Cello quartet Cellofourte collects original compositions for Combustion | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Cello quartet Cellofourte collects original compositions for Combustion



Cellofourte consists of four, local classically trained cellists -- all students at or graduates of Duquesne or Carnegie Mellon. A few things set them apart from other string quartets: For one, they all play cello, rather than having the range of strings that most quartets would. And most notably, they play a brand of rock-flavored cello music that exceeds conventional classical expectations for the instrument.

Cello-rock fusion isn't a brand-new idea; Rasputina leaps to mind as a relatively successful rock band utilizing the instrument liberally. But Cellofourte is a bit different from that type of outfit in that its ensemble is strictly cello.

Cellofourte's new Combustion album features relatively short, moody original pieces that exploit the cello's range and its versatility as both a percussive and a melodic instrument. The pieces have a definite classical air; they aren't "rock" in the sense of three-chord, blues-derived stuff, but have a definite appeal for those into prog and post-rock.

There isn't a huge field of cello rockers out there to compare Cellofourte's offering to. That in itself means that what the group contributes is fresh and original -- and given the well-honed skills of the members, it's masterfully pulled off. Unique as it may be, this type of fusion has appeal for a pretty wide range of listeners. Cellofourte is well-qualified to bring it to them.

Flamingo Fest at the National Aviary
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Flamingo Fest at the National Aviary

By Mars Johnson