NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

June 11, 2010

The contemporary cellist

CD release concert is a homecoming for local musician

Old meets new with Georgetown cellist Kristen Miller's performance and album release tomorrow night at Newburyport's Firehouse Center for the Arts.

While the cello often is associated with the classical genre, the singer-songwriter's innovative technique of the instrument creates a sound uniquely contemporary.

The performer's mixture of cello, voice, poetry and loop box that records sounds and allows for layered effects transcends musical categorization. The final product blends adult alternative, classical and folk-rock, Miller says.

"My music walks the line between genres," she says.

Though her sound may be inventive, Miller largely credits her artistic inspirations. Classical composers Johann Sebastian Bach, Dmitri Shostakovich and Bé©la Bartók paired with more the mainstream figureheads of Led Zeppelin, Dead Can Dance and White Stripes all fostered the sound Miller has become known for.

"I might not sound like my inspirations, but they all do inspire me," she says.

With the upcoming release of her third solo album "Walk," Miller's musical career has been long in the making.

At the young age of 8, Miller realized an immediate fascination with the cello at Norwalk Public School in New York. Soon after joining the school's orchestra, she found her choice in instruments was unquestionable.

"When they demonstrated them all to us, the cello shook the floor," she says. "I was immediately hooked."

The young cellist continued her musical career through high school and eventually obtained a dual degree in cello performance and music education from the University of Connecticut in 1990. A summer program at New York University's Kodaly Institute supplemented her teaching of world music.

The next chapter in Miller's musical career landed her a seat in a local Boston orchestra. However, the strict rules and creative inflexibility forced her to leave.

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