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Artist Profile

Eugene Friesen

Eugene Friesen

"Friesen's frenzied bowings and soaring melodies sent many in the audience home in a state of musical rapture." -The Washington Post

"A superior performer able to synthesize a vast array of influences and ideas into an entertaining, musically satisfying whole." - Tower Pulse

Eugene Friesen, composer/cellist, is at the forefront of a new generation of musicians versed in classical, popular and world music. Friesen's gift for the responsive flow of improvisatory music has been featured in concerts all over the world with the Paul Winter Consort, Trio Globo, and with poets Yevgeny Yevtushenko and Coleman Barks. He has performed as a soloist at the International Cello Festival in Manchester, England; Rencontres d'Ensembles de Violoncelles in Beauvais, France; International Cello Encounter in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and at the World Cello Congress in Baltimore, Maryland.

His compositional credits include many albums of original music: Sono Miho; In The Shade Of Angels; New Friend; Arms Around You; The Song of Rivers; Grasslands, a symphony premiered on the Kansas prairie in 1997; Earth Requiem: Stories of Hope, an oratorio first performed in 1991; The Brementown Musicians with Bob Hoskins for Rabbit Ears Productions in 1992; Sabbaths, settings of poems by Wendell Berry premiered by the Brattleboro Music Center in 1999; and numerous scores for documentary films. Eugene's music can also be heard on the recordings of Trio Globo, which he founded in 1992 with Howard Levy and Glen Velez.

Friesen was awarded Grammy awards as a member of the Paul Winter Consort in 1994 2006 and 2007. He was also the 1999 recipient of grants from the Lila Wallace/Reader's Digest Fund and Continental Harmony to compose a symphonic setting of Carl Sandburg's PRAIRIE, which was premiered in June of 2001 at PrairieFest in Kansas.

Artist's Media Player

Tour Dates

Artist Country State City Venue Date
Eugene Friesen United States California Pasadena Pasadena Presbyterian Church Mar 26, 2010
Eugene Friesen United States Massachusetts Northampton Northampton Center for the Arts Apr 09, 2010
Eugene Friesen United States Vermont Bellows Falls Emmanuel Episcopal Church (Stone Church Arts) Apr 10, 2010
The Song of Rivers Cover
  • The Song of Rivers
  • Jazz, New Age
  • Eugene Friesen
  • 07/27/2008
  • The Song of Rivers
Liner Notes: New Rhythms and Melodies for Cello, Voice, Guitar, Piano, Harmonica, Flute and Drums, with special guest, poet Philip Levine. "Rivers are powerful metaphors for artists of all disciplines. Music is especially effective at describing the swirl, froth and movement of water, the mystical quality of a natural place and the varied tempers of nature. But music can also express the human presence in a natural environment, evoking the spirit in which the human community interacts with the river." - Eugene Friesen Eugene Friesen - cello and voice Howard Levy - piano, harmonica, whistling and flute Glen Velez - drums and percussion Chuck Loeb - guitars Paul Halley - piano (on Cove, River Camp and Sarabande. Philip Levine - poet (The Water's Chant) All compositions (except Sarabande, River Camp and The Water's Chant) by Eugene Friesen, published by Onegin Music (BMI). The poem The Water's Chant written by Philip Levine (from the collection "Ashes" used by permission of the author), with music by Friesen, Levy, Loeb and Velez, published by Onegin Music (BMI). River Camp was composed by Eugene Friesen and Paul Halley, published by Onegin Music (BMI). Sarabande (A Christmas Greeting for Pablo Casals) - composed by Herbert Murrill, published by Oxford University Press, London. Produced by Tom Bates and Eugene Friesen. Engineered, mixed and mastered by Tom Bates.
  1. Upriver
  2. Cove
  3. Hymn For The Pacific Rim
  4. The Water's Chant
  5. We Shall Gather
  6. The Song of Rivers
  7. Anniversary
  8. River Camp
  9. Sarabande
  10. This Valley
  11. San Joaquin
In the Shade of Angels Cover
  • In the Shade of Angels
  • Jazz, New Age
  • Eugene Friesen
  • 10/01/2006
  • In the Shade of Angels
  1. Still Life With Moose
  2. In The Shade Of Angels
  3. Drumboat
  4. Humpback Harmony
  5. Celloman Blues
  6. Dances Of Rasputin
  7. Zikker
  8. Shadow Play
  9. Waiting For Mei-mei
  10. I've Always Hated Those Big Violins...
  11. Some Other Time
  12. The Rest Of My Days
Sono Miho Cover
  • Sono Miho
  • New Age, Christian/Gospel
  • Eugene Friesen
  • 06/01/2008
  • Sono Miho
Liner Notes: I had the chance to improvise in one of the world’s architectural treasures, the Miho Museum of Japan. Designed by celebrated architect, I. M. Pei, the Miho Museum is nestled in the mountains above Kyoto. Every detail of the museum is beautiful to the eye, and the design enhances the impact of the art collection in an inspired way. The use of glass in walls and ceilings permits a constant play of light throughout, and many of the chambers have extraordinary acoustics. It was amazing to move from room to room with my cello and feel the different qualities and sounds of each space, the change in acoustics, light, and of course the collection itself: Buddhas from many cultures, ancient tapestries and artifacts, religious icons, carvings, mosaics and much more. As we heard the cello respond to these changes in free play, we imagined returning some day to record, and when the stewards of the museum heard of our idea, they responded enthusiastically. My collaborator, Jody Elff, a sound designer, guitarist and engineer, traveled with me to the Miho Museum. Jody captured a sound of the cello I’ve never heard before, rich, alive and sonorous, but more, he also captured the essence of the museum’s acoustics. While the music conveys the spirit of the rooms, I feel the recording reflects the experience of being in the place. It was not necessary to add any artificial reverberation to the recordings, what you hear is all Miho. The album includes several freely improvised pieces which are good examples of my best playing. We also recorded two pieces from the cello suites of J. S. Bach: the Prelude in D Minor, and the Sarabande in C Minor. To express a sense of the ancient, we recorded a beautiful fourth century plainsong, Te Lucis, which you hear first with my voice, and which recurs at several points. Jody contributes sounds of his electric guitar played with an “e-bow,” a device which sustains the sound of the guitar in an angelic way. Jody also used a laptop to create beautiful sounds and pieces from recordings made in the museum. We were fortunate also to have the collaboration of a wonderful taiko drummer from Japan, Koji Nakamura. The taiko are large drums and Koji brought two which activate the acoustics of the museum in a distinctive way. Koji and I fashioned two duets, and he improvised several dramatic fanfares which are featured as interludes.
  1. Triangles/akatombo
  2. Kiva Improv 1
  3. A Lion-headed Deity Reluctantly Assumes the Throne...
  4. Arsinoe II
  5. Celestial Musician
  6. Evening Hymn (Te Lucis)
  7. Prelude In D Minor for Unaccompanied Cello...
  8. Cupid
  9. Furusato Improv
  10. Sarabande In C Minor for Unaccompanied Cello...
  11. A Winged Genius and His Royal Attendant...
  12. Voices
  13. Kiva Improv 2
  14. Misono Vespers