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Joshua Gindele on Dvořák, Norfolk
and Yes … Tennis
By Janet Reynolds
The Miró Quartet is a Norfolk alumni group, having been at the Festival in the summers of 1996 and 1998. Since then, the Quartet, which is the quartet-in-residence at the University of Texas at Austin, has won numerous awards, including being chosen as the first ensemble to win the coveted Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2005.
Cellist Joshua Gindele remembers those summers fondly. “We love it there. It was a formative place for the quartet,” he says. (The Quartet formed in 1995.) “We love that there are not many distractions.”
They are excited as well, Gindele says, with the overall focus on Dvořák. “The thing with Dvořák for us is he was innovative,” he says. “He wrote very distinct textures for each part. He was able to make sometimes three or four textures work brilliantly together. Playing music like that lets us each play with a lot of character. When Dvořák is played really well, you can hear all those voices playing in harmony.”
Take Dvořák’s selections from Cypresses, (12 songs arranged for string quartet), which the group will perform in its July 22 concert. “These are character pieces he wrote,” says Gindele of this work. “The ones we perform are the ones we find personally effective.” In a performance that also includes Bartók’s String Quartet No. 4 and Dvořák’s String Quartet in d minor, Op. 34, “these selections are nice little bonbons. You don’t have to look too deeply in them to find meaning, nor do you have to commit to a larger scale work.”
Gindele didn’t start his musical life focused on the cello. “I come from a musical family,” he says, noting both parents were amateur musicians. “It was expected that you played something or studied some kind of musical instrument.” He started on violin with he was three but it didn’t stick. His teacher, however, was a cellist and suggested he try that, rigging up a mini-cello by adding an endpin to a viola.
But while Gindele loved the cello, he also loved tennis — a lot. “I balanced my life between being a nationally ranked tennis player and and music,” he says. “As I got older and older, I fell more in love with chamber music, so I knew if I became a professional cellist that’s what I would like to do.” While tennis and chamber music might seem miles apart, some similarities exist. Like singles tennis, where a player is entirely in charge of his game, chamber music, too, has its individualistic side. “I really love the fact that I have my own part like the soloist would,” Gindele says.
Unlike tennis, however, Gindele enjoys being part of something bigger. “I love learning from others,” he says. “I never had the discipline to be a soloist. That kind of solitary life didn’t appeal to me. But ask me to go to rehearsals, I’ll be there 10 minutes early, warmed up and ready to go. I love the combination of the soloistic aspect of a solo career with that collegial collaborative spirit.”
Janet Reynolds is a writer, editor and content strategist living in Connecticut. She’s a lifelong cellist and viola da gamba player, and has played in the Farmington Valley Symphony Orchestra for 36 years.