Say Hello to Offbeat Cello

By Alison Baumgartner

Say Hello to Offbeat Cello

If you think you are in for a straight-laced classical cello performance when Portland Cello Project comes to the Fort Collins Lincoln Center on October 12, think again. From symphony halls to rock clubs, the Portland Cello Project has been hailed as a “jolt of energy” by Spin Magazine, and “genre-crossing” by MTV.

“We play music you ordinarily wouldn’t hear on cellos,” says Doug Jenkins, artistic director and founding member of Portland Cello Project. “We build a bridge to the community with our music instead of being in an ivory tower.”

Making cello music accessible is why Portland Cello chose to take on Radiohead’s critically-acclaimed album, OK COMPUTER, playing the electronic masterpiece in its entirety with traditional instruments.

The Lincoln Center show will also feature vocalist Patti King, from The Shins. “We’re really lucky to have her,” says Jenkins. “She can win over any crowd in just one song.” Additionally, you expect to see Tyrone Hendrix, the former drummer for legends like Stevie Wonder and Prince. “Because we play music from all backgrounds, Hendrix really brings something special to it,” continues Jenkins.

Backed by a full band of talented musicians, the true stars of the performance are the world-class cellists who come in from all over the country, such as renowned improvisational cellist Skip von Kuske, and Diane Chaplin from the critically-acclaimed Colorado Quartet. “We all converge on the day of a show like Ocean’s 11,” jokes Jenkins.

Although OK COMPUTER is the highlight of the show, the opening set will not disappoint. With multiple musicians coming from diverse musical backgrounds it leaves the door wide open to a starting set of songs that can range anywhere from “Flight of the Bumblebee” to “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift.

This varied backgrounds of cellists, vocalists and instrumentalists is what makes Portland Cello Project so unique. In fact, no Portland Cello Project show is ever the same. “Every night is different,” says Jenkins. “That’s the most thrilling part. Every community is different too, and we adapt to them in that moment. We communicate with the audience and get a rapport going which in turn inspires us.”

You can see them at the Fort Collins Lincoln Center on October 12. Seats from $15 at

Leave a Reply