JUNE 21-July 16, 2021

Now Accepting Applications!

Have the Most Musically Rewarding Summer of Your Life

From the Comfort (and safety) of Your Own Home


An Intensive, 4-week Online Summer Program For Advanced Cellists Ages 15-22

Artistic Director, Kate Kayaian

VSCF 2021 faculty …

Peter Wiley, The Curtis Institute, Bard College Conservatory

Colin Carr, SUNY Stonybrook, New York

Gary Hoffman, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center


If you’re an advanced high school or college level cello student preparing for a career in music, then you already know just how important the summer months are to your future: from connections made, to new repertoire learned, to friendships forged.

The problem is, COVID-19 continues to throw a wrench in the works — making summer travel uncertain, causing summer festivals to be canceled, and putting your plans and your future on hold.

In these unprecedented circumstances:

Today’s students are heartbroken that they will lose out on the ability to connect with future teachers, work through their audition repertoire and experience the camaraderie of a summer music festival. 

Parents are worried that their son or daughter won’t be able to take advantage of these school-free months to make the progress that is expected. They feel torn between the desire to keep family members safe at home, and the fear that this summer will see their young musician slip behind their peers in terms of musical prowess.

Meanwhile, private teachers want to make sure their students are being exposed to other well-known pedagogues, connecting with their cellist peers, and getting that all-important boost of inspiration that comes with being surrounded by great artists in a festival atmosphere

Luckily, this time has also allowed us to embrace the possibilities of technology.

Thanks to the internet and improvements in video streaming applications, the world can come together like never before,

enabling students to… 

• Work with an all-star faculty team from around the world, with no geographic limitations, in both private lessons, and masterclass settings.

• Enjoy the focus and attention of being one of an exclusive group, instead of getting lost in a large scale, multi-instrumental program.

• Join an “inner-circle” of the next generation of cellists, taking a deep dive into the instrument, its players, its teachers, and the various career opportunities available.

• Work according to their own schedules, but with the support of a close-knit online community cheering them on and keeping them accountable

With so many talented young cellists’ plans for this summer thrown awry, it’s more imperative than ever that the classical community finds a way for them to: 

• Gain exposure to great teachers and performers

• Have opportunities to perform in masterclasses and studio classes

• Create personal connections with future teachers and colleagues

• Be held accountable for valuable time in the practice room

• Prepare for next year’s competitions and auditions

• Not waste an entire summer of musical growth

Christine Lamprea, Longy School of Music
Johannes Moser, International Soloist
Zlatomir Fung, Winner, 2019 Tchaikovsky Competition

Because these months are essential for your development as a cellist, we need to  make sure that you don’t lose out. 

You deserve to have all of the opportunities and benefits of a “normal” summer,


You can still learn and be coached on all of next year’s repertoire.

You can still work with and connect with the great cellists of our time.

You can still walk into your auditions feeling confident and prepared.

You can still give yourself a head start on college or grad school applications.

You can still spend your summer surrounded by inspiring artists and mentors.

And we are determined that this summer doesn’t have to mean that...

° You’ll lose an opportunity to connect with future peers and potential teachers 

° You’ll be heading into auditions and competitions unknown and unprepared

° You’ll miss out on months of practice room accountability

Ready to make this the most musically productive summer of your life? 

*Spots are extremely limited and by application only.

2021 faculty…

Darrett Adkins, The Juilliard School, Oberlin Conservatory

Elinor Frey, Montreal, Quebec, Canada


Richard Aaron, The Juilliard School, U of Michigan

Announcing the 2021


The 4-week Program that takes Advanced Cellists from “Left Behind” to “Ahead of the Game”


Four private lessons (60 minutes each)

Twice weekly Studio Classes and Group Meetings to talk about all things cello

Twice weekly Masterclasses with our Guest Faculty

• Workshops with Experts in various career paths (Orchestral, Chamber Music, Historical Performance and Improvisation)

Health and Wellness Seminar (Yoga, Alexander Technique, Strength Training for String Players, and Feldenkraise)

Career Skills Seminar (Networking, Crafting a bio, & building a teaching studio)

Performance Skills (Audition prep, Enhancing practice skills, Mindfulness, Habit-building for peak performance)

Technical gear Seminar (old and new!) learn how to take better care of your instrument, as well as how to build the skills needed for live streaming and video editing

Artistic Leadership. Learn from some of the top movers and shakers in the classical music world about how things are changing and how your future career relates to these changing times.

Q&A Sessions with some of the greatest cellists of our time

Daily Morning Warm-ups & Practice Check-ins with Peer-Accountability Partners

PLUS the intimacy of a smaller cello-only festival group means more focus and attention on YOU. 


• A Tech Equipment Kit including a sound-optimizing USB microphone

• Recordings of all interviews, studio classes, and masterclasses

Private Facebook Group for Participants

• Virtual Summer Cello Festival Swag

With Health And Wellness Experts…

Roxan Jurkevich of The Fit Musician, Strength Training for String Players

Elena Urioste of Intermission Sessions, Yoga

Lori Schiff, The Juilliard School, Alexander Technique

Uri Vardi, U. of Wisconsin, Madison, Feldenkrais Method™

Ready to learn from the best?

*Spots are extremely limited and by application only.

2021 guest artists…

Gloria Lum, Los Angeles Philharmonic

Mike Block, New England Conservatory of Music

Anne Francis Bayless, Fry Street Quartet



William Fedkenheuer, Miro Quartet

Suzanne Hegland, Director of the Writing Center,

New England Conservatory of Music

Ashleigh Gordon, Founder and Director of

Castle Of Our Skin

Ready to join the next generation of world-class cellists?


*Spots are extremely limited and by application only.


4 Private Lessons

Get 1:1 attention and guidance from VSCF faculty members to learn new works and build on existing repertoire

Accountability, Goal-setting and Daily Warm-Ups

Benefit from weekly group goal-setting calls, a practice accountability partner, and fresh motivation and tips to ensure your practice hours are as productive as possible

Weekly Studio Classes and Group Meetings

Regular group gatherings on Zoom will give students the opportunity to perform for each other in an informal setting and receive feedback on their works-in-progress

Expert Series with Specialists in Various Musical Fields

These workshops + Q&A sessions will expose students to different playing styles and career options, support them in their professional development, and connect them with some of today’s leading cellists.

Masterclass Series with Guest Faculty

Twice each week, prestigious guest artists will lead traditional performance masterclasses for the group, followed by Q&A sessions. Every student will have the opportunity to perform in at least one class. 

24/7 access to Private Facebook Group + Lifetime Access to All Recordings

Ask questions anytime, bond with your festival peers, get advice, and make friendships for life in our private online community (plus enjoy surprise Facebook Lives with world-class cellists!) 

PLUS a tech equipment kit, full tech support as needed, and festival swag (so you have “Virtual Cello Summer Festival 2021” gear to wear proudly in your practice room!)

Our Aim With This Program is to…

Keep you on track and focused on your musical and technical growth

Connect you with today’s greatest cello performers and pedagogues

Facilitate friendships amongst your cello-playing peers around the world

Provide a motivating and inspiring atmosphere, making this your best summer ever

You’ll walk away having…

• Had the chance to work with teachers you might audition for in the future

• Formed a connection and camaraderie with other cellists worldwide

• Benefited from career guidance and mentorship from experts in the field

• Made a huge head start on applying to college or grad school next year

• Made a year’s worth of progress in one summer 

With Guest Specialists:

Todd Reynolds, Music Technologist

Aubrey Bergauer, CEO, Changing the Narrative,

Arts Leadership

David Hathorne, Bowmaker


Artistic Director, Kate Kayaian

Praised for her “transcendent” performances and her “rich, soulful…and comforting” tone (Bermuda’s Royal Gazette), cellist Kate Kayaian enjoys a varied career of performing and teaching, and is an expert in using the online medium to expand the possibilities of classical music education. 

She performs and records regularly with the Grammy-award-winning group Boston Modern Orchestra Project, has premiered over 100 works by some of today’s most innovative composers, and has worked with such icons of contemporary music as Oliver Knussen and Pierre Boulez. Her latest project involves commissioning and recording a set of new works for solo cello, and highlights of her past season include performances in Boston’s Jordan Hall, the Stroum Center in Seattle, WA, the Memorial Classics Concert Series in Houston, TX, and the Charleston Library Society.

An active teaching artist and coach, Kate regularly offers workshops and masterclasses. Her teaching credits include directing the chamber music programs at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute and the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras. She currently teaches cello and chamber music online as well as at home in Bermuda.  

Born in Evanston, IL, she began her studies at the Music Institute of Chicago with the esteemed pedagogues Gilda Barston and Nell Novak.  She went on to receive her B.M. from the New England Conservatory. She was awarded a fellowship with the New World Symphony where she often served as principal cellist.  Her teachers have included Colin Carr, Gary Hoffman, and Ralph Kirshbaum. 


Are all Virtual Summer Cello Festival (VSCF) activities and classes held online? 

Yes!  VSCF is 100% Virtual. Students and Faculty will “meet” on Zoom and in our Private Facebook group.

What if the connection is too slow and sound quality is affected?

• We recommend increasing your bandwidth to 5 Mbps for maximum wifi-connectivity. We will also be providing technical support to students as needed.

When will my private lessons occur? 

Private lessons will be scheduled to take place throughout the duration of the festival, outside of the regular group sessions. Each participant will have the opportunity to request specific teachers, and those requests will be taken into consideration when assigning and scheduling lessons.  

How many students will be accepted? 

One of the goals of VSCF is to provide focused attention to all of the participants and to give each of them access to our amazing guest artists and faculty. For that reason, we will be limiting the number of participants to 30. If you are interested in participating as an auditor, please click here for more information. 

What makes VSCF different from other festivals?

VSCF is an intense program geared towards a small group of advanced cello students. The fact that chamber music and orchestral playing are not as feasible in the online realm allows us to keep the focus of the work on the individual students’ growth as cellists and performers. 

What else is included besides Lessons and Masterclasses?

In addition to the private lessons and masterclasses with esteemed guest artists, students will receive: 

• Daily warm-ups and practice tips 

• Practice accountability partner for each week 

• Weekly studio classes 

• Weekly sessions with experts in areas such as Health and Wellness, Performance Mindset and Practicing Skills, Creative Entrepreneurship, Audio/Visual Skills, and Leadership.

• Recordings of all lessons, studio sessions, and masterclasses

• Private Facebook Group to connect with other students and artists

Tech equipment kit with USB microphone

Want to be Surrounded by Greatness This Summer?

*Spots are extremely limited and by application only

Julia Lichten, Manhattan School of Music

Renée-Paule Gauthier, Mind Over Finger
Rob Knopper, Audition Coach


• You are an advanced High School or College-level Cellist, aged 15-22

• You are serious about your growth and improvement 

• You are interested in pursuing a career in music 

• You want to inspire and be inspired by peers and teachers around the world

*Spots are extremely limited and by application only


An Intermediate level student

Under the age of 15, or older than 23

An non-professional adult cellist

A professional cello teacher who wants to continue to grow

You still have the opportunity to be a Virtual Summer Cello Festival Auditor. As a VSCF Auditor, you’ll get:

• Access to All Masterclasses, Workshops and Expert Sessions

• Private FB group, with exclusive live sessions with our guest artists

• Virtual Cello Summer Festival swag

Don’t let a valuable summer slip by

*Spots are extremely limited and by application only.

A Message from Artistic Director, Kate Kayaian

Dear students, parents and teachers,

I started The Virtual Summer Cello Festival in April 2020 in response to the cancelations of many summer festivals due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 Coronavirus.  

Some of my fondest memories from my high-school and college summers were from attending music festivals such as Bowdoin, Encore, Tanglewood, the London Masterclasses, and the International Cello Festival at Royal Northern College. 

These were some of the most important weeks and months of my growth as a cellist, and as news of the cancelations of this year’s summer festivals started to flood my inbox, my heart broke at the thought of today’s students missing out on an entire festival season and being robbed of this important time in their musical development.

So I got to work, combining my knowledge of online teaching with my experience as a program director and festival faculty member at Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Killington Music Festival, and others…

… and gathered an All-Star Team of distinguished colleagues and mentors to create a program of offerings to give today’s cello students the summer of their dreams, and a leg-up on their future.

I’ve been teaching online for 6 years, and am thrilled to be expanding this practice to the festival format. VSCF is the first festival of its kind: designed from Day 1 to be 100% online, and on the cutting edge of today’s new (virtual) reality of music-making. 

Without geographical limitations, VSCF has brought together faculty and experts from all around the world to inspire, teach and mentor our next generation of cellists.

With this current online format, talent overrides geography, and our most-gifted young cellists can experience the benefits and growth of a festival summer, no matter where they are.

To live is not enough; we must take part.

Pablo Casals

*Spots are extremely limited and by application only.

With enormous thanks to our generous sponsors

Cecilia Rosin
Johnson String Instruments