Portland Cello Project

Most working cellists play in classical ensembles that perform in concert halls and music theaters. Tonight, Columbia's Rose Music Hall features a different take on the instrument. The Portland Cello Project is an ensemble interested in testing the boundaries of what you expect from the cello.

When Amit Peled was 10, his parents gave him a gift: a cassette of music by cello master Pablo Casals. Peled had no classical background; his parents were not musicians. He says his own budding interest in the cello was a scam, a way of getting close to a girl in his town who happened to play the instrument. And yet, every night, he would fall asleep with the tape playing from a boombox beside his bed. The music made an impression.

Tarina Westlund

Portland Cello Project is a collective of classically trained cellists that came out of, you guessed it, Portland, in 2007. And they’re bringing the cello to pop culture, playing music that you may not normally associate with the instrument.  They’ve played everywhere from a punk rock club in Fargo North Dakota to a sports bar in Lubbock Texas.  I spoke with the group’s artistic director Doug Jenkins who started off by explaining how the group began.