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Coach-cello comes to campus

BY KATHERINE LIPP | Evergreen music reporter

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The great thing about a festival is its variety of sounds and styles, but some instruments are capable of creating a melting pot of genres all on their own.

Assistant professor of music Ruth Boden will present her own version of a one-woman, one-instrument festival this Friday at 8 p.m. in Bryan Hall Theatre.

“The name of my recital is inspired by the festival. It’s like Lollapalooza but for cello,” Boden said. “I’m using a looping station to create bass lines, and even sounds like drum fills. I’m like a one-cello band, so it seemed like an appropriate title.”

The performance is simple and intricate. Boden will use a looping station onstage to create layers of electric cello carefully fashioned to imitate a full band, she said.

“The biggest challenge is controlling the texture of the loops to create different grooves so that it doesn’t all sound the same,” Boden said.

Although she comes from a background of classic training, Boden said she finds inspiration in a wide variety of genres. Her performance will include elements of classical, new age, rock and jazz all done through improvisation.

“I’m playing 100 percent my own original compositions. There are plenty of classical music quotes thrown into the mix. They make little guest appearances,” Boden said. “Electric cello feels entirely different to play because it has no body. It allows you to process more sound and use more effects. It takes all the natural sound out of the instrument and gives it a rocky artificial sound.”

Freshman cello performance and mathematics major Keadrin Dick said that Boden’s set isn’t definite, but rather an idea that’s waiting to be painted in.

“She’s going into the concert with an outline of what she’s going to play, but it’s not set in stone,” Dick said. “During the recital she’ll actually flesh it all out. She’s going to have some really cool build ups using the loop station where eventually there will be four different cello voices.”

Dick worked with Boden through multiple summer music camps before attending WSU. She said that it was Boden who introduced to her and her fellow cellists to many of the basics for cello improvisation.

“Dr. Boden taught us basic chord progressions and how to flex different chords on the cello. She told us that when doing basic improv, to just stick to the beat,” Dick said. “We had this huge jam session of cellos where we had to construct the melody and break off into more and more layers.”

Professor of Music Brad Ard said that he had the opportunity to work with Boden for his own recital last fall. The performance was Ard’s own fusion jazz compositions, and even through the challenging interpretive material, she seemed quite at home.

Ard said he feels the separation that exists between the various genres is something that can hold back all members of the musical community, and that those working toward collaboration like Boden, are truly making a difference.

“I think that she is one of the members of faculty that is really interested in connecting the different music departments. Her performance is a step in the right direction,” Ard said. “I’m really looking forward to her performance, it looks rather intriguing.”

Dick, although unable to attend the performance, said that the variety and musicality of the performance would not be one that any lover of music would want to miss.

“Dr. Boden likes modern stuff,” Dick said. “She’s going to take classical and contemporary styles and mash them all together so whatever kind of musical background you come from, she’s going to play something you’ll enjoy.”

This event is free to WSU students with a valid student ID. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for non-WSU students and those over 60.

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Coach-cello comes to campus