LH PROFILE: Michael Berg on the Cello

Michael Berg ’17 has had a musical career spanning the last 14 years. Now, the three year All- Stater and National Honors Orchestra performer reflect on his past years playing the cello and what the future might hold.

How long have you been playing cello?

“14 years.”



Why did you start playing cello?

“My parents decided it would be a good idea for me to play an instrument, and somehow cello was decided. I wasn’t happy with it at the time but over time I’ve become happy with it.”



Are you looking to further your cello career after high school?

“I haven’t completely decided yet . I’m looking at schools that have strong music programs and strong academics so I won’t be restricted.”


What’s your favorite part about playing cello?

“It’s a fun instrument to play because it’s less stressful than being a violinist but you get less hate than being a viola.”


What is your favorite musical memory?

“Playing in chamber groups in California Idyllwild Summer music festival.”


Why do you like music?

“It’s beautiful, but I never listen to myself play cello”  


Who’s your favorite composer?

Elgar is my favorite cello composer but I also really like Dvorak.”


How often and how long do you practice?

“I try for a hour a day, two is a good goal, depending on cross country and school. Convincing myself to practice is one of the biggest challenges, because practicing is no fun.”


Have you ever composed any music?

“No, I’m not terribly interested in it.”


Do you enjoy playing solo or in groups?

“I prefer solo in chamber groups more than orchestra. In orchestra you have to put your head down and play with everybody else is playing, but in chamber groups and solo, you can interpret the music yourself.


Who’s your teacher?                                                                                                                      “I currently study with Tony Arnone, but I started out with Kate Dykstra Voss at the Preucil School of Music. My musical education technically started at Preucil preschool.”


How to do you express yourself in the music you are given?

“The composer gives you the notes, but it’s up to you to make them music. If you have something to say it becomes more musical.”


What’s your favorite venue to play at?

Wilson auditorium at the Preucil School of Music. It’s ugly but it sounds good.


Have you ever wanted to switch to a different instrument?

“I did play trombone for a brief stint in fifth grade. After that I decided I preferred to play one instrument well instead of two instruments OK-ish.”


What do you think the cello sounds like?

“Some may it sounds like the human voice. Because it’s in the same frequency range.”