The 16th annual New Directions Cello Festival took place in Ithaca New York at Ithaca College from June 11-13, 2010.

Download Schedule of 2010 Events

The Guest Artists were:

Concerts were:
Friday June 11 – 7:30 pm
– Liz Davis Maxfield with New Time Ensemble
– Claudio Peña and his Fin Del Mundo Trio from Argentina
– Luciano Correa and No Olho da Rua – Brazilian quintet from Rio
Saturday June 12 – 7:30 pm
– Chris White Quartet
– Spaghetti Western String Co. from Minneapolis
– Marcelo Martinez Vieira & Christian Howes
There was a free concert Sunday June 13 with the Cello Big Band at 1:30pm.

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. Please check our Festival tab for more information.


During the weekend of the New Directions Cello Festival, we enjoy over 20 workshop and jam sessions on a wide variety of topics, which are different each year. We aim to have at least two different sessions offered at all times. We have always been able to offer many interesting sessions for less experienced and for more experienced players and improvisers.

Joel Cohen C Jam Blues workshop:
What do you play when you see a chord symbol that says “C”? Then what do you do when it changes to “G”? Using one of Chris White’s celebrated compositions, we will take it apart, then put it back together again. Lose your mind and come to your senses Based on a famous quote of cellist David Darling, we will look at free improvisation. Learn how to play together using musical cues and your own artistic sixth sense to create an on-the-spot musical soundscape.

Cello Big Band conducted by Joel Cohen Open to all players at the festival, this all-cello Big Band rehearses each day, performing on the rather informal Sunday afternoon concert. We will play a combination of new compositions written especially for this year’s festival, and some old favorites as well.

Liz Davis Maxfield Traditional Irish fiddle ornamentation for cello: We’ll learn a few tunes, then discuss and experiment with different ornamentation that fits both the cello and the genre, using her master’s degree research on this topic. Playing the cello in a traditional band: Joined by the New Time Ensemble, we’ll look into different ways of incorporating the cello in to a folk music ensemble. We’ll cover basic cello-chord theory, rhythmic grooves, and arranging skills.
The All Cello Irish Session! We’ll learn some classic traditional Irish tunes and play them session-style.

Corinna Eikmeier Feldenkrais and Improvisation: We will combine awareness through movement, and the choices we make with our spontaneous movements– with free improvisation, and the choices we make when we are creating music in the moment. “More than Five”: How do musicians communicate within a group which is “more than five players” creating improvised music? Improvise a symphony: based on performance pieces from Germany, Corinna Eikmeier will take us through the steps resulting in an improvised “symphony” of cellists.

Katie Fittipaldi An introduction to Alexander Technique: Come to the festival first thing Sunday morning for a relaxing session focusing on body awareness, balance, flow and comfort at the cello with Katie Fittipaldi, an celebrated local Alexander practitioner and cellist.

Alice Kanack and Sera Smolen: From their new book Improvising String Quartets, we will form quartets in the room, and explore improvised music in four simultaneous parts.

Corbin Keep: Befriending the Upper Register: Beginning-Intermediate: A Rock Guitar influenced approach to Straddling the Stratosphere.
Jam session: Setting up grooves with non-traditional techniques.

Claudio Peña Improvisation using a sign system designed by Claudio Peña

“El fin del Mundo”: open jam with Claudio Peña, Gabriel Spiller and Gustavo Hunt.

Abby Newton Castles Kirks and Caves Jam Session: Learn tunes from her new book, “Castles Kirks and Caves”. Learn how to improvise the bass, rhythm, and harmonies while taking solos over the form.

Sera Smolen Baroque Improvisation: Using the famous “Arioso” by J. S. Bach, we will look at how to improvise in the Baroque style with harpsichord accompaniment.

Marcelo Vieira Jazz for String Players with Marcelo Vieira and Christian Howes Etudes, exercises, and introduction to cello & voice Brazilian

Jam session! Spaghetti Western String Co.Different roles the cello can play: Learn how the SWSC incorporates the cello and the different roles it plays in the group, including certain unconventional techniques developed for this group, and how they incorporate improvisation.

Chris White Summertime: A beginning/intermediate workshop on jazz improvisation.
The Complete Jazz Cellist: An intermediate/advanced workshop focusing in on the chord changes, improvising, bass lines and playing the chords.