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Elinor Frey

Ph credits Elisabeth Delage

Where were you born?

Seattle, Washington, USA

Where do you live? 

Montréal, Québec, Canada

What is your favorite instrument? 

The violin… but of the ones I play, I love my small cello tuned an octave below the violin. It offers a wonderful colourful palate and so much great music.

What repertoire do you play?

Mostly mid-18th century baroque and galant cello works, but also 17th century ensemble music and classical concertos

What repertoire do you not play at all?

Piazzola. Not for me.

Why did you start playing music? 

It transported me to another world and made me feel bittersweet joy. I also loved taking cello lessons with my very kind teachers. 

What music did you listen to as child?

My aunt, Barbara Thornton, was a singer of medieval music, I loved this. I also loved Tchaikovsky and pop music like George Michael.

What was your first record? 

A Festival of Lessons and Carols – King’s College: 

In which musical period would you like to live? 

Right now. Amazing new music and magnificent performances of old music. I wouldn’t want to miss even one year of what we have of the past and I want to hear as much as the future as I can.

Where can we find you when you are not making music?

Walking through ancient cities.

Where did you study?

I studied Baroque cello on a Fulbright Fellowship with Paolo Beschi in Como, Italy. I have a doctorate from McGill University, a Master’s degree from the Juilliard School in New York, and a Bachelor’s degree from the Mannes College of Music. I also studied privately with Hans Jensen in Chicago.

Who is your favorite composer?

Boccherini, Bach, and Dall’Abaco all tie for the top spot right now.

Which composer would you like the public to (re)discover?

Giuseppe Clemente Dall’Abaco. He made a beautiful contribution to the cello in the mid-18th century. Great music that is also very satisfying to play.

What was your first recording?

La voce del violoncello (2013)

What is your own favorite Passacaille recording?

Berlin Sonatas was a magical experience for me. The combination of 5-string cello and Silberman fortepiano is something I really enjoyed and still love.

What is your favorite Passacaille recording (in general)? 

CPE Bach Concertos with Christoph Coin

Who do you dream of recording with? 

Christoph Coin. Major hero. 

Where do you dream of making a recording?

I would love to record at the Augustusburg and Falkenlust Palaces near Bonn, Germany, where Dall’Abaco lived and worked,  but probably the acoustic is not great for a cello recording.

What piece have you never recorded but would love to record?

CPE Bach A minor concerto. It has passion and charm, a wonderful work.

What do you do before playing a concert?

Try to fall in love with the music even more.

What do you do after a concert? 

Try to fall in love with the music even more.

What would you do if you were not a musician? 

I would be an archeaologist and look for old treasure.