Amanda Forsyth is at MRU.
The youngest principal cello ever selected by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra has returned. Forsyth played with the CPO for six years and was featured as a soloist in each of them.
Since then, she has graced the world’s stages, played with the likes of Yo-Yo Ma, Wynton Marsalis and recorded the sound track for Ken Burns’ 7-part television film about World War II. She and her husband, violinist/conductor Pinchas Zukerman are back and giving back in Calgary at the MRU Conservatory.
In her masterclass in the TransAlta Pavillion, about a dozen lucky cellists are getting an insight into what it takes to take their craft to the next level. Nervous fingers clutch the instruments awaiting the master’s critique. “More strength,” Forsyth suggests, “if you can play with a stronger tone, then you’re four bars in and you’ve already had some fun.”
Her passion for the instrument is very much apparent. It is an extension of her body whether she’s playing, coaching or tucking it in the crook of her arm as she sips some much needed water. “Welcome to Calgary,” she jokes about the dryness she once knew.
The MRU Conservatory students are a bit shell-shocked. But, one by one, they sit taller and play, learning some valuable insider information from a master. A master who was once in their shoes; raw developing talent ready to take the world stage.
Forsyth smiles as she coaches, maybe reminiscing about her time as a student cellist, maybe about her time in Calgary, and just maybe about the potential of adding the names of these budding students to the list of artists she has collaborated with.