Cello Fury Bio
A cello rock powerhouse featuring three cellists and a drummer, Cello Fury's original music combines the symphonic sounds of the cello with driving rock beats. The band's cinematic, progressive rock sound appeals to a diverse audience throughout the United States and abroad. Cello Fury's multi-faceted approach to performing, which combines high-energy live shows, music education, workshops, and tours, has allowed the band to perform over 100 concerts yearly in venues ranging from classical music halls and rock clubs to schools and music festivals. As an independent band, Cello Fury has released two albums of original music, “Cello Fury” and “Symphony of Shadows”, with a third to be released in 2018.
Past notable shows include entertaining a crowd of 67,000 during an NFL half time show, headlining the Three Rivers Arts Festival, and performing three sold-out shows at the Byham Theater on New Year's Eve. Cello Fury performed official showcase performances for two years straight at the largest music festival of its kind in the world, “South By Southwest” (SXSW). Cello Fury was selected to perform at the “Americans for the Arts” national convention as well as at the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) annual conference. Cello Fury presented an interactive performance workshop at the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) national conference. Three of Cello Fury's band members performed as cello soloists with Marvin Hamlisch and the Pittsburgh Symphony Pops Orchestra, performing and orchestrating two works for the orchestra. Cello Fury was featured on the cover of the indie music publication, Vents Magazine, and was featured on the cover of the Pittsburgh City Paper's "City Guide". Cello Fury was chosen as one of Skope Magazine's "Artists to Watch". Feature articles on the band have been written in various newspapers throughout the US, highlighting both performances and the band's dedication to music education.
Connecting with artists across genres, Cello Fury has collaborated with dance companies, theater organizations, opera and orchestras as well as with rock bands and singer-songwriters. Composers as well as performers, Cello Fury's band members have orchestrated their original works for string and symphonic orchestras, performing as amplified soloists with classical ensembles. Collaborating as multi-disciplinary artists, Cello Fury's original music was featured and performed live by the ensemble in three full-length ballets with Bodiography Contemporary Ballet. The band has performed alongside Texture Contemporary Ballet in productions of "Blur" and "Interfusion". The band's style of rock and classical fusion has become a favorite among dance choreographers in the US and Germany. Cello Fury was presented as soloists with the multi-modal performing arts company, Resonance Works, in a concert that showcased both traditional classical music as well as Cello Fury's modern compositions. Highlighting the event was the performance of "Bachianas Brasilieras" with coloratura soprano Meghan Picerno and members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's cello section. Cello Fury has worked with theater company, Bricolage Productions, for four of their “Midnight Radio” shows, performing as featured musical guests and foley artists. The band has backed local and national artists such as B. E. Taylor, Scott Blasey of The Clarks, Tift Merritt, Bill Deasy, Joy Ike, and more, has appeared on soundtracks for indie films and albums.The ensemble premiered International Opera Theater's "La Bisbetica Domata" by Efrain Amaya in Italy, which showcased Cello Fury on stage as solo instrumentalists. This opportunity also allowed the band to perform solo concerts throughout Italy. Cello Fury premiered and recorded two classical works written especially for their ensemble of electro-acoustic instruments, and are featured on the album, "Other Sun" (2011) by composer Nancy Galbraith.
In addition to an active performance and touring schedule, the band focuses on inspiring young musicians and giving back to the community. Each year, Cello Fury performs for thousands of young people throughout the mid-Atlantic states. Cello Fury partners with "Artivate" (formerly "Class Act Arts") in the Maryland and Washington DC area and "Young Audiences of New Jersey and Eastern PA" to present interactive programs and workshops at schools. In 2013 alone, Cello Fury reached approximately 15,000 children through 60 outreach concerts. In 2015-2016, Cello Fury performed for 20,000 children through 60-plus outreach concerts across six states. Each summer, Cello Fury leads four weeks of an alternative strings camps for aspiring musicians. In 2017, there were 100 participants ranging in age from 7 to 18. Cello Fury has also worked with hundreds of students through the Pittsburgh Public School's “Summer Dreamers” camp.
Cello Fury proudly endorses Thomastik-Infeld Strings.
Pittsburgh Cello Quartet Bio
Four young cellists joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in 2014 and decided to channel their enthusiasm and artistry into a creative new ensemble: the Pittsburgh Cello Quartet. Recognized for both refinement and versatility, the PCQ engages audiences with its eclectic, memorable programming. Founded by Bronwyn Banerdt, Michael DeBruyn, Charlie Powers, and Alexandra Thompson, the quartet is passionate about exploring the rich and varied catalog of original compositions for four cellos, complementing these works with transcriptions of Baroque masterpieces, Renaissance madrigals, and PCQ’s own arrangements of popular favorites from the Beatles and Billy Joel to U2 and Guns ’N Roses. PCQ performers at Pittsburgh Cello Fest 2018 include Charlie Powers, Will Chow, Michael Lipman and Mikhail Istomin.
In May 2017, the Pittsburgh Cello Quartet made its highly anticipated Pittsburgh concert debut at the Hollywood Theater, presented by Chamber Music Pittsburgh. In July, the PCQ was a featured guest ensemble at the Frostburg State University Summer Music Academy in Frostburg, Maryland. Other recent and upcoming Pittsburgh area performances include return appearances at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, Heinz Hall, and a performance of the PCQ’s own arrangement of the Star-Spangled Banner at a Pittsburgh Pirates game.
In addition to its regular performance schedule, the PCQ inspires young people through innovative educational programs. Already in demand at schools throughout the Pittsburgh region, the PCQ is devoted to cultivating artistic expression, beauty, and joy in future generations. The members of the quartet are also actively involved in their community, serving on the faculty of Carnegie Mellon University, coaching the students of the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestra, and maintaining private teaching studios.
The Pittsburgh Cello Quartet’s members are each distinguished individual artists, frequently appearing around the world as soloists and chamber musicians. They have played in some of the world’s greatest orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, and Lyric Opera of Chicago. PCQ members hold degrees from the most prestigious institutions in the USA, including the Curtis Institute, Juilliard School, Cleveland Institute, and New England Conservatory. They have studied and performed chamber music with such luminaries as Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Kim Kashkashian, Ricardo Morales, Mitsuko Uchida, and members of the Guarneri, Emerson, Borodin, Cleveland, and Juilliard Quartets. Festival appearances include Marlboro, Tanglewood, Aspen, and Banff.
FLAME is comprised of four powerhouse cellists and a hard-hitting drummer. The combination of forces directly reflects their desire to burn down the bridge between classical music and rock. The fusion of classically trained players lighting up classic rock tunes as well as current pop music creates a sound inferno that is unexpected and energizing for all ages. The players are based in Pittsburgh and Youngstown. Collectively, FLAME’s cellists have performed in up to 40 symphony orchestras. While FLAME musicians made their way in the classical world, each one has grown up listening to many other genres of music. It’s through this combination that FLAME ignites popular and classic rock favorites. FLAME cellists are Robin Hasenpflug, Elise Henkelman, Stevie Zitkovich and Cecilia Caughman with drummer Andy Hasenpflug. Read below for individual band member bios.
Robin Hasenpflug grew up in Western New York and began cello at age 9. Her parents are classical music lovers and her dad is also a jazz aficionado. At a very early age, Robin was exposed to Beethoven and Bach juxtaposed with the music of Buddy De Franco, Stan Getz and other iconic jazz musicians. She attributes her multiple-genre taste not only to immersion in these sounds, but her own tastes in rock. Robin calls Pittsburgh her home but plays nationally and internationally. She is a rostered artist with the Great Lakes Performing Artist Associates through which she is booked as a soloist as well as with her duo, The Hasenpflug Duo. She is a member of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra and has performed overseas as a solo artist, chamber musician and opera orchestra member. Closer to home, Robin is principal cellist of the Butler Symphony, Ohio Valley Symphony as well as performing regularly with the Erie Philharmonic and Wheeling Symphony. On the flip side of her musical life, Robin has shared the stage with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Josh Groban and Michael Bublé.
Elise Henkelman is a cellist in Pittsburgh who loves making sound of all varieties. She is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University with degrees in Cello Performance and Music Education. It is her goal to inspire audiences and students to pursue art and deep expression, regardless of the genre. Elise can be seen on stage with orchestras such as the Wheeling Symphony as well as theater companies and bands including the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. She teaches in several venues throughout Pittsburgh. Elise is director of the music department at the Waldorf School of Pittsburgh where she teaches young cellists with the Suzuki method. Elise is passionate about making the arts accessible and instilling a love of music and beauty in all who listen.
Stevie Zitkovich is an active cellist based out of Youngstown, Ohio. Her love for rock and pop music began very early age. For instance, Stevie knew all the words to Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall by age five. At age nine, she began cello studies and over time fused her love of all things rock and pop with her classical cello skills. Stevie’s teachers include Michael Gelfand, 3-time Grammy winner Zuill Bailey, and internationally renowned cellist, Kivie Cahn-Lipman. She performs frequently with the Warren Philharmonic Orchestra, Greenville Symphony Orchestra (PA), Youngstown Scoring Stage, Warren Civic Chorus, and Youngstown Symphony Orchestra. Some of Stevie’s notable performances include playing alongside Phil Keaggy and Earth Wind and Fire. She has also performed with Opera Circle Cleveland, Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra (NM), and the Juarez Symphony Orchestra (Mexico). Stevie is no stranger to the recording studio, as she has recorded solo tracks for several local artists in northeast Ohio.
Cecilia Caughman is originally from Cleveland, Ohio where she took up the cello at age 8. She went on to complete performance degrees at the Cleveland Institute of Music and Carnegie Mellon University. Now living and working in Pittsburgh with her tubist husband, John, Cecilia maintains a busy schedule of both classical and non-classical performances. She is a member of Kamraton, a new music chamber group, and plays regularly with the Erie Philharmonic, Westmoreland Symphony and Johnstown Symphony, among others. On the rock side of things, Cecilia has played with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Evanescence and, of course, FLAME. She is also passionate about teaching and spreading the love of music. When she is not playing the cello, she works (and eats) at one of Pittsburgh’s finest bakeries.
Andy Hasenpflug, drummer has been beating on pots and pans since childhood. At age 12 he added real drums and cymbals to his arsenal, and he has been performing ever since. Andy has drummed with a diverse set of collaborators, including the US Air Force Band, countess theater troupes, dance companies from every continent, rock groups, and many orchestras. He has advanced degrees in both percussion and composition, but mostly just likes banging out rhythms with relentless energy. Andy is the musical director in the modern dance department of Slippery Rock University. He is their resident accompanist, composer and teacher of music for dance. Andy is a multi-instrumentalist and can be heard demonstrating electronica both vocally and instrumentally in the Hasenpflug Duo with his wife, cellist Robin Hasenpflug.