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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Cello prof shares skills outside the classroom

    Tucsonans have a rare opportunity to see classical music performed in a chamber setting this Saturday at 8 p.m. at Grace St. Paul Episcopal Church.

    The Arizona Chamber Orchestra will have its Tucson debut performance following the group’s first-ever performance in Tempe on Friday.

    Among the 12 performers is one of UA’s very own faculty members, a professor of cello at the UA School of Music, Mark Votapek.

    Having played cello for 35 years, Votapek sees the instrument not as something he does, but who he is.

    “”It’s what I do. It’s been the main point of my life since I was 12. There’s a great quote from (famous music educator Shin’ichi Suzuki): ‘You can only play your instrument on the days that you eat,'”” he said.

    Votapek was an undergrad at Indiana University and got his masters at the New England Conservatory in Boston. He performed in orchestras for 15 years before he was appointed professor of cello at the UA.

    Votapek sees performing with the Arizona Chamber Orchestra as a unique opportunity to play in a less popular venue.

    With chamber music, “”it’s a wonderful combination of having your own artistic say but you also get to play in a group,”” Votapek said. “”It’s just small enough.””

    The program includes works by Mozart and Rossini.  It also includes Dvo?_ak’s “”Serenade for Strings,”” a famous late Romantic work.

    When asked about his musical philosophy, Votapek said, “”You don’t think of your philosophy of how to breathe, you just do it. If you don’t, you die.””

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