Kitty Benton and the Return of “The Flying Cellist”

Left to Right: Kitty Benton, Daniel Goldhagen, Yoav Segev and Elliott Niebch, “selfie” by Elliott Niebch

On November 22, 2021, I received an intriguing email from long-time ACMP member and beloved former ACMP Newsletter editor, Kitty Benton. Her message warmed my heart and reminded me of one of the most precious aspects of ACMP: making friends through music, all over the world.

Kitty wrote:

“Recently, an ACMP cellist from Israel contacted me, saying he was a pilot, and was scheduled to come to New York City. He wanted to arrange chamber music while he was here. Would I be interested in playing viola? He already had 2 violinists plus himself.

Of course I would be and was interested, so we scheduled a Saturday morning date. We played Mozart and Beethoven Op 18, and had a lovely time.

We are planning a second session in December, when New York City would again be on his schedule. 

Meanwhile, something about his story twigged my editor’s memory, so I asked him if he ever flew to Asia. When we got to trading ACMP members that we knew (Yoel Epstein in Israel of course) and finally got to Stephan Brandel in Shanghai, I realized that he was the same person that I featured in a story about “The Flying Cellist” in the Newsletter, when I was editor – Yoav Segev! After all, how many pilots do you know that tuck a cello into the cockpit for meeting ACMP members at their destination? 

But one thing is sure….if there is another person who tucks an instrument into the cockpit of an airplane, it’s a sure thing that they belong to ACMP.”

Here is the original story from the 2013-1 issue of the Newsletter:

Excerpt from the Winter 2013 Newsletter in the ACMP archive. 

I then remembered that Kitty had told me about the “Flying Cellist” during an interview I did with her in June 2021.

Kitty Benton reminisces about the early days of ACMP

Kitty has since had another Play-In with “The Flying Cellist” on December 10, 2021. Joined by violinists Daniel Goldhagen and Elliot Niebch, they played Mozart and Mendelssohn quartets at Kitty’s home.

The Flying Cellist was since spotted in Los Angeles in late December 2021, where he played in two sessions with ACMP member violinist Andre Vanderhal, who wrote:

“We had 2 great days of playing with Yoav. I forgot to take pictures the first day – double cello quintets by Schubert, Dvorak (bass part), and Glazunov with Andre Vanderhal, Monica Minden, Liz Galton, Don Spuehler and Yoav Segev. The next day brought string quartets of Mozart (warm-up with Andante from Dissonant quartet), Beethoven (op 59 #1), Brahms op 51 #1, and Mozart KV 575 with Jakub Hlavka, Andre Vanderhal, George Goldberg and Yoav  Segev. Music was followed by delicious dinner ordered in and prepared by Essen Food Group. (Chef Aaron Robbins – our son – started his own business during the pandemic.) In the background you can see the patio that saved our sanity during the pandemic allowing string quartet outside, distanced and masked, even in 43 degrees Fahrenheit with a gas patio heater.”

Next time a Flying Cellist comes your way, please be sure to let us know!

More Articles

Just Play Concert: ACMP Members in California perform Beethoven and Gabriela Lena Frank

California ACMP members Sue Soong, Kevin Jim, Angus Davol and Julie Park perform an ambitious program of Beethoven and Gabriela Lena Frank at their concert in Albany, California, supported in part by ACMP.

Read More ↗

Watch the Kronos Quartet Master Class on YouTube

ACMP's first online master class with the Kronos Quartet on Saturday, November 12, 2022 was a success! Congratulations to the three groups from Idaho State University, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and SUNY New Paltz who performed so beautifully. Watch the November class and sign up now to play on April 15.

Read More ↗

Featured ACMP Member Michael Knoch

Meet flutist Michael Knoch, ACMP's IAC Ambassador in Berlin, Germa

Read More ↗

Kronos Quartet Master Class Repertoire Reveal:

Three string quartets from Pocatello, Idaho; San Francisco, California; and New Paltz, New York will play works by Missy Mazzoli, Ken Benshoof and Charlton Singleton for members of the Kronos Quartet on Saturday, November 12 at 2pm Eastern on Zoom and YouTube.

Read More ↗

Featured ACMP Member: Virginia Feldman

Celeste Chau interviews Virginia Feldman, ACMP's Portland, Oregon representative on its North American Outreach Council.

Read More ↗

A Wonderful Day of Chamber Music at MCW!

Read More ↗

Tickets now available for the Kronos Quartet Masterclass on November 12

Reserve your free ticket now to watch the Kronos Quartet 50 for the Future Online Masterclass on Saturday, November 12 at 2pm Eastern on Zoom.

Read More ↗

“Fall Worldwide Play-In” grant cycle now open!

Read More ↗

Location search: By proximity? Or in a specific location?

An easy guide to searching the ACMP directories by location.

Read More ↗

A Tribute to Candice Chin (1976 – 2022)

Read More ↗

ACMP member adventures in Ecuador

ACMP members Tom Cappaert and Art Malm returned to Ecuador to pick up a newly commissioned viola, coach with Alejandro Jiménez and donate more instruments to the conservatory in Riobamba.

Read More ↗

A new website and free membership for all 

In celebration of its 75th anniversary, ACMP is returning to its roots by dropping its membership dues. Read all about it, and about some of the new features of this new website (including helpful tips on how to renew your membership and tweak your personal profile.)

Read More ↗

Dutch Treat: ACMP to the Rescue!

Read More ↗

Kronos Quartet “50 for the Future” Online Masterclasses: Saturday, November 12, 2022 and Saturday, April 15, 2023 at 2pm Eastern on Zoom

Read More ↗

2022 Worldwide Play-In: U.S. Highlights

Read More ↗

2022 Susan McIntosh Lloyd Award: The Music Conservatory of Westchester

ACMP honors The Music Conservatory of Westchester with the 2022 Susan McIntosh Lloyd Award for Excellence and Diversity in Chamber Music Education

Read More ↗

Inside Music Academy Book Club Starts July 2, 2022

Read More ↗

2022 Worldwide Play-In: International Highlights

Read More ↗

ACMP and CMA: Partners in chamber music!

Chamber Music America (CMA) and ACMP are finding new ways to support one another in our shared mission of supporting the field of chamber music worldwide.

Read More ↗

ACMP Board Member Marjana Rutkowski receives the title of Emeritus Citizen of Porto Alegre

On March 29, 2022 ACMP's first South American Board Member, Marjana Rutkowski (cellist from Brazil) was named an Emeritus Citizen of Porto Alegre, in recognition of her continuing work for the development of Brazil's culture and society.

Read More ↗

 

All Articles By