I love sound. I have always loved sound. Silence is also very important to me. I also love people of all kinds and I like introducing them to different combinations of sound (and silence of course).
After dedicating years of my life to learning about how to present the highest quality of sound combinations, some people along the way liked the way in which I combined sounds and encouraged me to pursue this further. Some hired me for presentations of these sound combinations in buildings all over the world, famous for their ability to project various sound combinations to an audience in an extraordinary way.
Over time, I realized that many people who really would like to hear my sound (and silence) combinations were unable, either because it was too expensive or seemed inaccessible, or they just didn't realize that they would like it. So I decided to change my way of presenting sounds (and silences...). One of my primary focuses as a combiner of sounds and silences is to step into spaces where all sorts of people are comfortable, in hopes of connecting with them through sounds and silences. To that end, I created Music in Familiar Spaces, a project that began as a yearlong tour of North America and now continues as a collective of leading artists all across the globe.
Steuart Pincombe can be heard regularly as a soloist and chamber musician in leading venues such as Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Muziekgebouw aan't IJ, Concertgebouw Brugge, RADIALSYSTEM V Berlin, Bozar Brussels, Tivoli Vredenburg, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Kauffman Center and quite possibly around the corner in your local brewery or cafe. Wherever he performs Steuart aims to engage with his audience through creative presentations of Western classical music repertoire. The Philadelphia Inquirer calls him “a gorgeous player with perfect intonation, imaginative phrasing”, theStrad Magazine refers to him as a "superb soloist", virtuoso cellist Giovanni Sollima calls Steuart "a complete artist, true virtuoso and poet, totally at ease with all languages and musical styles", and an audience member in Steuart’s home state of Missouri recently said “You’da asked me a week ago if I’sa gonna be here, I’da said ‘hell no’. We’ll I’m here - and I love this stuff [Bach]”.
In addition to his numerous chamber engagements, he has appeared as soloist with ensembles such as Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop (DE), Holland Baroque (NL), Wallfisch Band (UK), Symphonie Atlantique (NL), Apollos Fire (US), and the Springfield (MO) Symphony (US). His concert 'Bach&Beer' was selected by the Cleveland Plain Dealer as one of the 'Top 10 Classical Events of the Year' and a concert in which he appeared as soloist with Rene Schiffer and Apollo's Fire was numbered in London's '5 Best Classical Music Moments of 2014' according to The Telegraph (UK). If you can't hear him live, Steuart makes regular appearances on radio and has been featured on BBC, CBC, NPO, and NPR.
With the aim of equipping other leading artists to engage with new audiences Steuart and his wife Michelle started the Music in Familiar Spaces Artist Collective which is made up of some of the leading performers of our time.
Steuart is currently Visiting Teacher of Historical Performance at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
My teaching experience ranges from working with advanced middle school students to young professionals. I have served as Visiting Teacher at Oberlin Conservatory and have presented master classes and residences at community music schools, arts high schools, universities, and conservatories across the U.S. For 10 years I was on faculty at the Credo Music festival (teaching ages 13-23) and for several years taught at Crescendo Summer Institute in Hungary. Learn more about my teaching philosophy below, or get in touch to setup a trial lesson.
My philosophy of teaching can be summed up quite simply. Any student I am dealing with is a complex and beautiful being who I must carefully observe and listen to and consequently challenge and inspire. I am interested in developing the whole person. I strongly believe that the most wonderful and effective artists are those who have a meaningful life outside of their art form. A broad and flourishing life enhances the depth and diversity of the artist's resources for expression. I encourage all of my students to broaden their interests beyond music and use their musical gifting as a vehicle for communicating truth, goodness, and beauty in all areas of their lives!
To expand on my core philosophy, I have included below some specific elements of my own approach to teaching:
Imagination and Expression
I have often encouraged my students to begin their practice with a little time dedicated to improvisation (that is, after the necessary warm-up). Improvisation requires the exercise of the imagination and helps the student learn their most immediate forms of expression for particular emotions. When we start our practice with pre-written information (i.e. a piece or etude), there are more layers to interfere with pure expression. However, a regular practice of personal expression through improvisation helps the student connect the dots between what a composer requests and their most natural ability to expressively satisfy that request.
Although my focus in teaching is generally the standard cello repertoire, I believe that engaging in other disciplines is also essential for developing imagination and expression in a musician. I encourage my students to collaborate with other artists, musicians of non-Western specialty, as well as experts in other disciplines to expand their world of expression.
Technical and Musical Facility
Recognizing that playing the cello is already not the healthiest activity for our bodies, I am interested in helping students find the physically healthiest way to play the instrument that supports a mature and beautiful interpretation and presentation. Economy of motion is at the core of my technical teaching, but this is never at the expense of expressive gesture - all technique must serve musical expression!
A student must also be equipped with a strong musical and analytical facility. Students must be taught how to study a score, research the contextual background and respect the composer’s intent (insomuch as it can be understood). A constant and open dialogue between teacher and student on all such subjects is essential.
Individual and Collective
The musical development of the student should serve their growth as a human being. The teacher must consider the goals, interests and abilities of each individual. Peer review is also crucial for individual development. Playing for and with fellow students in performance scenarios and technical exercises helps each student strengthen and solidify their own artistic voice. Healthy competition, challenging verbal critique, and encouragement among students are essential to the individual’s health and growth.