In anticipation of our February 10 concert, “Bohemian Rhapsodies”, featured cellist Kelcey Howell was kind enough to afford us her time for a brief interview regarding her favorite composers, favorite works and her least favorite genre of music. Be sure to join us this Saturday at Fisher Auditorium where Howell will be performing Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in B Minor.
Arapahoe Philharmonic: You started studying cello at the age of 6, why is that the instrument you chose? Are there any other instruments you play?
Kelcey Howell: I started with piano lessons, and then began playing the cello after my older brother started violin lessons – I knew I wanted to play a string instrument like he did, and my mom suggested that I try the cello.
AP: Do you come from a musical family?
KH: My mom and grandparents are pianists.
AP: You have quite the history with the Arapahoe Philharmonic. How long were you active with the Arapahoe Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and was that your first involvement with an orchestra?
KH: I was in the APYO from ages 8-13, and it was a great introduction to playing in orchestra – being able to collaborate with other musicians is one of my absolute favorite aspects of studying music, and APYO gave me my first experience of how fun it can be to be part of a musical community.
AP: This eventually led to performing with the Arapahoe Philharmonic at age 9, is that correct?
KH: Yes! Vincent LaGuardia – the AP’s former conductor – gave me the exciting opportunity of playing a Haydn concerto with the orchestra when I was 9.
AP: You’re a substitute cellist for the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. How did you secure that spot?
KH: I played an audition for the substitute list during my senior year of high school.
AP: Who are your favorite composers? Are there any cellists or other musicians that you draw heavy influence from?
KH: I have so many favorite composers… but Bach, Schubert, and Tchaikovsky are probably the top three.
I draw a lot of inspiration from the performances and continuous hard work of the professors and other students in my school, and also from famous cellists like Yo-Yo Ma and Truls Mørk.
AP: What are your favorite works? Are there any works that you hear and you think ‘yes, this is simply the best classical piece in existence’?
KH: At the moment, Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony and Beethoven’s string quartets.
AP: What do you enjoy listening to outside of classical?
KH: Jazz… anything besides country!
AP: You’re a junior at University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music. Is there a particular orchestra that you hope to join or is there a particular musical goal you want to reach following college?
KH: I love the wide range of repertoire that cellists get to play, from solo and chamber music, to being part of the orchestra, so my goal is to find a career where I can have a balance of those and participate in music-making in a variety of settings.
By Jake Tharan, Arapahoe Philharmonic Journalism Intern