing together, creating a diverse programme for performance in a short time. Listening, watching, counting, communicating are the skills that make for good chamber music and these are what the courses focus on. Finding the core sound and style of each piece and learning how to achieve it introduces techniques along the way. These techniques coupled with listening and awareness create real changes in the quality of the playing. Whether the music is Byrd, Gershwin or Tchaikowsky, when the listening rules are applied important ensemble skills are learned.
Whilst we work hard in the time we have over a weekend, the prime objective of the courses is that people have fun and feel safe to challenge themselves in what can feel like a very public situation. The range of levels of ability can be wide, some players recent late starters, others hugely experienced. Although this can seem daunting for some they soon discover that the support everyone has for each other is what draws the group together, and that the advanced players have as much of a challenge as everyone else. Leaving behind the notion that one is ‘not good enough’ is a huge step towards the enjoyment that playing together brings.
Our repertoire is extensive and varied largely thanks to John Kirby, a wonderful musician, arranger and personal friend. Thanks is also due to Liz Brierley, Steve Threlfall, David Cowell, Joyce Martin, and Janet Cubey.