VC INTERVIEW | Cellist Juliana Soltis – ‘Going Off Script’ With Bach’s Solo Cello Suites

The Violin Channel just lately caught up with American Baroque cellist, Juliana Soltis to achieve some fascinating perception into her new recording venture: ‘Going Off Script’.

The three-disc set explores the long-lost observe of spontaneous improvisation and historical-informed ornamentation on Bach’s Six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello.




Hello Juliana. Inform us about your new modern ‘Going Off Script’ venture? 

”Going Off Script revives the long-lost custom of spontaneous improvisation, or ornamentation, in Bach’s Six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello.

The album simply launched on September 10th, and I’m touring the venture all through the 2019-2020 season!

All the venture is constructed upon the concept the Bach we all know is barely the start, and I’m excited to share and discover this idea with audiences over the subsequent 9 months”


What precisely is the thought of improvised ‘historical-informed ornamentation’ and the way have you ever utilized this to your venture?

”As an idea, ornamentation is the act of finishing the compositional course of within the second of efficiency.

Composers like Telemann, Bach, and Vivaldi left areas of their works for every performer so as to add their very own touches and basically full the piece in their very own manner.

What’s great about this observe is that it means the work is created anew each time it’s performed! Once we describe ornamentation as “traditionally knowledgeable,” it simply means we’ve made performative selections based mostly on analysis.

For this venture, I spent months researching and experimenting on the cello. Ornaments are often reserved for repeated materials (consider the dance actions), however they add to the improvised high quality of the preludes, as effectively”


Why do you are feeling this, in right now’s surroundings, is essential?

”Ornamentation is completely concerning the energy of the second.

Bach is writing in a world crippled by existential nervousness following the 30 Years Warfare, the place recording expertise isn’t even a distant dream and the musical tradition prizes this observe that ensures the music isn’t the identical from one efficiency to the subsequent.

Ornamentation makes the act of musicking so ephemeral as to root us within the second (lest we miss it!), and I feel that within the Age of FOMO and the 24-hour information cycle, that’s one thing all of us crave”


How have you ever acquired this historic information?

”Analysis! Detractors of historically-informed efficiency like to level to the absence of recordings as a significant stumbling block, however sources describing historic music and the way it was carried out abound!

There are treatises (technique books), private correspondence, diaries, official data – it’s time-consuming, however there’s a wealth of knowledge on the market available”


Who’ve been your most important influences?

”Yo-Yo Ma’s Impressed by Bach collection was a watershed second in my younger life. Listening to Pieter Wispelwey play all six suites in a single go at Lincoln Heart was insane.

However non-classical influences have been simply as essential for me, particularly in creating an improvisational mindset. Ella Fitzgerald’s alternate takes are like a masterclass on ornamentation. Queen, Stevie Surprise, David Bowie – none of them ever let themselves be outlined by a single “sound.”

That sort of creativity can’t assist however be inspiring to a younger performer”


What ideas and recommendation do you’ve gotten for violinists and cellists eager to discover their very own private interpretations of Bach’s solo works?

”Know the place you come from: we get pleasure from an unbelievable recorded custom of Bach, and the variations between Casals, Fournier, and Rostropovich will be wildly inspiring.

Analysis, experiment, discover, and make knowledgeable selections: historic efficiency won’t be your factor – and that’s okay – however as performers we must always all the time be making aware selections relating to interpretation.

And don’t be afraid to forge your individual path.

If I had listened to everybody who ever instructed me “we don’t decoration Bach,” I’d have missed out on essentially the most difficult and rewarding expertise of my profession”


What do you hope listeners will take away with them out of your venture?

”Whether or not they’re listening to the album or within the viewers with me on tour, I hope listeners will come away with a way of empowerment: that the Bach cello suites should not dusty museum items to be commemorated from afar, however quite dwelling artistic endeavors with which they will actively have interaction.

Reviving the observe of ornamentation in Bach restores the viewers to a job of lively participation in a singular second, and I feel that’s an exquisite factor”


If readers wish to be taught extra, what books and assets would you counsel?

”Should you’re new to historic efficiency, Bruce Haynes’ guide The Finish of Early Music is a superb first learn.

IMSLP is overflowing with a wealth of historic treatises which have just lately been digitized, and it’s additionally an awesome place to search out music by historic composers you don’t know (but!).

Should you’re on the lookout for some hands-on expertise, there are a selection of great summer time packages that supply alternatives to discover historic devices and strategies, together with the Baroque Efficiency Institute at my alma mater, Oberlin.”


Going off script

Juliana Soltis, Baroque Cello

J. S. Bach, Suites for solo cello

Label: King Avenue Data

Launch Date: September 10, 2019



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