UNH Cello Festival



UNH Cello Festival 2022

Join us in-person for the 2022 UNH Cello Festival!  This year we’ve expanded the festival to a 1.5 day event filled with masterclasses, cello ensemble, and instrument viewings with Carriage House Violins.  We’re very excited to welcome Rhonda Rider (Boston Conservatory) as our featured guest artist. The festival will conclude with a performances by the UNH Cello Ensemble, Dr. Jacques Lee Wood and Dr. Mathilde Handelsman (UNH piano faculty), with special guest presenter Tom Holdener of Carriage House Violins.

  • DATE: SCHEDULE CHANGE Saturday ONLY  March 5, 2022
  • TIME: Saturday 8 am -5 pm
  • WHERE: Paul Creative Arts Center
  • For All Ages
  • Featured Masterclasses
    Rhonda Rider

    Jacques Wood

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Saturday March 5

9:30 am                       Check-in/Registration
10:00                     Cello Ensemble Reading #1
11:30                     Lunch Break
12:30pm              Masterclasses with Guest Faculty Artists
2:30pm                 Break
3:30-5:30pm      Featured Masterclass with Rhonda Rider (Boston Conservatory) 

click to register

Jacques Lee Wood, UNHCF director


Boston-based cellist Jacques Lee Wood has performed around the world as a solo artist, chamber, and orchestral musician. His activities as a performer reflects a broad range of interests - historical performance on period instruments, commissioning new works for both modern and baroque cello, improvisation that incorporates live electronics, and composing his own material are just a few of the areas he explores in his creative scope. Dr. Wood is Principal Cello of the Cape Symphony, and is a member of several musical groups including Aston Magna, StringLab, Pedroia Quartet, Antico Moderno, and the NYC-based bluegrass band Cathedral Parkway. He is a frequent guest artist with A Far Cry, Boston Baroque, House of Time, Yale Schola Cantorum, Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Bachsolisten Seoul, Bach Collegium Japan, Juilliard 415, and the Handel and Haydn Society. A recognized pedagogue, Wood is the cello professor at the University of New Hampshire and holds faculty positions at the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra (Intensive Community Program, BEAM Program), and Concord Academy.   He has held residencies at the Yale School of Music, Boston Conservatory, and Tufts University to name a few, and has received fellowships from the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the Yale Center for East Asian Studies for research at Sogang University (Seoul, South Korea), and the Yale School of Music for postdoctoral studies in early music with noted scholar and baroque violinist Robert Mealy.  Wood is the founder and artistic director of the UNH Cello Festival and currently the cello faculty at the Summer Youth Music School (University of New Hampshire).  An active guest lecturer and clinician, Dr. Wood has presented on a broad range of topics ranging from historical performance practice for the modern musician to music technology in the pedagogical process. He is a frequent guest artist at the Great Mountains Festival (South Korea), Korea Strings Research Institute, Bari International Music Festival, Banff Centre, Avaloch Farm, Aston Magna, and the Manchester Summer Chamber Music Festival.  A grammy-nominated recording artist, Wood has released recordings on the Hyperion, Musica Omnia, and Navona labels. Dr. Wood completed his BM at the New England Conservatory of Music under Laurence Lesser, and holds a MM and DMA from Yale University, where he studied with Aldo Parisot.

Dr. David Upham, UNH Cello Ensemble Conductor 


Dr. David Upham is the Director of Orchestral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music Education at the University of New Hampshire, as well as the founding Music Director of the UNH Youth Symphony Orchestras. Prior to his arrival in New England, he was active in Seattle, Washington, as a conductor of professional, community, and student ensembles. He served as the Music Director of the Bainbridge Symphony Orchestra, taught at the Seattle Conservatory of Music, and worked with the Rainier Symphony Orchestra, the Northwest Mahler Festival, and various professional ballet orchestras. In November 2009, he made his international debut at the French contemporary music festival, Aujourd’hui Musiques.

Dr. Upham’s work also focuses on orchestral music education at all levels, preparing students for careers as public school orchestra directors and teaching graduate conducting. In 2013, he founded the UNH Youth Symphony Orchestra program, which provides local schoolchildren with opportunities to study and perform string instruments while also providing UNH music education students with practical teaching experience. Dr. Upham appears frequently as an educator and clinician at festivals across the country, including the Summer Youth Music School at UNH. His background as a music educator also includes a tenure with the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras and a successful ten-year career as a public school music educator.

Dr. Upham received a B.A. in music from Luther College, an M.M. in conducting from the University of Northern Colorado, and a D.M.A. in conducting from the University of Washington.


Rhonda Rider, featured guest artist


For over two decades, cellist Rhonda Rider was a member of the Naumburg Award-winning Lydian Quartet and Triple Helix Piano Trio. Rider’s numerous chamber music and solo recordings have been nominated for Grammy Awards and cited as Critic's Choice in both the New York Times and Boston Globe. With the Lydians she was awarded numerous prizes at Banff, Evian, Fischoff and Portsmouth Competitions. As a soloist, she won the Concert Artists Guild Award as well as an Aaron Copland Recording Grant. She has performed at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Corcoran Gallery, Wigmore Hall (London), Symphony Space, Library of Congress, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and has been a guest artist with the Boston Chamber Music Society, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Castle of Our Skins, New Gallery Series and Shelter Music Boston. Dedicated to the performance of new music, Ms. Rider has premiered and recorded works by such renowned composers as John Harbison, Lee Hyla, Yu-Hui Chang, Raven Chacon, Laura Kaminsky and Elliott Carter. 

Rider has given numerous masterclasses at schools including Yale School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, New England Conservatory, Tainan University for the Arts and Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts. She has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, American String Teachers’ Association, Music Teacher’s National Association and Chamber Music America. She has also adjudicated at the Concert Artists Guild, Stulberg and Fischoff Competitions. 

Always interested in bringing classical music to unusual and essential places, Rider was named Artist-in-Residence at Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest National Parks. Eighteen works for solo cello were commissioned for these residencies. The works have been performed, by numerous cellists, across the U.S. in a wide variety of venues from Boston and Dallas to Wupatki National Monument and rural New York State.  During the summer months, she performs and teaches at festivals including Music from Salem, Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival, Tanglewood, Chosen Vale, Harvard Chamber Music Festival and is the cello coach for the Asian Youth Orchestra in Hong Kong. Each June, she holds a Cello Seminar dedicated to contemporary music in Washington County, New York. 

Rider has degrees from Oberlin and Yale. Her teachers have included the renowned cellists Aldo Parisot, Zara Nelsova and Richard Kapuscinski. Her chamber music coaches have included Robert Koff, Simon Goldberg, Raphael Hillyer and Louis Krasner. She is currently on the faculties of Boston University and Boston Conservatory at Berklee where she was twice awarded Outstanding Teacher of the Year/Best of Berklee.

Dorothy Braker


Dorothy Braker (cello): BM and MM (The Juilliard School) had her very first lesson in music at the age of 4 with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, whose new idea about musical study through unlocking each child’s innate potential was first being brought to the United States. Her studies in cello were with Lois Yopp, Phil Blum, Karl Fruh, and Harvey Shapiro. As a native of the Chicago area with a rich tradition in orchestral music, she has performed in an orchestral setting throughout her career, winning awards to attend Interlochen, Southern Illinois music festival, Congress of Strings, and Waterloo Music Festival under Gerard Schwarz. Here in New Hampshire, Braker has performed as principal cellist with the Portsmouth Symphony, the Great Bay Symphony, the Connecticut River Valley Orchestra, and the New Hampshire Philharmonic (Guest principal), and performs with other local orchestras. From her debut at the age of 13 performing the Lalo Cello Concerto, she has performed as concerto soloist with area orchestras including the Portsmouth Symphony and Merrimack Valley Orchestra.  In addition to many chamber music appearances with area groups, since she has been in New Hampshire she has coached chamber music and has a vibrant studio of cellists who have gone on to major in music at major conservatories, while other students have continued their cello studies into their secondary schools. As an organizer and principal cellist with The Portsmouth Symphony, she created the Concerto and Aria Competitions, the MyPSO youth music arm of the Portsmouth Symphony that also had an outreach concert series for local schools, and the “Get Cozy with the Portsmouth Symphony” monthly chamber music concert series at the Dance Hall in Kittery, Maine. As the founder and Artistic Director of Aliento Chamber Players, she has spent a decade creating unique chamber music performances throughout the Seacoast area of Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire. 



Eugene Kim


Cellist Eugene Kim has enjoyed a distinguished teaching career. He is the 2019 recipient of the Jean Stackhouse Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Preparatory Division of New England Conservatory. His students have performed concerti with the Boston Symphony (under Andris Nelsons), the Boston Pops (under Keith Lockhart), the NEC Youth Philharmonic and Youth Symphony Orchestras, the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, the New England Philharmonic, as well as numerous other Boston area orchestras. Eugene’s students have been top prize-winners of several national competitions, including the Sphinx Competition, and have performed on the national radio show, From the Top. His cello students have gained acceptance to the major US conservatories, including the Juilliard School, New England Conservatory, the Eastman School of Music, the Peabody Institute, the Shepherd School (Rice) and Jacobs School of Music (Indiana University).

An avid chamber musician and solo recitalist, cellist Eugene has given solo performances throughout Korea, England, Italy, and his native United States, including such venues as Carnegie Recital Hall and Jordan Hall. His chamber music collaborations have included Raphael Hillyer, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Marcus Thompson, Gervase de Peyer, and Mark O'Connor. An active Boston-area performer, he has performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra as an extra player, as well as the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, Boston Ballet, Boston Lyric Opera and the Boston Landmarks Orchestra. Eugene has been guest principal cellist with the Boston Philharmonic, Boston Classical Orchestra and the Pro Arte Chamber Ensemble. Formerly, he was the principal cellist of the Vermont Symphony.

In addition to his serving on the faculties of the New England Conservatory Preparatory Division and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Eugene was formerly a member of the faculty at UMASS/Boston and guest faculty Brandeis University. He also was a faculty member at summer festivals such as the Bosa Antica International Music Festival (in Sardinia, Italy), the Foulger International Music Festival and Killington Music Festival. Eugene is also a contributor to the website CelloBello.com.

From 2002-2005, Eugene served as the Artistic Director of Project STEP, a string training organization devoted to developing Boston area African-American and Latino music students. Recently, he completed a term as Executive Director of the Foulger International Music Festival. Eugene received his A.B. magna cum laude with highest honors from Harvard University, and a master's degree from New England Conservatory. He has studied with cellists Andres Diaz, Colin Carr, Laurence Lesser, and Carter Brey.

Nancy Hair 


Cellist Nancy Hair enjoys a teaching and performing career which has taken her to Europe, Asia, South America and across the United States. She is currently on the faculty of the New England Conservatory Preparatory School as well as Northeastern University and maintains an active home studio. Nancy is known for her work with the youngest beginners teaching through to the graduate level which she did for the past four years teaching pedagogy at the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, Connecticut. As a performer Nancy has played with many of Boston’s leading orchestras and chamber ensembles including Boston Ballet and Boston Lyric Opera and as an advocate for music education, performs with Young Audiences of Massachusetts.

Nancy’s most influential teachers include Janos Starker, Raya Garbousova, David Wells, Yehuda Hanani, and Timothy Eddy. She attended Indiana University and the Hartt College of Music as well as graduate studies in Suzuki Method at Ithaca Talent Education.



Francesca McNeely 


Haitian-American cellist Francesca McNeeley has received critical acclaim as a collaborator and soloist, and enjoys an eclectic career in the Boston area. She has premiered dozens of works, solo and chamber music—including pieces by John Harbison, Mark Neikrug, Augusta Read Thomas, and Joseph Phibbs. Recent musical collaborations have included soloing with the Boston Landmarks Orchestra and touring with the Grammy-nominated A Far Cry chamber orchestra as a guest principal cellist. She is frequently featured with Castle of Our Skins, the New Gallery Concert Series, and the Celebrity Series of Boston. She has been invited to participate in various artist residencies at the Longy School of Music, Yellowbarn, the Grand Teton Music Festival, Marquette University, and Keene State College. She has performed with the Boston Symphony and Sarasota Orchestras, and can be heard on BMOP/sound with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project.

Ms. McNeeley graduated Princeton University Phi Beta Kappa, and went on to receive scholarships to attend the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University and the New England Conservatory for her graduate degrees in cello performance. She has earned fellowships and prizes from the Tanglewood Music Center, where she also served as a New Fromm Player. With her Fromm colleagues she has founded the Chroma Trio, championing modern string trio repertoire. She has received fellowships to attend the Music Academy of the West, Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, & Toronto Summer Music. She has been awarded multiple grants from the Sphinx Organization, and now serves on The Artist Council for the National Alliance for Audition Support. Her teachers and mentors have included Tom Kraines, Darrett Adkins, Norman Fischer, Yeesun Kim, and Astrid Schween.

Francesca is dedicated to community engagement through teaching and mentoring. In addition to her private teaching studio, she serves on the faculties for the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Intensive Community Program and Project STEP.