Kate Dillingham, cellist made her first appearance with orchestra in 1998 with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra "The Seasons" at the Gneissin Institute in Moscow and with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic at the Yusupov Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. Since then, she has enjoyed an active career as a soloist and collaborative artist in the United States and abroad. A student of Bernard Greenhouse, she was awarded a full scholarship to attend and later, graduated summa cum laude from Rutgers University. She also studied with Maria Tchaikovskaya at the Moscow Conservatory. In 1999, she recorded Concertos nos. 1 and 2 of Haydn with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra "The Seasons" in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory which is available on Connoisseur Society Records. In 2000, Ms. Dillingham collaborated with Blair McMillen on a recording of French music, marking her second for Connoisseur Society Records. Ms. Dillingham made her New York debut at Merkin Concert Hall in April 2002 where she premiered two works;"Chant" by Augusta Read Thomas and "Suite for Solo Cello" by Jennifer Higdon. The press deemed her "an excellent cellist; dignified, intelligent and compelling. An adventurous, dedicated champion of contemporary music, she performed with admirable control, conviction and authority." In May 2002, she was invited to perform at the Supreme Court of the United States for the celebration of the publishing of "Some Memories of a Long Life" by Malvina Shanklin Harlan. In September, Ms Dillingham returned to Russia to record concerti by Victor Herbert and Witold Lutoslawski, Dvorak's "Silent Woods" and Higdon's "Soliloquy" with the Moscow Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Alexei Kornienko. Ms. Dillingham appeared at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in January 2003 for the 50th anniversary of the museum's Concert and Lectures Series for which she commissioned Guggenheim award winning composer Louise Beach.
A major moving force in twentieth-century music, Witold Lutoslawski has dedicated himself to sonic beauty above all else. But rather than move in the direction of impressionism, he has managed to build form from sound - a meticulously worked-out structured form derived from conflict. Few other composers have come close to requiring and eliciting the degree of attention to detail from conductors and performers that Lutoslawski's scores demand, but the rewards are clearly worth the effort.
Commissioned by the great Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, Lutoslawski's Cello Concerto might be thought of as a series of adventures for the solo cello in dialogue with and often bullied by sections of the orchestra, particularly the brass. The three distinct sections of the single movement flow through a wide range of emotional expressiveness, achieving a fine balance between lamenting melodic lines and mercurial scherzo-like writing. The solo cello and the orchestra are often argumentatively opposed in a conflict that ultimately becomes a veritable sonic battle.
Contemporary American composer Jennifer Higdon describes her "Soliloquy," originally written for solo English horn and strings, as "a purely musical statement, as if the soloist were making a speech, supported by the string orchestra." The lyric line written in a high tessitura makes this work particularly well-suited to the voice of the solo cello. Kate Dillingham performs the work here in her own transcription.
The rapt, hushed opening melody of Dvorak's "Silent Woods" reveals an almost symphonic breadth and flexibility as it unfolds, supported by subtly dovetailed fragments of countermelody. A central motif suggesting a hunting-horn's repeated notes proves a source of some emotional conflict. Dvorak then wisely curtails the return to the calm initial theme, and all tensions are resolved when the repeated-note figure restores tranquility near the close.
It was hearing Victor Herbert's debut performance of his Cello Concerto No. 2 that inspired Antonin Dvorak to write his own cello concerto, which is, of course, one of the greatest works in the cello repertoire. Although Herbert's composing skill is on a far lower artistic plane than Dvorak's mastery, his Second Concerto is a period piece of undeniable charm, written to emphasize the cello's most appealing lyric qualities and unfailingly euphonious in its frank Romanticism.
Nearly all of the opening Allegro impetuoso grows from two very brief, thematically related motifs, presented as an ardent "question" in the lower strings and interrupted by a militant "answer" in the violins and winds, immediately followed by a repetition of the question and answer motifs. The first solo episode is based on the question; the second, introducing a faster tempo, expands the answer; and in the unfolding narrative, both motifs undergo chameleon-like changes of mood. A quiet solo passage in high-register harmonics initiates a bridge to the Andante tranquillo slow movement, featuring serenely tuneful outer portions framing a central section with moods ranging from agitation to meditation.
The third movement returns to the tempo and mood of the opening. After some recapitulation and a cadenza, Herbert's clever artifice combines the theme of the slow movement (cello) with the opening "answer" (orchestra) in an energetically flowing passage. He then moves on to happy transformations of the opening motifs presented in cannily contrived superimpositions and interspersed with scherzo-like solo passagework. A final statement of the "question" then leads to a confident conclusion.