JUNE 21-July 16, 2021

Details Regarding the 2021 Festival


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 2020 guest faculty …

Zlatomir Fung, Winner 2019 Tchaikovsky Competition, USA

Johannes Moser, Hochschule für Musik, Germany

Colin Carr, SUNY Stonybrook, New York


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 has thrown 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 need to keep family members 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

• Enjoy the focus and attention of being one of an exclusive group of 25, instead of 250 students

• 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

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.

2020 guest faculty…

Marcy Rosen, Mannes School of Music, NYC

Blaise Déjardin, Principal, Boston Symphony Orchestra


Jacob Shaw, Scandinavian Cello School

Announcing the 2020


The 7-week Program that takes Advanced Cellists from “Left Behind” to “Ahead of the Game”


Four private lessons (60 minutes each)

Weekly Studio Classes and Group Meetings to talk about all things cello

Weekly Masterclasses with our Guest Faculty

• Workshops with Experts in various musical fields

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 festival group of 25 participants 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

Cecilia Rosin by Cremona in America
Larsen Strings

Ready to learn from the best?

*Spots are extremely limited and by application only.

2020 guest artists…

Astrid Schween, The Juilliard School, NYC

Mike Block, New England Conservatory of Music, Boston

Rhonda Rider, Boston Conservatory at Berklee



Emily Taubl, Director of the Conservatory Audition Workshop, “How to Prepare for Every Audition”

Suzanne Hegland
Writing a Winning College Application or Scholarship Essay”

Dr. Noa Kageyama
“Practice Techniques for Optimal Performance”

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

Every Thursday, 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 2020” 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 faculty…

Eric Kim, Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University

Inbal Segev, Solo and Chamber Musician, NYC

Elinor Frey, Baroque Specialist, Montreal


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 will be providing each participant with a high quality USB microphone and headphones to help maintain the highest sound quality possible. 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 25. 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 orchestral playing, writing application essays for schools and grants, instrument maintenance, and Baroque and Contemporary performance techniques

• 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


• You are an advanced High School or College-level Cellist, aged 15-23

• 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 lover of all things cello (but not a cellist yourself)

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

• Access to replays of Masterclass 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 5 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 new 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.