Renata Bratt, cellist and clinician
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Renata's CD of her own tunes
available at CDBaby.com
A Slice of Summer

Welcome!
On this web site, you can see my schedule of upcoming concerts and clinics, find out about books I have written, CDs I have recorded and more. Check out this podcast at the Western Folklife Center about my work with Montana poet Paul Zarzyski.
 
I'm very happy to announce that my latest composition for level 3 string orchestra, "You Didn't Ask Me," has been selected as Editors Choice by J.W.Pepper for their catalog. Yay! It's a 12/8 60's style soul tune with written out (or improv) solos for every instrument. You can order it here.
 
Summer passed in a blur and here it is, fall already. I spent this past year teaching and performing at workshops in nine different states plus New Zealand and Australia. I wrote another Scottish string orchestra arrangement, this time for Alfred. It will be published next year. Stay tuned for more fun events coming up! 
 
Spring sprung and I spent a lot of it in the fall! Three weeks in autumnal New Zealand and Australia with musical pals Catherine Fraser, Duncan Smith, Liz Carroll and new friend Alistair McCulloch. We taught at the Southern Hemisphere International School for Scottish Fiddling, then Catherine, Duncan, Alistair and I headed off to the south of Australia to play a fun series of Scottish music concerts in cities and towns. And did I mention the couple of concerts and a ceilidh that I played with Alasdair Fraser and the San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers in the green green hills of northern California?
 
Winter 2014 was bright and clear and booked to the max! ! I performed with Darol Anger and mando wiz kid Matt Witler in Newark, Ohio,  Cindy Lee Berryhill at the SXSW in Austin, TX - our own concert and a couple of tunes on the Lou Reed Tribute concert, and in January, I recorded a new CD in Wisconsin with my playing buddies from the Colorado Suzuki Institute! Also finishing up a new techno/Americana/Bollywood yoga CD for my Berceuse project. At Wintergrass in early March I taught for their youth education and arranged two of cellist Rushad Eggleston's compositions for the Wintergrass Festival Orchestra to perform with him on the main stage. He went up on an aerial wire for The Falcon! Somersaults in mid air! News Flash - I've been named Kuumbwa Educator in Residence - so I'll get to do more performing and teaching, bringing jazz improvisation into our area school system. Very exciting!
 
Fall 2013 and I fell into a rabbit-hole of seemingly non-stop performing. First Australian Scottish performers Catherine Fraser and Duncan Smith came to my home area and we played a couple of concerts together, then I played a bunch of concerts during autumn including the KVMR Celtic Festival in Nevada City and finishing up at Don Quixote's in Felton at the end of November with Deby Benton Grosjean's Bridge-Crossing, a sub-set of our Reel of Seven Scottish Country Dance Band, played a delightful set of tunes at a cello fest with the truly fearsome trio of Aria DiSalvio, Barry Phillips and me - and I've even been playing wedding gigs again (who knew?) all around the Bay area of California. And I taught fiddle tunes to cellists at the Black Hills Suzuki workshop in South Dakota (yep - I saw Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse mountain) and will again in Wisconsin in the month of January. Computer Music Doctor Lee Ray is making all of the background beats and sounds for the new Yoga CD and Shannon Brown is again producing.

Summer, 2013! As usual, all kinds of new projects were lined up, as well as lots of teaching at various summer string camps and Suzuki Institutes. I worked with Cindy Lee Berryhill  in a studio in Pacific Palisades, CA (swanky!) on her new tunes. And I started thinking about a new Yoga CD with techno/India beats and a bit of cello bluegrass thrown in.
 
With Catherine Fraser and Duncan Smith in Upper Hutt, New Zealand.
Two tunes from my new CD - Carrolling and Mr. Gary Iida (my high school orchestra director. who died in November of this year)


Yep, it's my latest CD "Celtic Conversations, New Tunes from the New World" featuring performances and music by Liz Carroll, Laura Risk and me.

Spring! I headed out to New Zealand to teach at the Southern Hemisphere International School of Scottish Fiddling! My new CD is mixed and mastered - I offered it in a limited release in New Zealand and sold out! It will be available all over the web in June:" Celtic Conversations, New Tunes from the New World" featuring performances and music by Liz Carroll, Laura Risk and me.

Winter came with very exciting news: I've been selected by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) to serve on the Ensemble – Traditional subcommittee writing next generation National Standards in the Arts. Music Geek warning; I have been interested in this for a long time - and was the Alternative Styles committee chair for the latest (2009) ASTA syllabus.
 
A happy fall of work has passed. I just finished a couple of exciting projects: a Kuumbwa Jazz concert (Nov 29) featuring my original tunes, jazz and trad tunes with my friends in "String Land"  (video of small group directly below), and new string arrangements for the Wintergrass Festival Orchestra for two all-women groups; Hills to Hollers and Della Mae. 

With New Almaden Trio at Kuumbwa



I'm honored to be named Kuumbwa Jazz Artist in Residence for 2012 and 2013. I'm working with young jazz (string and wind) players at area schools, masterclasses and giving pre-concert talks as well as performing. My first concert talk in 2012 was  "Jazz Violin - a short history" before Mads Tollings' quartet : A Tribute to Jean-Luc Ponty! Next, a pre concert talk about Benny Golson Yeah - THE Benny Golson! He was travelling with Nnenna Freelon in his band. Then a talk about legendary Brazilian composer and performer Hermeto Pascoal - with information thanks to Dr. Andrew Connell. And a fun interview with Bluegrass chanteuse Laurie Lewis who was performing with her terrific new trio, Hills to Hollers.

Glad to be home after a marvelous summer teaching in Colorado (twice!), Texas and California. All kinds of projects lined up -  lots pf  planning for ASTA - strings 4ever this year and beyond! And choosing and practicing music for all of my beginning string orchestra groups.

Had a busy Spring. Played with Cindy Lee Berryhill at McCabe's in Santa Monica again. What a wonderful venue! Gave a clinic at the Suzuki Conference in Minneapolis about the importance of teaching music theory while teaching music. Our band, Reel of Seven, produced a new album: Dance for Joy Encore. And flew to Washington D.C. for my first ASTA Board Meeting. Really thrilled to be asked for my perspective on our mission to put an instrument into everybody's hands. I've been appointed to the American String Teachers Association National Board for the year 2012-13 to serve out another board member's term. Whoo hoo!

Here's a pretty tune from the McCabe's Mother's Day Concert. I play melodica too.



I was delighted to be a clinician/judge with Byron Berline and Michael Doucet for the Eclectic Strings Festival at the ASTA Conference in Atlanta, March, 2012. Amazing students and amazing bands. I'm so glad that ASTA introduced the student groups to the eclectic strings competition. What a fantastic final show!

With the Fall came my newest CD. Pacific Cello is a 72 minute single featuring cello music for massage, relaxation, reflection and gentle yoga and savasana. It's also available from iTunes. Part of a new project with my producer, Shannon Brown, called "Berceuse; adult lullabies."

Two new string arrangements out! Appalachian Tunes  from String Letter Publishing and Summer Choro from Alfred Music are both for intermediate string orchestra. Celebrate the Americas with these two groovacious arrangements. You can hear an arrangement of one of the Appalachian tunes for cellos: Consternation below.

My CD, A Slice of Summer, is available at CDBaby and everywhere for digital downloads. All my own tunes (except for a couple of traditional fiddle tunes). Jazzy Americana with cello, sax, violin, and lots of others. A big big album.

The Wintergrass Youth Orchestra Gala (see below for video) was nominated by the International Bluegrass Music Association for 2011 Bluegrass event of the year!! Yes! It was an honor to be nominated!

Colorado Suzuki Institute, June 2011
I borrowed a nice cello from Robertson and Sons. It sounds great!

A Slice of Cake! From A Slice of Summer




Just played with Cindy Lee Berryhill and Randy Hoffman in NYC and more to come with Paula Luber sitting in for Randy (on the East Coast). Also just performed with the New Almaden Trio (Kristen Strom, sax, Scott Sorkin guitar and me) at New Directions Cello Festival. Here is the NDCF cello choir performing my tune, Consternation. You can purchase this tune for string orchestra from String Letter Publishing.


Wow - lots of cool cellists out there.  New Almaden's CD is nearly done! I'll be teaching at all sorts of camps. Check my schedule page for places and times. Hope to see you somewhere!

Winter 2011, ASTA  in Kansas City! Did some fun bluegrass clinics with Andy Carlson, worked on a new recording project with Liz Carroll, helped lead some great new educational offerings at Wingergrass  including the giant new Wintergrass Youth Orchestra Festival, a reading session for teachers, students and attendees, as well as teacher, adult and youth workshops! Oh yeah - and attended all of the rest of the festival.

Here is Laurie Lewis and her band playing with the Wintergrass Youth Orchestra. I arranged the string accompaniment!

Autumn 2010, played all over and my new publications for Strings Charts are out! Holiday Songs for Beginning String Orchestra: Winter Fest and Nuts, Crackers, Sweet (tunes from Vivaldi's Winter Concerto and Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite - reinterpreted with some rock and roll and a fiddle tune or two) as well as Scottish Tunes for Beginning String Orchestra: Lamentation for James Moray of Abercarney and Tonight My Sleep Will be Restless. Many thanks to Alasdair Fraser for letting me listen in and all of the folks in the San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers Club for helping me learn this beautiful music.

Had a sweet Northwest tour with New Almaden Trio as well as an East Coast Tour with Cindy Lee Berryhill. A whirlwind of places and great folks - new and old friends and fans.

Touring with Cindy Lee Berryhill on the East Coast in September (see Schedule).


Summer of 2010 brought Outbound Express for string orchestra, a jazz train tune, level 3, available from Alfred Music, Amazing Grace and Simple Gifts, Folk Hymns for Beginning String Orchestra - at about level 2 (vln 1, 2, vla, vc and bass) available from  String Letter Publishing. In addition, String Quartet arrangements of Silent Night and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen: Christmas Songs for String Quartet. Intermediate level for students - fun to read on the gig for pros and available from  String Letter Publishing and Song for My Father and Besame Mucho, Latin String Quintet (violin 1, 2, vla, cello and bass) or string orchestra arrangements at about level 3 and available from String Letter Publishing.

2010 Spring was all around - conducted my own arrangement of Besame Mucho for the Washington Middle School from Seattle at an orchestra Festival here in the Bay Area. They were great! One student had written his own jazz solo, and the other two had memorized theirs. Very accomplished playing from that string orchestra. I taught cello - a lot of accompaniment and jazz soloing skills down at the gorgeous Big Sur Fiddle Camp during Easter week. Very exciting news from Wintergrass where I'm involved in planning some amazing new educational offerings. More about that later.

Early 2010 and winter started off with a bang. Taught two clinics at the American String Teachers Association Conference in my home stomping grounds of Santa Clara, CA then left immediately for Wintergrass in Bellvue, WA. Lots of fantastic kids in our Wintergrass Youth Academy (directed by Beth Fortune and Joe Craven!), many many interested adults in our Bluegrass Music Reading Session (new string arrangements for teachers to use) including a nice clinic by Brittany Haas. She taught an Appalachian tune from her by ear, then I taught our readers to play harmony and bass lines for the same tune from a lead sheet, then we played my arrangement of the tune. Then on to jamming and concerts for three fun-filled days.

 

Great Big Taters!
this field usually grows brussel sprouts
Here's a picture taken by Gordon Stevens of Open Path Music out at Fambrini Farms.

2009 Summer was a glorious time of teaching in the mountains (the Rockies and the Blue Ridge Mountains) and near the sea (UC Santa Cruz with the Mandolin Sympsium, San Diego's Strings By the Sea Camp), writing fun string quartet/orchestra arrangements (out now - see above) and performing and playing my cello and mandolin. Finished my last camp in September - teaching at the Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School where I performed with my heroes Liz Carroll and Darol Anger.
This past spring I've had several new publications; Tangerine Blue and Strawberry Ice (Blues Rock Originals for beginning string orchestra), String Letter Publishing; Hymns and Gospel Tunes for easy cello and piano (Bert Ligon wrote the piano parts), Mel Bay Publishing; and Midnight on the Water (Texas waltz for level 2 string orchestra) from Highland/Etling String Alternatives
Paul Zarzyski, the poet, writes:
Maybe it's just me, maybe I've watched way too many silver-screen horse operasfrom Shane to J.W. Coop to McCabe and Mrs. Miller, from Lonely Are The Brave to Lonesome Dove to Dances With Wolvesbut Renata Bratt's GREAT BIG TATERS lopes me back to my favorite Great Big True-Gritters.  Because her verve roams the whole soulful open range of creativity.  Because her bow arcs star-to-star, vista-after-big-two-hearted-vista, across musical frontiers.  In the keenly enunciated words of The Twilight Zone's Rod Serling, "imagine if you will" Annie Oakley meets Pablo Casals.
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