Salonline 2022-06-19 DS al Cello w/ John Blair

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Sunday June 19 2022
Emerson Avenue Salonlines Proudly Presents
a Live YouTube Broadcast

– A “hybrid” concert –

Devree Lewis

cello and

Susanna Mendlow

cello, aka “DS al Cello” with guest artist

John Blair, clarinet

Cello, World!

Join us for a concert featuring DS al Cello, DC-based world music group. Devree Lewis and Susanna Mendlow present their unique renditions of classical and folk music using just their two instruments and voices. A dynamic duo, DS al Cello engages audiences through movement, storytelling, percussion, and song. From Vivaldi to Piazzolla to Disney, this concert will inspire you to get up and dance!


Bela Bartok
(from 44 Duos for Two Violins)
“Cushion Dance”
“Hay-Harvesting Song”
“Ruthenian Kolowejka”

Antonio Vivaldi
Allegro moderato from Concerto for Two Cellos in G Minor

Astor Piazzolla

Traditional Sephardic
“Morena me llaman”

Lin-Manuel Miranda
“We Don’t Talk about Bruno” from Encanto

Traditional Sephardic
“Yo M’enamore d’un Aire”

Friedrich Kummer
“Swiss Theme and Variations” from Duet for Two Cellos in F Major

Camille Saint-Saëns
“The Swan” from Carnival of the Animals

Traditional Japanese
“Sakura Sakura”

Edith Piaf & Luis Guglielmi
“La Vie en Rose”

Traditional Sephardic
“Ma’oz Tzur”



Praised for their breadth of timbre and emotion, DS al Cello has captured audiences of all ages, their dynamic musicianship and light-hearted on-stage banter creating an unforgettable listening experience. They infuse their programs with original improvisatory arrangements of traditional folk tunes and classical music works, taking their audiences on unique auditory adventures. Their unusual instrumentation of two cellos and occasional vocals creates a rare and striking sound.

Since the winter of 2019, DS al Cello has performed for live and virtual audiences both large and small. Notable programs include a series of interactive Sephardic music concerts and a featured segment on the new Virginia-based series Live from the Rug Shop. In 2020, their theme and variations based on the Turkish-Ladino melody “Avre Este Abajour” earned them an inaugural emerging artist grant from Emergent Seed, an organization devoted to supporting the careers of DC-based performers. Through Emergent Seed, DS al Cello received mentorship from awardwinning composer, producer, and musician Charlie Barnett, who described their playing as “absolutely stunning.” Emergent Seed also funded a live recording of their grant-winning composition with Blue House Productions in Silver Spring, MD.

Committed to community and educational outreach, DS al Cello has developed interactive programs for audiences of all ages. Their highest priority is to engage their listeners in active learning and inspire others to think differently and creatively about music. Skilled educators in their own right, both members of DS al Cello have taught various seminars, lectures, and applied classes on music. In 2022, they received funding from the DC Commission for Arts and Humanities to present interactive educational performances for local communities and residents of short-term housing facilities in the District.

Individually, the members of DS al Cello have performed and recorded a wide range of musical styles, such as classical, tango, pop, heavy metal, and experimental jazz. They both have toured extensively, including visits to Continental Europe, South and Central America, and Central Asia. Their individual explorations of non-classical music styles led them to develop skills in improvisation, arranging, and composition; DS al Cello’s inevitable partnership resulted from a conglomeration of overlapping passions.

Devree Lewis, cellist, is a prolific performer, arranger, and concert producer based in Washington, D.C. Founding member of Trifilio Tango Trio, she is also principal cellist of Amadeus Orchestra and performs in cello duo with Susanna Mendlow, in addition to freelancing cross-genre and classical music across the U.S. East Coast. Internationally, Devree has toured with Trifilio Tango Trio, Pan American Symphony, and UNSCA String Quartet to various venues in Argentina, Cuba, Peru, Lebanon, and Austria.

As freelancer, Devree performs in cello sections for Richmond Symphony, Annapolis Symphony, Lancaster Symphony, New Orchestra of Washington, Gourmet Symphony, and Post-Classical Ensemble. Devree played side-by-side with Cleveland Orchestra at Kent/Blossom Music Festival and performed at the premiere season of the Hollywood in Vienna Festival with the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in Vienna, Austria. In 2015, Pennsylvania Philharmonic featured Devree as principal cellist and soloist, accompanying David Kim, concertmaster for Philadelphia Orchestra, in Vivaldi’s and Piazzolla’s Four Seasons.

Devree won performance scholarships to Killington Music Festival, Kent/Blossom Music Festival, North Carolina School of the Arts, and University of Maryland’s Graduate Assistant program in Music Performance, where she received her Master’s degree. During her studies she performed in masterclasses for Mischa Maisky, Bonnie Hampton, Steven Doane, David Finckel, Stephen Geber, David Ying, and Miro Quartet.

Soon after completing her degrees, Devree joined metal cello band Primitivity and can be heard on their 2013 album Evolution. She also arranged multiple songs for the group and was a full-time member 2009-2014. In addition to metal, Devree provides studio sessions in other cross-over genres and creates original music arrangements; she also arranges for musical theater, string quartet, tango small ensemble, and string orchestra. The National Symphony of Cuba premiered her arrangement of “Ni Pelota: Milonga” by E. Trifilio in 2017; her arrangements have also been performed by the Hubbard Quartet at venues including San Francisco New Music Center and
Tanglewood Music Festival, by the Invoke Quartet in Austin, TX, and Manhattan Chamber Music.

A dedicated educator, Devree maintains a private studio of 30 piano and cello students; in 2017, she created curriculum for and directed D.C.’s first youth tango orchestra, culminating in a concert at the Embassy of Argentina featuring her tango arrangements for strings and bandoneon. Devree joined the faculty of Cellospeak, a summer festival for adult cellists, in 2019.

Devree co-founded and performed in Trifilio Tango Trio from 2015-2018. “Milonga de la Ausencia” from their first album, a track featuring Devree on cello, was chosen as soundtrack for the short film “Vuelve con nosotros” and was nominated as best original score at Milan’s 2016 MOFF Film Festival. Along with several U.S. and international tours, Trifilio Tango Trio released three albums recorded and produced in Argentina.

Susanna Mendlow, cellist, is a versatile performer, arranger, and educator living in Washington D.C. She is a founding member of both Kassia Music and DS al Cello and is the current cellist for QuinTango. Susanna plays a variety of musical styles, including western classical, ethnic folk, tango, and pop. As both a soloist and chamber musician, she has performed extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Mexico, and Central Asia.

Susanna’s various projects have brought her to such venues as Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Recital Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Miller Theatre, Symphony Space, Le Poisson Rouge, the Verizon Center, the National Gallery, the Kennedy Center, and the
National Cathedral. As a freelance musician, she has played with the Washington Concert Opera, Richmond Symphony, and Post- Classical Ensemble. She has collaborated with numerous artists, including Alan Kay, Frank Morelli, Dmitri Berlinsky, Colin Carr, and members of the Emerson Quartet. She also has worked with composers Kaija Saariaho, Marc Neikrug, Julia Adolphe, Frank Stemper, Stacy Garrop, Judith Shatin, and Noam Faingold, premiering works by the latter four.

During her post-secondary studies, Susanna was the recipient of several scholarships and awards, including teaching fellowships for both of her graduate degrees. She received her BA in psychology and music from Columbia University, where she earned a leadership award for her role as the classical department director for WKCR 89.9 FM NY. While at Michigan State University for her MM, Susanna and three jazz musicians formed Moyindau, an experimental jazz and ethnic folk quartet. Moyindau performed throughout the contiguous US before touring Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic as part of a project to build cross-cultural connections through music. Subsequently, Susanna continued her exploration of arranging and performing non-Western music at SUNY Stony Brook, where she completed her DMA. Her doctoral paper, “Musical Transcription and Arrangement in the 21st Century: The Challenges of Reinterpreting a Traditional Bulgarian Folk Song”, uses a personal case study to explore the concept of authenticity in modern music performance. Susanna studied with Suren Bagratuni, Misha Quint, and Colin Carr.

As an educator, Susanna strives to provide a well-rounded music-learning experience, which includes exploring multiple genres, improvisation, and music theory in a supportive and engaging environment. From 2015 to 2019, Susanna served first as Administrative Director and then as Executive Director for Cellospeak, a non-profit devoted to the education of adult cellists. She continues her relationship with the organization as a member of the faculty, coaching small ensembles and teaching classes on technique, musicianship, stage fright, and improvisation. Susanna also teaches cello in her private studio and serves on the faculty of Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, MD.

Recently, Susanna has enjoyed performing with her three main ensembles and teaching her varied students. In 2020 and 2121, she earned an artist fellowship from the DC Commission for the Arts and Humanities as well as an Emergent Seed award for writing DS al Cello’s “Variations on Avre Este Abajour”. Her debut album, which features her cello arrangement of Mendelssohn’s third violin sonata and works for solo cello by Julia Adolphe and Noam Faingold, is scheduled for release in 2022.

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