Since 1995, the New Directions Cello Festival has provided a forum for the exchange of music and ideas in the field of non-classical and alternative cello. With a “big tent” ethos, New Directions embraces all styles of music not commonly taught at conservatories and music schools, especially those that incorporate improvisation. Cellist participants come from all over the US and abroad for a weekend of workshops, concerts and panels by some of the most innovative and creative cellists working today.
Since the first festival in New York City’s Knitting Factory (1995), the annual festival has presented a veritable who’s who of non-classical cello in New York City, Boston, Connecticut, Wisconsin, California, Ithaca, NY, and now Northampton, MA. Some of the cellists who have graced the stages of the festival include David Darling, Eugene Friesen, David Baker, Mark Summer, Jami Sieber, Vincent Courtois, Leyla McCalla, Seth Parker Woods, Stephan Braun, Ben Sollee, Stephen Katz, Ernst Reijseger, David Eyges, Akua Dixon, Jeffrey McFarland-Johnson, Rufus Cappodocia, Jane Scarpantoni, Chris White, Erik Friedlander, Dawn Avery and Robert Een.
For over 25 years, the New Directions Cello Festival and Association has been dedicated to new and innovative uses of the cello. The festival has created an international forum for the exchange of music and ideas and fostered the growth of the cello in all styles beyond classical music. The cello can now be seen and heard in countless genres of music around the globe.