Camden Shaw

Introducing Camden Shaw

0414a Camden Shaw

Are you a current Rice student? If not, what is your association with Rice?

I was at the Shepherd School for two years in the string quartet program with the Dover Quartet.

Why did you choose to play cello?

I started playing cello when I was six, because my parents wanted to play string quartets as a family—being born last, I had no choice which instrument to play. My first cello had to be re-varnished, because I cried on it so much while practicing—but once I grew to love the cello, I never looked back!

Where and with whom have you previously studied, and who is your current teacher?

Some of my major teachers were Peter Wiley at the Curtis Institute, Steven Isserlis at IMS Prussia Cove, and Norman Fischer at Rice University’s Shepherd School.

What or who are your most important musical influences?

The quartet studied with Norman Fischer, James Dunham, and Kenneth Goldsmith, and they shaped the way that we rehearse and experience music tremendously. More than that, they had so much insight into the life of a quartet musician in ways that we’re just now discovering, and their mentorship was absolutely invaluable.

What do you like about Rice and the Shepherd School of Music?

What I especially loved about the Shepherd School was the attitude of the students; so many music students in the world end up being resentful of the opportunities afforded them—orchestra, coachings, lessons—out of a desire to stay alone and practice their concertos. Not at Shepherd. Everyone was excited about everything!  Orchestra was something to look forward to. People attended each other’s recitals—and not out of obligation, but out of support. The practice rooms were always full with people getting better, and loving the process. It’s a wonderful place!

What was one of your best musical experiences?

My most powerful musical experience was performing Beethoven’s string quartet opus 131—the only page turn that was impossible was the last page of the piece, so for the whole performance I saw the very last page waiting there on the stand.  Something about that really stuck with me—about being somehow aware of the end, through our whole journey—it seemed to match so perfectly with the piece and with Beethoven grappling with the idea of the ultimate end. By the time we were playing the last page, I was almost in tears onstage. What great music!

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