• it
  • en
HAPPENED TODAY - On November 12, 1944, the conductor and composer Edgar Stillman Kelley died in Oxford (Ohio)

Ryan Fitzpatrick


I contact Ryan Fitzpatrick, Term Assistant Professor of Music of the Department of Music, Cello and Music Education – University of Alaska Fairbanks. I ask him if he is available for an interview and he answers me
I’d be happy to answer your questions. Thanks for thinking of me!

So here is the first question: When did you start to play the cello, and why the cello and not another musical instrument?
I started playing the cello when I was 11 years old, which is older than most probably begin. I was impressed by the versatility, as demonstrated by the guest at my school.

Who was your first (or the most important) cello teacher?
My first cello teacher was Carol Semmes, a student Chicago Symphony cellist Karl Fruh. She always made me feel so capable and challenged at the same time. My undergraduate teacher was Emilio Colon at Indiana University, who demonstrated complete technique, artistry, and passion. Of course, there is also the work and teaching of his teacher, Janos Starker, and his grand-teacher, David Popper, to help me along the way!

When and where did you play in public for the first time?
My first public performance was for other students at my elementary school, after some time playing in the school orchestra.

What is the moment of your life as a cellist that you remember with more pleasure?
I remember playing as an assistant principal cellist in the Civic Orchestra of Chicago in which we rehearsed with Riccardo Muti. It was intimidating and exhilarating to work so closely with someone who has so much musical experience.

What is your favorite composer and which your favorite composition?
I thoroughly enjoy the works of Dvorak and Debussy. It is such a challenging question, to consider a favorite work… but among my favorites are Mahler’s Second Symphony, Dvorak’s American Quartet, and the Bach’s Suites and Gamba Sonatas.

Do you prefer to play alone, with other cellists, or with musicians who play other instruments?
I deeply enjoy the opportunity to play with others in chamber music or orchestra. I find the collaborative process to be motivating and inspiring as works take shape with the artistry of others.

Are there many cellists in your country?
The United States has many, many fabulous cellists. Alaska is surprisingly home to a high number of students and amateur cellists who love to play, primarily in the Fairbanks and Anchorage areas. Zuill Bailey is a frequent Alaska visitor for the Sitka festival and has performed with the Fairbanks Symphony on multiple occasions.

Are there job opportunities for cellists?
Alaska has a vibrant Suzuki education culture, as well as some orchestra positions in Fairbanks, Anchorage, and Juneau. Many of the cruise ships also hire quartets to play as ships travel the coastal regions.

If you were asked to organize a concert for children who have never attended a classical music concert, which compositions would you choose to play?
I would choose works with interesting histories that tell the story of the works themselves or the composers. As a teacher for nearly 15 years, I have found that students relate to these aspects more than others and can inspire unique relationships and feelings towards them.

What are your musical dreams for the future?
I hope to continue to teach and meet wonderful, interesting, and unique people along the way!

I am sure that this is also the dream of your students! I thank you for your time and I hope that your musical life will be really full of wonderful, interesting, and unique people