Professor to perform challenging, rare cello piece

Bach’s suites for unaccompanied cello are almost never played in a single concert, but Associate Professor Benjamin Whitcomb has welcomed the challenge and will perform all six suites in one concert.

“The Bach suites are the pinnacle,” Whitcomb said. “I would argue that they are the most important part of the cello repertoire.”

The suites were not designed to be played in one sitting, so audience members can expect a unique experience.

“The benefit I see from hearing all of these in one sitting is that you can hear how Bach writes within these dance styles, yet made them sound so different that they sound like they were made by different composers,” Whitcomb said.

This will be his ninth time performing the six suites as a cycle this year. Whitcomb said that they are played with “quick tempo” and “minimal pauses.” It will take a little over a hour and a half to play all the pieces, including an intermission. Whitcomb will also be including dialogue on the pieces during the concert.

“When one gets to thinking about all the things that went into these pieces I think you get a whole new level of appreciation for one of the greatest composures ever to live,” Whitcomb said.

Whitcomb has been teaching at Whitewater for 13 years and has classes in applied cello and theory.

His performance will be part of the Music Mosaic concert series, which was started nine years ago by the music department. It is a collection of faculty concerts where the proceeds go towards Whitewater’s music scholarship fund.

The series was created with the intention of increasing the amount of regular concert attendees as well.

Whitcomb’s performance will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 13 at the Light Recital Hall in the Center of the Arts. Ticket are $3 for students with ID, $7 for adults and $6 for those over 65 or under 18 years old.

“People should expect a first rate performance of magnificent music,” Music Department Chairmen Michael Allsen said.