Cellist David Hardy

February 14, 2001

Cellist David Hardy

By KEVIN CLAPP / Staff Writer

If you go:

Maryland Symphony Orchestra,

featuring cellist David Hardy

Program features Britten's "Four Sea Interludes" from "Peter Grimes"; Dutilleux's "Tout un monde lointain" for cello and orchestra; and Debussy's "La Mer"

Saturday, Feb. 17, 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 18, 3 p.m. Prelude is at 7 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.

The Maryland Theatre

21 S. Potomac St.


Tickets cost $12 to $40.

For information, call 301-797-4000.

The son of professional musicians, David Hardy felt at home behind a music stand at an early age.



Beginning with piano lessons in kindergarten and adding the cello in second grade, the Baltimore native abandoned the former and fully embraced the latter during high school.

"It was natural for the child in this family to pick an instrument and learn it," Hardy said in a phone interview Monday. "When I was a kid, I heard (British cellist) Jacqueline Du Pr, and I thought that was something else."

Saturday, Feb. 17, and Sunday, Feb. 18, Hardy will join Maryland Symphony Orchestra for performances at The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St. in Hagerstown. Selections include Britten's Four Sea Interludes from "Peter Grimes" and "La Mer" by Debussy. Hardy is the featured soloist during Dutilleux's "Tout un monde lointain."

"In my opinion, I think it's probably one of the four or five best concertos for cello written in the last century," he said about the piece. "There's a sheer beauty and ecstatic beauty that's in the piece, which one doesn't hear these days."

Maryland Symphony Orchestra Music Director Elizabeth Schulze agreed, which is one of the reasons the piece was chosen. Another is that the Dutilleux piece Hardy will play was commissioned by Mstislav Rostropovich, former music director of the National Symphony.

It was Rostropovich who appointed Hardy to the NSO in 1981, and Schulze suspects that Hardy's "performance will be very well-informed by the person who commissioned it." She also said that the work by Britten and Dutilleux is influenced by Debussy.

"Debussy still has, I think, more influence on composers than any other composer in the 20th century," she said. "It's just beautiful music."

In a career that spans more than two decades, Hardy has had the opportunity to perform across the nation and world. As a 21-year-old in 1979, he was awarded a certificate in the Geneva International Cello Competition. Three years later, Hardy was the top American prize-winner at the Seventh International Tchaikovsky Cello Competition in Moscow.

A graduate of Peabody Conservatory of Music, the cellist debuted as a soloist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He was 16.

Twenty years ago, he was tipped off to an opening with the National Symphony Orchestra by Peabody classmate Hugh Wolff, then an NSO associate conductor. Named associate principal cello by Rostropovich in 1981, Hardy was appointed principal cello of NSO in 1994 by Music Director Leonard Slatkin.

Performing with NSO, he worked with Schulze, who spent four years as an associate conductor with that symphony.

In addition to having a chance to perform the Dutilleux piece, Hardy said he looks forward to working with Schulze again.

"She's got a great, upbeat personality," he said. "And she's very thoughtful in her music making and is very positive."

Schulze said bringing a musician with regional roots such as Hardy to perform with MSO is something she hopes to do more of.

"He's one of the outstanding musicians produced in Maryland," she said. "One of the things that makes it so wonderful to live in Hagerstown is we're able to draw on the outstanding talent in the area."

As for his time with the National Symphony, Hardy embraces it and has no intention of leaving.

"I didn't have any expectations at that point. I was fresh out of school, and it was a great first job," Hardy said. "It's a great orchestra, and I've made it my home."

Besides, playing with NSO has given the cellist an opportunity to accommodate a generous slate of other activities. In addition to serving on the faculty of University of Maryland, he is a performer with the Opus 3 Trio and 20th Century Consort, and performs solo recitals.

He said the outside work is critical to his continued success.

"It certainly keeps you active and really in shape and in touch with the current musical scene," Hardy said. "When you're out there doing new music, it keeps you inspired."

Those in the audience this weekend should enjoy the Dutilleux piece, written in 1970 and a "very impressionistic" sounding work.

"It doesn't have to be a scary experience," Hardy said of attending the symphony. "It can be very accessible."

The Herald-Mail Articles