Nathan Bontrager

Cello and viola da gamba

Tag: Anne Rhodes

Scrimshaw Download

New Haven was lucky to have the guitarist, cellist, and composer, Benjamin Shirley (not to mention friend), live here for a number of years before he moved to Atlanta.  Last summer, as a farewell gesture of sorts, Ben composed a series of pieces for the Scrimshaw Ensemble (Ben – guitar, Carl Testa – bass, Adam Matlock – accordion, myself – cello) which were performed and recorded along with a series of duos with each ensemble member plus vocalist, Anne Rhodes.

Ben’s compositions, from my perspective, reflect his love of Brazilian music as well as his experience and knowledge of Anthony Braxton’s work, among other factors.  You can stream the release below or download by clicking through to the Bandcamp site.  If you like it, consider throwing a few dollars Ben’s way to support him.  And stay tuned for news of a June Broadcloth + Carl Testa tour which will likely include a reprisal of this material.

The Stone video posted

Many thanks to Kinan Faham, a cello student of mine and talented photographer/videographer, for filming Broadcloth’s performance last month at the Stone.  The entire set is posted on YouTube, follow this link for a video playlist:

While you’re at it, check out Kinan’s personal website:

Stay tuned for some upcoming performances and compositions in the works.

Broadcloth at Audubon Strings

This Saturday, January 30, the new music and improv trio Broadcloth will be performing at Audubon Strings in downtown New Haven.  Broadcloth features Anne Rhodes on voice, Adam Matlock on accordion/recorders, and myself on cello.  We will also be joined by guitarist/composer Gabriel Bolaños and percussionist Stephen Zieminski.

Musical improvisation drives this ensemble, however, we make a distinct effort to maintain coherent levels of structure and thematic unity in many of our pieces.  One such piece, written by Anne, requires each of us to play from a freehand embroidered score.  Another, written specifically for this concert by Gabriel, features interaction between our acoustic instruments and an electronic audio track created by processing pre-recorded sounds from our instruments.  This piece should be a wild ride.

Considering that we are performing in a violin shop full of sympathetically vibrating stringed instruments, we have designed some of our pieces around the open strings of the violin and cello (C – G – D – A – E).  The effect should sound something like a Norwegian hardingfele (see picture below) crossed with a plate reverb effect.

I posted some audio from our last performance on the Media page.

Come one and all and please feel free to bring drinks as this is an informal venue.

Notice the sympathetic strings running under the fingerboard and through the middle of the bridge