Michael Shattner

Michael ShattnerMichael plays ‘cello and is a founding member of QUO.

How did you come to join QUO?
I heard about QUO from the original announcement back in the day and was present at the first rehearsal. It was exciting to be a part of it from the very beginning!

What is your favorite place to take friends visiting NYC?
My most recent favorite landmark for friends visiting from out of town who haven’t been here in a while is the High Line. It’s just a unique NYC experience and never fails to wow (no matter how crowded it gets).

What musical symbol best defines you and why?
I will choose arco. It defines me because that’s what I’m doing for a large chunk of my life. But in addition to the fact that it means “bowed”, I also just love the imagery of an arc, a trajectory, a transformation, and all of the expressive possibilities that bowed instruments allow. It is also evocative for me of Casals, who talked about rainbows everywhere in the music. And there are – especially in QUO!

How long have you been playing ‘cello?
I’ve been playing for about 10 years. I always wanted to play as a child, but wasn’t given an opportunity. For many years I told myself that it was just something I’d never get to do, since I hadn’t started young. Then one day while bopping through my groovy but basically music-free adult life, I sort of woke up and realized that there was no earthly reason NOT to do it. So I found a teacher and got started. If you’re harboring any hidden dreams, I heartily endorse dragging them out into the light and pursuing them.

Question from Julie: If you could design your “dream orchestra” (to play in and/or to be an audience of) or your “dream orchestral concert”, what would it be like and why?
The repertoire of my dream concert would definitely include me soloing on a cello concerto. There are any number I’d be happy to have in that spot, but at the moment, I’d choose either the Haydn C Major, the Schumann, or the Elgar. And I’d start the evening off with a contemporary piece for cello written for me by a living composer – possibly even one of my own compositions. Then I think I would really love to cap the evening off by conducting a Mahler symphony – #2, 6, or 9, maybe. If there were some way for me to play cello in the section and also conduct it, I’d be game to try. That’s an awful lotta ME now that I’ve listed it, but it’s my dream, so I’ll just embrace that string player ego!