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ABQ Chamber Soloists’ hold a ‘cello-bration’

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Cellists performing with Albuquerque Chamber Soloists are, from left, Joel Becktell, Lisa Collins, James Holland, Melinda Mack and David Schepps.

Cellists performing with Albuquerque Chamber Soloists are, from left, Joel Becktell, Lisa Collins, James Holland, Melinda Mack and David Schepps.

The spotlight is on the cello in the Albuquerque Chamber Soloists’ opening concert of its 2014-15 season.

That is why the Sept. 7 concert at St. Paul Lutheran Church is nicknamed “Cello-bration.”

The instrument has a role in all five works on the program.

“Being a cellist myself, one of the first things I wanted to do was feature the cello in small and large combinations. We cellists feel we play a versatile instrument,” said James Holland, ACS’ new president/artistic director.

The centerpiece of the concert will present Heitor Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No. 1, a work for eight cellists.

“It has all kinds of Latin rhythms. It’s very syncopated,” Holland said. “The third movement is gorgeous and very intricate. The last movement is a big fugue, and it’s a clear homage to Bach.”

The cellists performing it are Holland, Joel Becktell, Lisa Collins, Joanna de Keyser, Melinda Mack, David Schepps, Dana Winograd and Joan Zucker.

Matt Walker’s “Squaretet” has four cellists.

“We’re playing some funk, some swing. It has that kind of sensibility to it. It’s very free-wheeling,” Holland said.

Holland, Becktell, Schepps and Winograd are playing the Walker.

David Popper’s Requiem presents three cellists – de Keyser, Schepps and Winograd – plus pianist Pamela Viktoria Pyle.

“Popper, having been a cellist, did a wonderful job combining the three cello voices. It was originally written for three cellos and orchestra,” Holland said.

Holland and Pyle will perform Beethoven’s Variations on “Bei Mannern.”

Also on the program is Brahms’ String Quintet in F major.

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