HAPPENED TODAY - On December 7, 1887, the pianist and composer Ernst Toch was born in Leopoldstadt

Michèle Ferron

When I interview some cellist, he usually tells me that he started playing when he was very young, that dad and mom were musicians and, at home, they all lived on bread and music, but it doesn’t always happen that way, and not all children who are fascinated by a cello have the opportunity to start playing immediately. However, the dream remains, kept in a hidden corner of the heart, and it happens that sooner or later it turns into reality. This is what happened to Michèle Ferron, a nice Canadian cellist who has never stopped dreaming …
When and where did you see and hear a cello for the first time in your life?
I was really young, maybe 8 years old, when my best friend’s mom brought me a concert for the first time. It was wonderful! I don’t come from a family where you listen to music and we don’t have records or musical instruments at home. This woman opened a window to me in an extraordinary world that I could not have imagined without her. We got a season ticket for the Saturday morning concerts of the symphony orchestra. They were events organized specifically for children. This woman gave my life the color of joy. It made me discover Art, Beauty, and Nature. She was the most important person in my life.

When did you decide to learn to play the cello? And why exactly the cello? Is there, in particular, a cellist or a cello piece that gave birth to this desire?
I started playing in 2005, a quieter year than previous years in my professional and personal life. I decided to enroll in a cello course. I had been dreaming of it for years, but it hadn’t been possible before. Unfortunately, I just had time to start taking lessons that I got sick, and I had to quit, mainly because of financial problems. And, in the following years, I was too busy to think about it. Then, in 2017, in Venice during a concert by the singer Flo, I “fell in love” with his cellist, Marco di Palo. I was about to go home, I was leaving the next day. As soon as I got off the plane, I looked for a cellist professor, and, in the same week, I started lessons with Alejandro Calzadilla.

When did you start studying, what were the main difficulties you had to overcome? Did you find it harder to learn to use your right or left hand?
I was so naive! I grew up with the idea that the result depends only on the effort one is willing to make to achieve it. And I was ready to work hard. Unfortunately, it does not work exactly like that for the arts … I would say that I quickly fell out of my pink cloud. Everything has been (and still is!) difficult. When I focus on the left hand, the bow goes everywhere and, when I focus on the bow, the intonation would kill everyone with a barely sensitive ear. It is difficult for me to put it all together. And I’m not talking about interpretation … Another difficulty comes from my age. I started playing at 64. I already had a bit of pain here and there and getting all these old joints moving is not easy and it is often painful. But my professor is an angel of patience and knows how to adapt the lessons to my situation.

Were you able to find the teacher right for you right away, or did you have to change several teachers?
I have never changed teachers and I don’t want to. He knows me well and, knowing that I will never be able to play many complex compositions, such as studies, sonatas, etc … he helps me with great attention to slowly improve my sound. We focus on this.

[to be continued⇒]