Cellist Clive Greensmith takes part in the Geneva Music Festival’s Virtual Season on Saturday, June 20, with an evening of solo cello music, including works by Bach and Cassadó. The event begins at 7 p.m. and will be livestreamed via the Festival’s YouTube and Facebook. Greensmith, former cellist of the Tokyo String Quartet and faculty member at the Colburn School of Music, in Los Angeles, California, is widely acclaimed as one of the great cellists of our time. Audience members will have the opportunity to take part in a Q&A throughout the performance.
“The Geneva Music Festival is very special and I’m a great fan of Geoff’s,” says Greensmith, speaking of GMF director Geoffrey Herd, whom he met when Herd was a graduate student at Yale. “I love to support my students in their efforts to create something long-lasting and beautiful and that’s what he’s done with this festival.”
During a career spanning three decades, Greensmith has given more than 100 performances a year in prestigious international venues as well as at prominent festivals worldwide. He has built up a catalog of landmark recordings, most notably The Complete Beethoven String Quartets for Harmonia Mundi with the Tokyo String Quartet, Mozart’s ‘Prussian’ Quartets with the Tokyo String Quartet, Brahms Cello Sonatas with Boris Berman for Biddulph Recordings, and Clarinet Trios of Beethoven and Brahms with Jon Nakamatsu and Jon Manasse for Harmonia Mundi. Most recently, Toccata Classics released a live recording of his world premiere performance of the Pál Hermann Cello Concerto with Theodore Kuchar and the Lviv International Symphony Orchestra.
During the shutdown, Greensmith has continued to teach students as a member of the faculty at the Colburn School. While his in-person studio class usually entails student performances, Greensmith notes they’ve pursued a different format in their virtual meetings: “We’re doing a lot more talking conceptually about things during the studio and then watching recorded videos of musical performances. We have, for example, compared 17 different versions of the prelude of Bach’s Cello Suite No. 4. The original in Bach’s hand doesn’t exist so we’ve been doing a bit of detective work to look at the different sources and see where they agree and disagree.”
When not teaching, he has been enjoying being home with his wife and their dog—something he hasn’t done for this long a stretch in 25 years. “I’ve taken this rare opportunity to learn a new Bach suite, as well as to dig deeper into different aspects of interpretation and share those with my students,” Greensmith explains.
Among the works he plans to present on Saturday are Bach’s Cello Suite No. 4 in E Flat Major and the Cassadó Suite for Cello Solo. “I’m glad for the opportunity to present this virtual performance; I miss sharing music with people all over the world as it’s been my privilege to do,” says Greensmith.