ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Celebrated cellist Felix Fan has attended Chatter concerts for several years, but May 26 marks his debut on its stage.
The Santa Fe-based musician is one of the most sought after cellists of his generation, performing with Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Gil Shaham and the late cellist Janos Starker at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and the Royal Festival Hall. He’s been a regular performer at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival since he was a teenager.
“I love it; I’ve been to concerts at Chatter,” he said in a telephone interview from New York. “I haven’t known (Chatter co-founder) David Felberg for that long, but I think what he’s doing is amazing.”
Fan grew up in San Diego, the son of a music teacher mother and violist father who made sure he studied with the best teachers around. He started playing the violin at 3, switching to cello within a year. He wrote his first cello duet at 8.
“It’s kind of the only thing I did as a kid, so I kept doing it,” he said. “I was already playing concerts in high school.”
He would later graduate from the Cologne Conservatory.
The cellist also is a member of the FLUX contemporary music quartet.
“It was based on the FLUXUS art movement of the ’60s,” he said. “Their motto was ‘anything goes,’ so we adopted that thinking.”
Fan will perform the Brahms Quintet in G major with Chatter musicians Carmelo de los Santos (University of New Mexico violin professor), Stephen Redfield (Santa Fe Pro Musica concertmaster), Chatter artistic director David Felberg and Kim Fredenburgh, UNM viola professor.
“It’s a classic,” Fan said. “There’s a reason he’s considered one of the great composers. It’s everything you ever wanted in Brahms. It’s so lush, it reminds me of one of his orchestral pieces.”
Fan will solo on Ta una visione del Ramo D’oro (“A Vision of the Golden Branch”) by the contemporary Italian composer Claudio Scannavini.
Fan met Scannavini at a music festival in Cesena, Italy.
“He asked if I would be interested in playing this solo piece,” Fan said. “I heard one of his pieces and I liked it. I’m always looking for new things to play. It’s about 10 minutes long.”
Toward the end of June, Fan will fly to Philadelphia to play the Chinese composer Tan Dun’s “Winter Passion.” Dun wrote the music for Ang Lee’s 2000 film “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” earning him an Academy Award.
Fan plays the “Haussman” Stradivarius of 1724.
Throughout May, Chatter performances are pay-what-you-wish from $1-$25, thanks to support from the city.