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Connecting people through demonstration:
• Connecting with Portuguese cello colleagues: I will present four concertinos I composed, featuring performances by students—two from Slovenia and two from Portugal, involving my Portuguese cello colleagues.
• Connecting on stage and with students: I will conclude the demonstration with a cello ensemble of my students, performing alongside them.
• Connecting with parents: Providing support for children’s development requires the collaboration of parents and cooperation with teachers.
• Connecting with a piano accompanist.
• Connecting among cello teachers and a composer.
There is a significant gap in the pedagogical repertoire available for children in their early years of learning the cello. When I discuss this with cellists outside Slovenia, we observe the same issue. I have composed Four Concertinos for cello and piano specifically designed for young cello pupils. Since their publication, these Concertinos have become an integral part of pedagogical choices here in Slovenia. They serve as a bridge to more challenging repertoire composed by cellists, incorporating specific methodical and technical requirements tailored to a certain stage of development. The Concertinos aid children in establishing good habits with the instrument, fostering awareness of their bodies, developing physical movement habits, learning fluid movements, and mastering basic bowing manners. Importantly, children thoroughly enjoy playing them. I would like to present the Concertinos to cello teachers as an option for the gradual development of their students.
These concertinos were composed with the aim of creating simple music in Sonata form, aligned with specific methodical goals. Each concertino is dedicated to one of my students who served as inspiration, providing ideas for the specific character of the music and melodies. As the number of concertinos progresses, the level of difficulty increases. The concertinos are written in Sonata-Allegro form with carefully selected tonalities. The second theme is composed in the Dominant key during the exposition and in the Tonic key during the recapitulation. With this approach, the student plays an already familiar sequence, but shifted one string lower. An exception is Concertino No. 4.
I first formed a cello ensemble with my talented students in 2010 when I first toured Portugal with my class. I always guided and played with them in the ensemble. Since then, we have played regularly, each year in different cities in Slovenia, three times in Portugal (including the Azorean Islands), and twice in France. The size of the ensemble depends on the current class situation and changes each year, with younger students joining more experienced ones. The ensemble performs original works as well as transcriptions that I have made.
About the speaker
Sanja Repše, Cello
Sanja Repše started playing the cello at the age of 12. Just a few months later, she received her first award in a national competition. She won the Competition of Young Musicians in Slovenia in 2000 in the cello solo category and in 2002 with the Slovenian Piano Trio. Sanja has received awards in international competitions in Italy, Germany, Croatia, and Austria.
In September 1999, she passed the entrance exams at the State Conservatory P. I. Tchaikovsky in Moscow, studying in the class of Prof. I. Gavrish. After receiving her diploma in Moscow, she returned to Slovenia to pursue a post-degree program at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana with Prof. C. Skerjanc, earning a diploma with the qualification of cellist specialist. In October 2006, she became a student in the class of Prof. J. Barhte at the Ecole Normale De Musique de Paris, and in April 2008, she obtained the Diplome de concertiste. The following year, she attended a post-degree program with Prof. Natalia Gutman at the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole.
She gives concerts around Europe as a soloist with orchestra, solo recitals, and chamber music concerts, collaborating with young musicians from different European countries.
In 2004, she started teaching at Music Studio Tartini in Ljubljana. She leads a young but very successful class. Her students are winners of national and international competitions. Currently, she is teaching at the Conservatory of Music and Ballet in Ljubljana and Music Studio Tartini. In 2010, 2013, and 2018, she gave concerts with her students around Portugal, and in 2011 in France’s capital, Paris.
With her best students, she formed a cello ensemble in 2010, for which she creates her own transcriptions. The ensemble provides young students with the opportunity to make music together with their professor and to perform as soloists with accompaniment. They learn the roles of being soloists, accompanying, and playing in a chamber music ensemble.
In 2008, she conducted her first masterclass. Since then, she has consistently taught at various masterclasses in festivals and schools.
She is the co-author of “First Steps,” a book for cello beginners. Recognizing the need for pedagogical material for cellists in their early years of learning, she composed Four Concertinos, each addressing carefully chosen technical challenges during the early stages of development.