String Training

Cellist and Hidden Valley performer Mark Kosower says “there is no substitute for one-on-one instruction, and Hidden Valley is the best environment I’ve seen for that.” 

Many musicians begin their studies at very young ages. But Cleveland Orchestra principal cellist Mark Kosower may have them all beat. His professional cellist father started him with lessons when he was just 18 months old. “I’ve had the extreme privilege of studying with some of the greatest cellists on the planet,” Kosower says. “I’ve always said that, because of that, if I didn’t turn out to be a good musician it would be entirely my own fault.”

Kosower is here for his sixth annual appearance in a week-long residence as the final instructor of this year’s Hidden Valley Masters Festival, which includes intensive instruction and caps off with an instructor recital. “It’s such a relaxed environment, free from the pressures of modern life, conservatory curricula, grades and the like,” Kosower says. “It’s an opportunity for the students to really absorb the material in close contact with a teacher who they study with, eat with, and rehearse and perform with. It’s very rare and quite special.”

The passing of the torch from one generation to the next is a responsibility Kosower doesn’t take lightly. “Teaching is important because there is a lot of information passed down between generations via oral tradition which is absolutely essential,” he observes,

For his recital, Kosower has curated a wide-ranging, diverse program including his own arrangement of J.S. Bach’s Violin Partita No. 1, Cello Sonata No. 2 by Gabriel Fauré and Benjamin Britten’s landmark Cello Sonata in C.

“Over time, the instrument becomes your voice,” Kosower says. “It’s a gift. But first you have to find it and then you must develop it.”

MARK KOSOWER, cello, with JEE-WON OH, piano 7:30 pm Tuesday, Aug 13. Hidden Valley Theatre, 104 W. Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley. $25. 659-3115,

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