New Cello, New City

I was very casually looking to upgrade from Hans, my big German cello, when I met Jason Starkie, the award winning luthier based in Seattle. I met him through a fellow Oberlin grad (Hi, Brandon!) whose daughter I was teaching (Hi, June!) and he had me try some of his cellos. I ended up really liking one he made, so I asked if I could take it out on trial. Sadly, someone already had dibs and that person ended up buying it. The upside to that disappointment was that Jason started making me my own cello. I’ll say that again, because I can’t get over how cool that sounds: Jason Starkie made me my own cello. I got to pick out my favorite pieces of wood for the solid back, and pick the scroll and front pieces, too. I got to go into his shop and see Risso written on slabs of wood that would become my cello. I got to see the progress as he documented it on Facebook. When the cello was done, Jason brought it to my hurricane of an apartment (more on that later) so I could ask for tweaks, like a slimmer neck, calmer action, and a balance between D and G. It was a methodical process, especially when you compare it to the urgency and panic surrounding my purchase of Hans at the beginning of 2012.

July was fully bananas. It was two weeks at SYSO Summer Music Camp and packing in the evening. The day camp wrapped, I flew to Austin, TX to do training starting the next day with Rick Mooney for Suzuki Books 8, 9, and 10 and the Popper Etudes. After ten days of intensive training, I flew back to Seattle to pack up the POD nd clear out the apartment for the next day and a half.

And then I moved to Nashville. We scooped up the very confused animals and our desert island necessities (the new cello, some clothes, coffee making supplies) and then we embarked on a four day road trip to Nashville. The days were heroically long (14 hours for one of them!) and they involved a lot of schlepping animals and the cello in and out of AirBnBs and consuming questionable fast food, but we made. Just barely.

To the surprise of no one, Nashville’s pretty great. It’s hot as all get out, but that’s what happens when you move to the South at the beginning of August. The people are friendlier here than they are in Seattle and the food is as good without all the pretention. I’ve already got the teaching bug (it took less than a week!), so I hope my studio at Music City Strings Academy in Franklin gets chugging soon.