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Artist Spotlight: 7 Questions with Sharon Gerber of Celloasis

 One of the local musicians featured in International Ballet's Fall Chamber Concert on October 29 will be Sharon Gerber, a Greenville based freelance cellist.  If the striking beauty of her instrument doesn't have you already purchasing your tickets, taking a tour into her world as an artist just might seal the deal!  Learn more about Sharon and her collaborative role in our upcoming concert in our Artist Spotlight interview below.


International Ballet's Fall Chamber is sponsored by Jack & Sandy Halsey, and is supported by a grant from the Metropolitan Arts Council.


Juliana Jordan: Please tell us a little bit about your instrument and what you will be performing for International Ballet's Fall Chamber Concert…


Sharon Gerber: I will be playing the nearly 200-year-old cello that used to belong to my father. I will be plugging it into a newfangled looper pedal which will allow me to layer the beautiful sounds of my cello live! I will do some live improv looping and will also play one of my favorite original pieces from my recent solo album featuring layers of cello sounds combined with electronic sounds.


In addition to the solo pieces, I will also be taking part in a very special collaboration of “The Dying Swan” with a solo dancer and a marimba player. I’m especially excited about sharing this gorgeous new interpretation of a well-loved classic!


JJ: Guests at International Ballet's Season Opening reception had the pleasure of watching a sneak peek of your performance earlier this month.  You have a particularly unique method of playing - can you tell us about that?


SG: Thank you! I enjoy bringing new life to cello music by combining traditional techniques with modern and experimental techniques. Truly, the possibilities with a cello are endless and I have so much more to explore! If I had to classify myself, I would say that I’m a “classical-crossover artist”. My goal is simply to connect with others through my music and I don’t want to limit myself to genre or style.



JJ:  What about your instrument/art form inspires you the most?


SG:  The actual resonance of the cello is a huge inspiration to me. I’ve named my ongoing solo project “Celloasis” in reference to the deep well of inspiration I draw from the actual sounds of the cello. The rich tones of the instrument soothe and refresh my spirit with new thoughts every time I play.


JJ: In this concert you'll be performing in a collaboration with an International Ballet dancer - have you performed live with dancers before?  As a fellow performing artist, how do you relate to dance?


SG: I have always loved the idea of performing with dancers. I have played in orchestras that have accompanied ballet performances but this will be the first time I’ll get to perform one-on-one with a ballet dancer and I’m really excited about it.


As a fellow performing artist, I feel very connected to the process and expression of dance. The utter discipline and attention to every tiny nuance of muscle movement with the goal of total fluidity and freedom of expression from the core of our beings - those are just some of the ways in which our processes connect. I get very moved when I see a dancer moving freely from their heart with music, and even more moved when the music is coming from me! 


JJ: You're a Greenville-based freelance cellist - are you a native of Greenville?  Of all the places you've ever performed, do you have a favorite?


SG: Yes ma’am, I’m a Greenville native. Of all the places I’ve performed, I’d have to say my favorite place to perform is any place where no one is expecting it. Last year I did several unannounced performances on the sidewalks of downtown Greenville. The reactions of surprise and delight on the faces of passers-by; the spontaneous dance or even tears of some who stopped to listen, were priceless. Music is such a powerful language of connection, and especially the music of a cello.




JJ:   What is one thing people might be surprised to know about you or your cello?


SG: My cello has been through an awful lot. If you want to know the full story, you can read it on my website, www.sharongerbermusic.com   (This author highly recommends the compelling tale of Sharon's cello, affectionately named "Murgatroid".)


JJ:  Why should people attend International Ballet's Fall Chamber Concert?

SG:  It will be a rare and beautiful evening of movement and music for the city of Greenville. You will get to experience the energy and excitement of some brand new local collaborations happening right before your eyes. If you are weary or stressed, your spirit will be lifted out of the mundane for awhile and you will return with your mind sparked and your spirit refreshed.


We couldn't have said it any better ourselves!  Thanks so much, Sharon, for sharing about your art form and inspiration.  We can't wait to see the magic happen onstage on October 29th.  Be sure to look out for more Artist Spotlights on our other Guest Artists coming soon!



Be sure to get your tickets for International Ballet's Fall Chamber Concert:


Saturday, October 29 - 5PM

Kroc Center Theatre (424 Westfield Street) near Greenville's West End

Tickets - $20  (General Admission

Online or through International Ballet by calling 864-879-9404 

Office: 1018 S. Batesville Rd. 1B, Greer, SC 29650



Photos courtesy of Jerry Finley Photography