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  • Paul Dwyer, assistant principal cello

Contagious Solitude


Have you ever wondered what musicians do during a pandemic? Back in March, within weeks of the Ring cancellation, I embarked on a hopeful, little project: “COVID-19: Contagious Solitude.” I started asking composer friends, old and new, to write new solo cello pieces in reaction to the current crisis. My primary goal has been to find meaningful ways to connect with fellow musicians and create art while real-life concerts have temporarily ceased to exist and we are all confined to our own spaces – physically and emotionally. The responses I’ve received have been overwhelmingly positive and this project has created some beautiful and touching results expressing a huge variety of emotional conditions. I am so grateful to all of the composers who agreed to participate and contribute their time and art.


As for my end of the deal: I’ve been diligently learning and recording these pieces and posting videos of them online – and what a journey it has been! Three of them are up already, three more are currently on my practice stand and there are at least three more in the pipeline. All of these pieces have meant a lot to me and have kept my fingers and mind active during this time when concert cancellations keep rolling in and the date of our next rehearsal or our next live performance is still unknown.


I do look forward to the day when I can perform these new works for you live. I envision a time when the pandemic is solidly in our rearview mirror and each of these pieces will remind someone in the audience of how they felt at some point during that time: lonely, frenzied, contemplative, angry, galvanized?


Meanwhile, you can see each video on my website!

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