Cellissimo is the senior performing cello ensemble of the joint programs of the Western Springs School of Talent Education and the Naperville Suzuki School, both of which are located in the western suburbs of Chicago. All members of the group are students of Sally Gross and Alex Revoal. Currently, the youngest member is 10 and the oldest is 17. The cello students and their parents are committed to the philosophy of Shin'ichi Suzuki, which combines the love of music with the dedication and commitment to high standards.
The group rehearses weekly under the leadership of Sally Gross and Alex Revoal. The group performs locally in the western suburbs of Chicago and has twice been invited to perform at the Suzuki Association of the Americas conferences (2010, 2017). Since 2010, the group has gone on tour to Canada twice as well as performing in Milwaukee and Appleton WI, St. Louis, MO, South Bend, IN and Kalamazoo, MI. The group is currently preparing for their 2019 tour to Denver, CO.
Cellissimo performs throughout Chicagoland at corporate events, parties, community events and more!
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Released in October of 2017, Cellissimo is the eponymously-titled debut album of the advanced cello performance group of the Western Springs School of Talent Education and the Naperville Suzuki School. The repertoire ranges from classical to original compositions for cello ensemble to pop arrangements. They perform unison repertoire with and without piano, and ensemble music up to nine voices. Because the cello has a range of roughly five octaves, and can produce a variety of timbres and textures, it is particularly well-suited to same-instrument ensemble playing.
Reflections on the recording experience
It has been quite a journey beginning with a tremendous amount of practicing by some very talented kids. These students are excellent cellists and are a joy to work with every week at rehearsal. Bravo to you all! Lots of rehearsals and performances throughout the year brought the group tighter together and many details were flushed out. Alex and I spent hours on the editing throughout the summer. I would like to thank Rob Waller, our recording engineer for all of his patience and Ryan Caparella for his artwork on CD. And a big shout out to Ed Kreitman for his belief in Cellissimo.
Sally Gross Co-Director
Making the CD was frustrating yet rewarding at the same time. As a group we had to be very accurate and exactly in unison for the recording to pick up what we wanted. By the end of recording each piece, we had mastered all of the difficult spots of the piece because of how many times we had to play them through. This was definitely a fun and challenging experience.
Scott Morgan Cellissimo alum
Although recording days were sometimes a tedious process - making sure every note was in tune and every part was in unison- the experience gave me a whole new perspective on music making and music sharing. All of Cellissimo had assumed an immense amount of focus, determination, and effort that we didn't know we could hold for hours at a time. Working together to create a CD that now demonstrates all of our hard work over the course of last year was an incredible opportunity and a feeling I will never forget.
Maeve Masterson Cellissimo alum
I am very proud of the final product, but I am even more proud of the enormous effort the kids put into the recording process, and the incredible growth they got out of it. I think the learning process was invaluable, and I see the kids thinking differently now about the precision and attention to detail it takes really to polish a piece well, especially when playing as an ensemble. Mark Summer's Julie-O was originally written for a single cellist to play without accompaniment. It features a number of extended techniques that were new to a lot of the kids; it features intricate rhythms in some places, and free ad-libbed passages in others. I think it speaks to the value of having a group class experience from the very beginning of study that by the time the kids get to the Cellissimo level, their ensemble skills are so highly developed that they can play a piece like Julie-O in unison and from memory as well as they did. And their performance if Nearer My God to Thee is breathtaking!
Alex Revoal Co-Director
November 10: Cellissimo performs at Elmhurst Christian Reform Church services
January 12: Cellissimo performs at First Congregational Church of Western Springs services
February 21-March 1: Cellissimo Tour to Iowa City
May 3: Cellissimo Concert at St. Timothy Church, Naperville (tickets available beginning in March)