Cellist of the Florestan Trio Hamilton Cheifetz takes up the role of Florestan professor of cello

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Cellist Hamilton Cheifetz | pdx.edu

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Portland State University College of the Arts has named Hamilton Cheifetz as its inaugural Florestan professor of cello.

Cheifetz, professor emeritus of cello at the university’s School of Music & Theater, is a founding member of the Florestan Trio, along with Carol Sindell and Harold Gray. The Florestan professor of cello role was established through a gift from an anonymous donor in honour of the significant contributions of the cellist to the arts at Portland State and the broader music community since the ensemble’s founding in 1977.

The Florestan Trio served as Portland State’s signature faculty trio in residence from 1977 until Gray retired in 2006, at which time Janet Guggenheim became the pianist of the trio. The members of the Florestan Trio have performed internationally for many years.

Cheifetz has worked extensively through community outreach, creating Inside Chamber Music, a class where anyone can learn about chamber music and its history, as well as the String Ensemble Community Outreach (SECO) programme, where student chamber music ensembles perform for underserved communities.

’Hamilton Cheifetz has mentored generations of young students and introduced yet others to music and its history,’ the donor said in a statement. ’The Florestan professor of cello is a fitting way to acknowledge him.’

’Through Hamilton Cheifetz’s impressive artistry, leadership, and dedication to mentoring the next generation of musicians, he has made indelible contributions to the reputation and curriculum of the School of Music & Theater,’ said Dr. Leroy E. Bynum, Jr., dean of the College of the Arts. ’The Florestan professor of cello will allow Hamilton to continue sparking joy in the lives of others through performance and music education.’

Cheifetz began playing the cello at the age of seven, and his first solo concerts with orchestra were at the age of eleven. He went on to study with János Starker at Indiana University, where he formed a lifelong friendship with the renowned cellist. Cheifetz became the teaching assistant to Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi at the University of Western Ontario, performed a solo recital in the Sydney Opera House, and performed at the White House for President Carter and members of Congress. He is the winner of the Piatigorsky Prize at Tanglewood.

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