Here’s the (rather long) opening essay from the evolving syllabus for the State of the Art course I am developing at the DePauw University School of Music. The entire document, with a reading list, is here.

Even as we see the Fort Worth Symphony on strike, and difficult labor negotiations underway in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, there are also many smaller groups and individual classically-trained performers doing well, happily engaged in a wide range of creative projects. It seems like a good time to share this essay (which seems to want to become a book) with friends and colleagues, especially since this weekend DePauw is hosting the absolutely amazing 21CMposium.

In this course, we lo...

Read more

There are some days when I can’t believe I actually get paid to do my job. The day started with an engaging and inspiring talk by our (that is, DePauw’s) alum Bill Hayes and his wife Susan Seaforth Hayes, cast members of Days of Our Lives, continued with a fascinating presentation by my chemistry/biochemistry colleague Dan Gurnon on the life-saving genetic research he and his students are doing, and ended with seeing the riveting film Reparation, cowritten by my colleague Steve Timm and our alum Kyle Ham, who directed and produced the movie designed by another colleague, G. Duane Skoog.

While I’ve been trying to turn myself into more of a morning person (one who isn’t ...

Read more

My inner voice is telling me to start vlogging, so here we go. The cream puff story from my last post, recounted a bit differently. I’d love your comments. This is my first “cream puff” of whatever this vlogging activity is to be.

Give Your Inner Critic a Cream Puff!

The phone rang. Actually, it buzzed, vibrating on the coffee table. I looked down, and there was my friend’s smiling face. I always enjoy seeing it–when I took the photo of her, I’d said, “Think of sex!” and she responded with a surprised laugh.

“Eric, are you home?” Yes. “Oh good! I have some Easter cheer for you. I’ll be over soon.”

Not much longer and there was a rapping, rapping, at my old front door. Once our fearsome miniature schnauzer, Riley, was under control, I went and greeted my smiling friend.

“I know how much you guys like cream puffs,” she said as she handed the foil-covered box of “Easter joy” to...

Read more

Hey there, everyone in Alaska (I’m getting traffic from there, don’t ask me why)!

Friday evening, the amazing pianist/composer Fernando Otero and I did a short performance in a packed room at the elegant Consulate General of Argentina. It was one of three shows that doubled as showcases for attendees at the Association of Performing Arts Presenters conference taking place this weekend in midtown Manhattan. We played selections from our soon-to-be-released album, Dual, compositions by Fernando arranged for cello and piano. It is a dream come true to have now performed several times with him.

Saturday morning Mr. Photographer and I slept in, having been up a bit late the night before...

Read more

Mr. Photographer and I headed over to Times Square last night, where nothing anyone does is going to attract much attention. Still, we had fun with some street performers.


I thought they were having fun. Maybe they were, but they also wanted tips! Well, they don’t have full-time college professor jobs.

There was a beautiful moment when a mother and her daughter stopped to listen for a couple of minutes. The little girl, about two and a half, waved and sang out, “bye bye” when they left. Several people stopped and took videos. Some puzzled smiles from people who seemed to recognize what I was playing–and also wondering, I imagine, why someone would be doing this when it...

Read more

It was almost five years ago when I stepped out of a subway car at 96th St. and Broadway, near the apartment I was living in while on sabbatical, and there was Dale Henderson, playing Bach, quite beautifully. I’d read about Dale, the Bach in the Subways guy, had wanted to meet him, and there he was, at my stop! Serendipity.

I’d told Dale I wanted to join in, too, and together we organized nine string players (that’s my memory) playing Bach on March 21, 2011, Bach’s birthday. It was, as I understand it, the first annual “Bach in the Subways Day,” which has now grown into a worldwide movement.


William Chapman Nyaho and Dale Henderson (photo by Tomek Berezinsk...

Read more

It’s a busy week, as I’m preparing for an APAP showcase performance with Fernando Otero on Friday night (celebrating the upcoming release of our new album “Dual”), and a recital with Taka Kigawa of Bach, Debussy, Schnittke, and Prokofiev on Tuesday the 19th at Spectrum, a relatively new venue in Greenwich Village. And Thursday through Sunday last week I was attending the Chamber Music America Annual Conference here in New York.

Sunday it was warm–nearly 60 degrees. But it was raining most of the day. As late afternoon approached, the skies cleared above Carnegie Hall (down the block from our hotel), and so Mr. Photgrapher and I grabbed the camera, the carbon-fibe...

Read more

In Central Park a few days ago, I was playing the Bach G Major Allemande.


Several people stopped to listen for a while. These two women, and a baby, stayed for the entire movement and perhaps a few more, taking photos and video. When I was done, I walked over to say hi and give them a flyer.


“May I ask you a question,” asked the lady on the left (mother of the lady on the right). “Of course,” I replied.

“Do you practice?”

I laughed a bit. “Of course!” She asked how much, and I explained that with concerts coming up 3-4 hours a day at minimum.

“I’m a music teacher in Alaska. I will be able to show my students the video of you playing th...

Read more

I wrote Thursday about my encounter with three NYPD Counterterrorism officers who were on duty that day at Columbus Circle. Mr. Photographer and I were headed into Central Park to take some #celloeverywhere photos when the desire to play Bach for these men suddenly hit me. When I approached to ask them, I got too close. Their supervisor yelled “STAND BACK!” I ended up playing, one of them asked if they could see the photos, and we gave them a flyer.


That night, I received an email from one of the officers, who had also found and liked the photos we posted on Instagram. He’s given me permission to post it here:

Subject: Counterterrorism NYPD


If we startled you with our req...

Read more