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Ellen Nettleton


muso_ellen_nettleton_0845Ellen Nettleton began playing cello at age 10 under the direction of Wyoming Middle School music director Alberta Schneider. Her private teachers include Elizabeth Gottling-Mendoza, Laura McLellan, Dr. Steven Shumway, Pansy Chang and Bruce Uchimura.

Over the next several years she was invited to play with the regional and state orchestras, earning first or second chair every year. She remembers working with those directors for three very intense days to get ready for a performance, much like a professional orchestra, and looks back fondly on all the friends she made each year.

Festivals have been another key factor in her love of music, as they exposed her to all kinds of new people, kids from all over the country, different conductors and playing in various ensembles. Her favorite kind of groups are quartets and trios.

Although soloing with an orchestra is an honor, it is difficult to come by those opportunities. But in undergrad she won a concerto competition, earning the chance to play the first movement of Dvořák’s Cello Concerto with the university symphony at Miami University, and similarly in grad school, performing the first movement of the Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1 with the Western Michigan University Symphony.

While at WMU, she was given an unusual opportunity to teach a full semester while her teacher was on sabbatical. This experience was stressful but extremely rewarding, as it taught her how much fun it was to teach on the collegiate level and also to gain an understanding of how much work it is to teach a full studio, and as a result, gave her a much deeper appreciation for all the hours her teachers and professors gave to help her push toward her career in music. Ultimately, being at this level cultivates an enjoyment of playing with some incredibly talented, wonderful colleagues.

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