23rd annual

New Directions Cello Festival

Ithaca College, Ithaca NY
June 16-18, 2017

Exploring the current state of non-classical cello music.

Featuring: Malcolm Parson ,Gunther Tiedemann (Germany), Tomeka Reid, Yaniel Matos (Brazil), Zach Brown & Friends

Pictured – Tomeka Reid

The New Directions Cello Festival is a performance and educational forum for non-classical cello, featuring performances, workshops, and jam sessions led by guest artists (and their groups) who are pioneering new directions for cellists in a wide variety of styles. Keep an eye on this website for the latest information. Also join our Facebook group.

The festival runs from noon on Friday though 3pm on Sunday with workshops during the days, amazing performances on Friday and Saturday evenings (open to the public) with the guest artists and a free farewell concert (open to the public) by the Cello Big Band (open to all participants, staff and guest artists) on Sunday afternoon.


Yaniel Matos

Matos began studying cello and piano at the Conservatorio Estevan Sala in Santiago de Cuba when he was 8. In 1994 when he moved to Havana to study Composition where he graduated from the Instituto Superior de Artes.  In 2000 he moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil and became a member of the Department of Popular Music at Escola Superior de Música da Faculdade Cantareira responsible for piano related courses. He has released 4 albums: “Um Dia de Chuva,” “En Movimiento,” “Depois,” “La Mirada.”

In 2017 he will release “Vôo” and “Carabali.” ”La Mirada’’ was named by Music Resource Group (MRG) as a Nominee of the 14th Independent Music Awards (The IMAs), the influential awards program for independent artists and releases at the category Jazz with Vocals.  http://yanielmatos.weebly.com


Tomeka Reid

Chicago based cellist, composer and educator, Tomeka Reid has been described as “a remarkably versatile player” (Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune). Equally adept in classical and jazz contexts, Ms. Reid predominantly finds herself in experimental and improvisatory settings and composes for a wide range of instrumentation, from big band to chamber ensemble. Ms. Reid’s music combines her love for groove along with freer concepts. She is an integral part of Dee Alexander’s Evolution Ensemble, Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble/Strings, Mike Reed’s Loose Assembly, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) Great Black Music Ensemble. Reid co-leads the internationally recognized string trio Hear in Now with performances in Poland; Paris, Rome, Venice, Milan, Switzerland and in the US: Chicago, New York and Vermont. Ms. Reid also performs with many of today’s forward thinking musicians in the world of jazz and creative music including Anthony Braxton, George Lewis, Roscoe Mitchell, Jeb Bishop, Myra Melford, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Mary Halvorson, Denis Fournier, Edward Wilkerson and Harrison Bankhead. She also leads her own trio featuring guitarist Matt Schneider and bassist Josh Abrams and has contributed to numerous studio recordings.



Malcolm Parson

A native of New Orleans, cellist Malcolm Parson has been hailed as “the most creative cellist of his generation.” He studied at Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Talent Development Program and at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He gave his first performance as a soloist with an orchestra at age 14. He made his debut in Atlanta with the Atlanta Symphony Community Orchestra after winning their Young Artist Competition, and followed with debuts at The National Black Arts Festival “Classics from the Next Generation” and Andre Watts’ 50th Birthday Celebration.  He has shared the stage with musicians and bands such as James Lauderdale, Della Mae, Del McCoury, Old Crow Medicine Show, Marcus Mumford, Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Ron Carter, Paquito D’Rivera, Patrice Rushen, Toshi Reagon, Cyrus Chestnut, Terri Lynn Carrington, and Dave Liebman  as well as performing at major festivals such as Northsea Jazz Fest, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Fest, Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, and Stutggart Jazz Fest.  “He is that rare player with feet planted firmly in classical music and the music of our time while possessing perfect intonation, fluent technique and stylistic versatility.” – Eugene Friesen. http://www.malcolmparson.com/


Gunther Tiedemann

Tiedemann is a German jazz and pop cellist, ensemble director, composer, author and lecturer. As a freelance cellist, he has played with Ernst Reijseger, Stephen Katz, Markus Stockhausen, Nelly Furtado, a.o. and has toured Europe, USA, West Africa and Pakistan. His compositions and arrangements have been published by Breitkopf & Härtel. He is lecturer at Music University Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne where he directs the String Big Band and teaches pop chamber music and coaches ensembles, etc.. He also teaches at the Rheinische Musikschule in Cologne. He has worked with the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra as composer and soloist, the National Symphony Orchestra Ghana, Deutsche Streicherphilharmonie, Chamber Orchestra of Groove (Germany), RMS Cello Big Band, Cello-Orchester BadenWürttemberg and has given workshops for the Goethe Institut as well as various universities, academies and associations.    www.gunther-tiedemann.de

Pianist, Thomas Rueckert plays solo, with his trio and as a sideman in clubs, on Radio, TV and at festivals. Rueckert has played with Lee Konitz, Randy Brecker, Mark Murphy, Adam Nussbaum, Greg Hutchinson, John Goldsby and many others. www.thomasrueckert.com

Gunther Tiedemann and Thomas Rueckert play their own music grounded in the jazz tradition with influences from traditional and contemporary music.

Zach Brown & Friends

Zach BrownZachary Brown is a cellist, hailing from Brentwood NY. Born in Queens NY, Zach began cello at the age of thirteen. Now a college graduate, he studied at the Ithaca College School of Music. Zach has also been studying jazz in recent years, and has completed a degree in cello performance while concentrating in jazz studies. Zach has been cultivating a sound in jazz, bluegrass, blues and hip hop to bring a fresh, diversified sound in the cello world. He is a two-time attendee of the Acoustic Music Seminar and the Savannah Music Festival under the tutelage of Mike Marshal and Julian Lage and taught a workshop at the New Directions Cello Festival on 2015. Zach is currently based out of Long Island where he is a fulltime teacher.

Grant Flick, of Bowling Green, Ohio, has been playing and performing for the past seven years on many instruments including violin, mandolin, and tenor guitar. Primarily, his interests are jazz/swing, bluegrass, and new acoustic music. He has received numerous music awards including the 2013 Daniel Pearl Memorial Violin, and he was a 2015 finalist in the Walnut Valley Festival Fiddle Competition in Winfield, Kansas. He has been selected as a two-time participant (2015 and 2016) of the Acoustic Music Seminar held at the Savannah Music Festival in Savannah, Georgia. He has performed at the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Red Wing Roots Festival, Indiana Fiddler’s Gathering, and many other festivals.

Bass player Jacob Warren’s passion for acoustic music has led him to pursue a wide range of musical genres, from classical to Cajun, folk, jazz and more. He loves to blend these influences, and find the connections between different music styles. Intense collaboration and constant learning are some of the greatest joys Jacob has in music and in life.

Matthew Davis is a young banjoist based in Nashville Tennessee. He writes and performs music ranging from bluegrass to jazz and even classical music. He is an alumnus of the Nebraska All State Jazz Band, and the winner of the 2016 National Banjo Contest. His goal is to make music that excites the audience, challenges himself and furthers the development of acoustic music.


Jake Charkey

Jake Charkey is an acclaimed cellist with a strong background in both Western classical music and Hindustani music. He is also an eclectic improviser, drawing from eastern and western musical traditions, jazz, reggae, hip-hop, and his roving imagination. He is a sought-after studio recording artist in the film, television and music industry in both India and the USA. Jake completed his conservatory training at the Shepherd School of Music in Houston, TX.  He studied Hindustani music in Toronto, L.A. and in India with Aruna Narayan, Jagan Ramamoorthy, Aashish Khan and Swapan Chaudury and is a disciple of the violin virtuoso Padmabushan Dr. N. Rajam in the rare Gayaki Ang style. In L.A., he completed his M.F.A. at Cal Arts in Hindustani music. During his time at school, he stretched himself musically, learning from avant-garde jazz innovators like Vinny Golia, Adam Rudolf, and Wadada Leo Smith as well as playing bass and cello with L.A. reggae and hip-hop bands. After grad school Jake moved to Montreal, where he founded a ten-piece klezmer orchestra, perfected his busking skills, and continued to perform Hindustani music, both as a soloist and accompanying Kathak dance. In 2010 he went to India with an arts fellowship from the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute to support formal study under Padmabushan Dr. N. Rajam. Jake has performed and recorded with numerous artists in India, the U.S. and internationally. In 2015 he started Rose Productions with Veronica Simas de Souza, a music startup dedicated to building musical bridges between India and N. America.