Chosen Vale International Cello Seminar

July 12th - July 18th 2021 (Virtual)

learn more here

apply here

The Chosen Vale International Cello Seminar serves as a beacon for inclusive and advanced learning, mentorship and community building. Participants work alongside seasoned artists who have cultivated careers as chamber and orchestral musicians, soloists, and pedagogues, sharing stories and experiences, while honing their creative voices, and finding new avenues to re-interpret the classics as well as a deep exploration of recent masterworks. Offering a high-calibre educational and mentorship structure for exceptionally gifted artists, the seminar participants will have access to daily cello lessons, masterclasses, workshops in performance practice (baroque, classical, contemporary, and electroacoustic musics), corporeal wellness and individualized career development; as well as solo and chamber music instruction. With the ever-changing landscape of the music field, The Chosen Vale International Cello Seminar is here to support a community of cellists ready to jump head first into their artistry bound with hope. The Chosen Vale International Cello Seminar will provide daily lessons, ensemble coachings, masterclasses and workshops over the two-week course period. Led by Seth Parker Woods, the world-renowned artist faculty include:

Seth Parker Woods: Director

Anthony Arnone
Alexis Descharmes (on leave for 2021)
Elinor Frey  
Katinka Kleijn
Nick Photinos
Rhonda Rider

Anthony Arnone

Called “a cellist with rich tonal resources, fine subtlety and a keen sense of phrasing” (Gramophone), cellist Anthony Arnone enjoys a varied career as a soloist, chamber musician, conductor, recording artist, composer, and teacher throughout the country and around the world. Mr. Arnone is associate professor of cello at the University of Iowa School of Music, and is also on the faculty of the Preucil School of Music in Iowa City, where he teaches and conducts.

Mr. Arnone has collaborated with many of today’s great chamber ensembles and artists including members of the Pro Arte Quartet, Cypress Quartet, Fry Street Quartet, and Arianna Quartet. Performances have taken him around the United States, Europe, and Asia to many of the leading concert venues as soloist, chamber musician, and conductor. Mr. Arnone’s recordings with Albany and VAI have received acclaimed reviews in prominent music journals and online classical sights. An avid performer of the Bach Suites, Mr. Arnone wrote and self-published his own edition of the 6 Cello Suites with a composed second cello “Continuo” part to aid in teaching and performance.

As a cello soloist and chamber musician, Mr. Arnone was a founding member of the Meridien Trio and the Sedgewick String Quartet, which performed regularly at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston. He was also part of the Matisse Trio, a faculty trio at The University of Iowa, which played throughout the United States. Mr. Arnone is also regularly featured as soloist with orchestras including performances with the Madison Symphony, Dubuque Symphony, Orchestra Iowa, Knox/Galesburg Symphony and the Kamuela Philharmonic among others.

Mr. Arnone’s love of teaching has taken him throughout the country to give master classes, including Oberlin College, Eastman School, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and San Francisco Conservatory. At home, Mr. Arnone brings celebrated teachers and performers to The University of Iowa for the annual “Cello Daze,” a weekend of lectures, concerts, and master classes. Past guests include Richard Aaron, Colin Carr, Steven Doane, Hans Jensen, Paul Katz, Bonnie Hampton, Joel Krosnick, Norman Fischer, Marc Johnson, Anthony Ross, and Robert DeMaine as well as non classical guests including Mark Summer, Natalie Haas and Alastair’s Fraser, German Marcano, and Matt Turner.

Mr. Arnone is also due to release a book titled “The Art of Listening-Conversations with Cellists” (Peter Lang Publishing). The detailed book of interviews with 14 of the great cello teachers in the US and UK will be due out in the Fall of 2020.

A native of Honolulu, Mr. Arnone received his bachelor of music degree from the New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Colin Carr. He left graduate studies with Bonnie Hampton at the San Francisco Conservatory to accept a position with the Orchestré Philharmonique de Nice, France, where he remained for two years, continuing his studies with Paul and Maude Tortelier. He later returned to the United States to complete his master’s degree in conducting at Wichita State University.

Before coming to the University of Iowa, Mr. Arnone was principal cellist of the Madison Symphony, and taught at Ripon College in Wisconsin. He has also taught and performed at the Madeline Island Music Camp, Eastern Music Festival, the Stonybrook Music Camp, the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC. and the Festival Dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy where he was coprincipal cellist for seven years.

Katinka Kleijn

Hailed as “Chicago’s first lady of the cello” by Time Out Magazine, Dutch cellist Katinka Kleijn enjoys a genre-defying career in solo, improvisation, chamber and orchestral performance.

In demand as soloist, Kleijn has appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Hague Philharmonic, at the Tokyo Metropolitan Theater, and has recorded David Baker’s Cello Concerto with the Chicago Sinfonietta. The NewYork Times, writing about her premiere of Dai Fujikura’s Cello Concerto at Lincoln Center with the International Contemporary Ensemble, which was subsequently released live on SONY Japan Records, describes Kleijn as “a player of formidable expressive gifts.”

Known for her innovative individual multi-media projects, she presented solo recitals at the Library of Congress, Carolina Performing Arts, and the Chicago Humanities Festival. Her collaboration with the Chicago-based performance art duo Industry of the Ordinary resulted in the highly-acclaimed and widely publicized work "Intelligence in the Human-Machine” by Daniel Dehaan, a work she performed as a duet with her own brainwaves, and that Time Magazine christened “a balancing act for Kleijn’s whole body”. In March 2019, the City of Chicago presented the large scale work “Water on the Bridge”, a piece for 30 cellos, two cellists and swimming pool, at the 2000 square foot Eckhart Park Natatorium, devised and performed by Kleijn with Lia Kohl.

Additional projects include a VR/3D video of Bryan Jacobs’ “ly ful hood” for cello and robot instruments; commissioning Marcos Balter’s Bach Suite companion piece “Ensuite”; performing in duo with Du Yun; with the band Tortoise at Pitchfork Midwinter; and receiving a commission to write for 11 improvisers for the Instigation Festival Orchestra in Chicago with the likes of Ken Vandermark and Mars Williams performing. She performs regularly on the Chicago free jazz scene, and has a working duo with guitarist Bill MacKay. Their record STIR is set for release October 11, 2019 on Drag City Records.

A 24 year member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and a 16 year member of the International Contemporary Ensemble, Kleijn has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Christoph Eschenbach, Richard Goode, Lynn Harrell, Jeremy Denk, Stefan Jackiw, and the Marlboro Music Festival. She has taught at DePaul School of Music, Notre Dame University, and was a 2019 Artist-in-Residence and Guest Lecturer at the Banff Centre for the Arts.

Rhonda Rider

For over two decades, cellist Rhonda Rider was a member of the Naumburg Award-winning Lydian Quartet and Triple Helix Piano Trio. An advocate of contemporary music, Rider has premiered and recorded works by composers including John Harbison, Lee Hyla, Yu-Hui Chang and Elliott Carter. Always interested in bringing classical cello music to unusual places, she has been an Artist-in-Residence at both Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest National Parks. Eighteen works for solo cello were commissioned for these residencies. She has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, Chamber Music America and adjudicated at the Fischoff, Stulberg and Concert Artists Guild Competitions. Recently, she has performed with Shelter Music Boston and the New Gallery Series. In the summer months, she performs and teaches at festivals including Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, Music from Salem, Tanglewood and the Asian Youth Orchestra (Hong Kong). Rider holds degrees from Oberlin and Yale and is on the faculty of Boston University, and Boston Conservatory at Berklee where she was twice awarded Outstanding Teacher of the Year/Best of Berklee.

Alexis Descharmes

Chosen by Diapason magazine to represent the French cello along with about ten colleagues of his generation, Alexis Descharmes is an active ambassador of numerous cello repertoires. Born in 1977 and trained at the Paris Conservatoire (classes of Michel Strauss and Philippe Muller), he joined in 1998 the Ensemble Court-circuit. He collaborates regularly with IRCAM and with the Ensemble Intercontemporain. In 2006 he joined the orchestra of the Opéra national de Paris, while pursuing a sustained activity in the contemporary music. He is the dedicatee of fifty contemporary works, concertos or solo. Alexis Descharmes’s discography consists of some fifty recordings, in solo or with the aforementioned ensembles with which he has appeared at numerous festivals in some thirty countries. Since 2004, he has recorded exclusively for the æon label, which has released the works for cello by Kaija Saariaho, Franz Liszt, Schubert and Klaus Huber anthologies with his faithful partner Sébastien Vichard (ensemble intercontemporain), and most recently, some monographic albums devoted to Roger Reynolds (mode records), Philippe Hurel (motus records) and Ricardo Nillni (l’empreinte digitale). Since 2016 Alexis Descharmes newly appointed principal cellist at the Opéra de Bordeaux (ONBA). Alexis Descharmes is endorsed by D'Addario, manufacturer of strings (USA).

Elinor Frey  

Fascinated by the cello’s origins and the creative process of new music, Elinor Frey plays both period and modern instruments. Her release on the Belgian label Passacaille, Berlin Sonatas with Lorenzo Ghielmi on fortepiano, was nominated for a Juno award for Best Classical CD, Solo & Chamber Music and won the 2015 Québec Opus Prize for Early Music CD of the year. Her first Baroque CD, La voce del violoncello, was praised for its “careful scholarship and brilliant layering of moods and tempos” (Toronto Star) and for the “honest, reflective beauty of her music making” (Strings). Her performance of this program was the winner of the public prize at the 2013 Utrecht Early Music Festival Fringe. In 2017, she released Fiorè, the world premiere recording of the sonatas of Angelo Maria Fiorè and various unknown Italian arias the, performed alongside Lorenzo Ghielmi and Suzie LeBlanc.

Frey’s debut album, Dialoghi, is titled for the solo piece written for her by Steven Stucky, and her CD of new works for Baroque cello, titled Guided By Voices, was released on the Analekta label in March 2019. These works are by Scott Godin, Linda Catlin Smith, Ken Ueno, Isaiah Ceccarelli, Maxime McKinley, and Lisa Streich.

Frey’s honours include a US-Italy Fulbright Fellowship where she studied baroque cello with Paolo Beschi, the SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship, American Musicological Society, and Canada Council for the Arts grants facilitating her work on Italian cello music. In recent seasons she has performed with Il Gardellino, Constantinople, Clavecin en concert, Ensemble Caprice, and Les Idées heureuses, as well as with her quartet, Pallade Musica, grand prize winners of the 2012 Early Music America Baroque Performance Competition and second prize winners in the 2014 International Van Wassenaer Competition in Utrecht. Currently a course instructor at McGill University, and instructor of Baroque cello at the University of Montréal, Frey holds degrees from Mannes, McGill, and Juilliard and is the Visiting Fellow in Music from 2019-2022 at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University.

Nick Photinos 

Nick Photinos, cellist, is a founding member and co-Artistic Director of the four-time Grammy Award-winning chamber music ensemble Eighth Blackbird. Formed in 1996, the group has performed more than 1000 concerts throughout the world and has been featured at the 2013 Grammy Awards, on CBS’s Sunday Morning, and Bloomberg TV. Recent accolades include Musical America's Ensemble of the Year for 2017 and the inaugural Chamber Music America Visionary Award in 2016. Highlights of the 2018-2019 include debuts in Sweden; with the Oregon Music Festival in Jennifer Higdon’s concerto for sextet and orchestra, On a Wire; at the National Gallery of Art; and performances across nine US States. In June 2017 Eighth Blackbird launched their annual summer festival, the Blackbird Creative Lab, a tuition-, room- and board- free chamber music festival. The ensemble has held multi-year residency positions at the Curtis Institute of Music, the University of Chicago, and currently holds an ongoing Ensemble-in-Residence position at the University of Richmond.

As a solo artist, Nick has toured with Björk, recorded with Wilco on their Grammy-nominated album The Whole Love, and recorded with Autumn Defense on their album Once Around. He has performed and recorded with numerous jazz artists including vocalists Sheila Jordan, pianist Laurence Hobgood, violinist Zach Brock, and bassist Matt Ulery, with whom he has been featured on three albums. He has also served as section cellist with the the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra under Marin Alsop and the Canton and Columbus Symphony Orchestras. Since 2007 he has taught at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival every July in North Adams, MA. Nick is a graduate of Northwestern University, the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He has recorded for numerous labels including the Cedille, Nonesuch, New Amsterdam, Greenleaf, and Naxos labels. His debut solo album, Petits Artéfacts, released on the New Amsterdam label in August, 2017, features never-before recorded works by some of the most acclaimed names in new music, including David Lang, Andrew Norman, Bryce Dessner, David T. Little, as well as a younger generation of groundbreaking composers like Angélica Negrón, Florent Ghys, Molly Joyce, and Pascal Le Boeuf. For more information, go to