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Backround, Quotes, Reviews, Curriculums, Sellers, Purchase info.

Plant Shadows

Aaron began his musical life as a rock guitarist yet he was fascinated with classical composition. At the age of fifteen he got the inspiration to transfer his guitar knowledge to the cello, and blaze a path as the first rock cellist. He knew though, that in order to be taken seriously in the classical world, he had to first become a professional classical cellist. He graduated with a Masters Degree from Manhattan School of Music and spent several years performing as a classical cellist. Finally, Aaron was ready to go back to his original goal of inventing a new cello style. But how? There was no method book available for learning popular styles of cello playing, so Aaron created a set of pieces to teach himself. Each piece was based on a different popular style and incorporated different techniques, but there was one thing that they all had in common: Aaron would not include a piece in his book unless it made him smile! He only hoped that others would feel the same joy.

Having completed his first book, "Ten American Cello Etudes", he began looking for a publisher. His first call was to a well known commercial classical music publisher. He entered into a conversation with their representative which went as follows:

Aaron - Hello. I've just completed a set of cello etudes combining American popular music with classical technique.
Rep. - If you look at our catalog, you will notice that we haven't published a cello etude in over a hundred years.
Aaron - Yes, I did notice. That's why I'm calling!
Rep. - Well, we're very happy with David Popper, thank you. (Popper was the great etude writer of the last century).
Aaron - I'm very happy with David Popper too, but don't you think, after a hundred years, it might be time for something new?

Fortunately, his next call was to Oxford University Press, which had the foresight to see the influence that this book would have! OUP has now published over a dozen books by Aaron Minsky and other publishers have come on board. His music is widely considered "standard repertoire" and is taught at schools and universities, and performed in concert, around the world!

Oxford University Press

J.W. Pepper

Boosey & Hawkes

CF Peters
Allegro Music, UK
Latham Publishing
The Von Cello Store (on this site)

All of Minsky's books and CDs can be purchased in the Shop MENU and it's Sub Menu.

White Abstract

These quotes are from letters sent to Oxford University Press or Aaron Minsky.

Janos Starker, legendary concert cellist, professor at Indiana University:
"I find these etudes excellent, innovative, intelligent, useful and amusing. I will advise its use wherever I can."

David Johnstone, English concert cellist, living in Spain:
"There are a number of works for the cello which, although not apparent in their time, have changed the course of cello writing or at the least have had a telling influence on the next generation of cello literature. We all know about the Bach Six Suites...the concerto of Dvorak...the Kodaly Solo Sonata...the Prokofiev Sinfonia Concertante...And now we come to AARON MINSKY. Maybe at the moment less known than his renowned predecessors I predict that his work for cello may well assume a similar importance."

David Wells, concert cellist, professor at New England Conservatory of Music and Hartt School of Music, formerly at Manhattan School of Music:
"...Three Concert Etudes continue in the same delightful form as his earlier Ten American Cello Etudes. They present new techniques, some of which I have never seen before, and they have rhythmic patterns which will be challenging and useful to young players."

 

Donald McInnes, concert violist, professor at University of Southern California:
"They (Three American Pieces) represent a "slice" of American style that we do not have in the solo viola repertoire...Without question, I will try to incorporate them into my performance plans. In addition, they will be useful in assigning to my students here at the University of Southern California and elsewhere."

Boris Pergamenschikov, Russian concert cellist, professor at Musikhochschule, Koln, Germany:
"I believe that the new generation of cellists must pay attention to the American popular music using these pieces. I'd like to include the etudes by Mr. Minsky in my teaching and solo repertoire."

Dr. Susan Tephly, professor at Marshall University, West Virginia:
"I plan to use Minsky's Young American Ensembles collection with my string class...I am familiar with Minsky's Ten American Etudes and applaud his ability to expose musicians of all ages to contemporary American music in non-threatening ways. The Young American Ensembles have the same appeal while, to the delight of instructors and audiences alike, sharing American music with younger players, too!"

Gordon Elliot, Good Day New York, Host
"(Aaron) You are a world famous cellist;  you are a writer of some of the most successful and influential cello books in the world."

 

Jim Ryan, Good Day New York, Anchor
"He just woke up Jimi Hendrix." (After Aaron's rendition of The Star Spangled Banner.)

 

David Wells (Aaron's teacher at Manhattan School of Music) "We used to think he was crazy. We didn't know he was a genius!"

 

RagtimeLady (music promoter) "He has created a new rock instrument. Sheer genius."

 

"Phil Carnevale (Yamaha Sales Rep.) You're on fire! Nothing can stop you!"

 

Katie D'Angelo (Strings Teacher, Greenwich Public Schools) "Because of the technical difficulty and non-classical groove of Aaron Minsky's Three Concert Etudes, I was able to show my personality through his music when applying for a teaching job. Because of that piece, I am now working as an elementary strings teacher! Thank you Aaron Minsky!"

 

Well Known Rock Cellist (who will remain anonymous):
"I thought I was a rock cellist. Next to you I'm a classical cellist."

From a review: "He (Von Cello) manages to take all the soulful and sublime elements of the cello...and throw them out the window!"

 

A quote about Bach from a critic of his time: "By his bombastic and intricate procedures he deprived the melodies of naturalness and obscured their beauty."

Musical Journal (Incorporated Society of Musicians), England:
"Aaron Minsky has done a brilliant job with his Ten American Cello Etudes...This collection is for the advanced cellist who is able to tackle demanding techniques and complex rhythmic structures simultaneously!...I continue my exploration of these Ten American Etudes with vigour."

The Strad, England:
"Young students may find these much more enjoyable to practice than the standard etudes. The technical issues addressed in the book are indeed an eclectic supplement to traditional study."

Strings Magazine, USA:
"The etudes are unique in applying traditional cello techniques to vernacular American themes; we enthusiastically recommend them to teachers whose students have an ear for rock, jazz, and folk idioms - who does not? - and want to bring them to life on the cello."
(See article about the etudes, written by Aaron Minsky, Fall 1988.)

American String Teacher, USA:
"I was greatly impressed by Minsky's cello etudes published a few years ago. These Young American Ensembles are reminiscent of the Americana musically portrayed in the cello etudes...Minsky has a gift for composing in a fun, contemporary style that is also pedagogically sound."

Sheet Music, England:
"Ensemble training for young string players is made easy with this series of three volumes."

 

Some Curriculums That Include Minsky's Music

1. Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music Curriculum, ABRSM, United Kingdom

2. American String Teachers' Association Curriculum, ASTA
3. Australian Music Examinations Board, AMEB, Australia 

4. New Zealand Examinations Board, NZEB
5. New York State School Music Association, NYSSMA
6. A Guide to the Standard Cello Repertoire, by Jeffrey Solow

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