Andrew Robert Travers
I began learning the cello in 5th grade at Mark Twain Elementary School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I asked for a greater challenge, my parents arranged for private lessons, and my growth as a cellist progressed quickly. By my sophomore year, I knew that I wanted to teach in schools, teach from my own studio, and perform whenever possible. I attended the University of Connecticut in Storrs, studied cello with Mary Lou Rylands, and achieved a dual degree with a Bachelors of Arts in Music, and a Bachelors of Science in Education.
The next chapter in my teaching and performing journey was in Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada. I taught in the Clark County School District for seven years, maintained a ‘travel-to-you’ music studio, and performed with the Las Vegas Philharmonic and other groups in the surrounding area for eight years. During the last years in the Moapa desert I was exposed to two ideas that greatly inform my philosophy of music education: Suzuki Method, and El Sistema. During the last 15 months in Las Vegas, I completed my Masters in Music Education from Boston University. This masters program further enhanced my desire to advance social justice in our world based strongly on the work of Paulo Freire in Pedagogy of the Oppressed.
I returned with my wife Maria and our son Liam to Sioux Falls in 2010. I began working in an Early Childhood Suzuki violin program that fall and developing a private studio from my home while substitute teaching the Sioux Falls School District. By the Spring, I interviewed successfully to teach as a Middle School and Elementary School string teacher. I also began as a section cellist with the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra, and as acting principal in the Northwest Iowa Symphony Orchestra.
In 2015 I attended my first Suzuki Summer Institute in Chicago. This institute was founded by Gilda Barston and is a cello mecca. The campus of Trinity College provides facilities and a beautiful backdrop for indoor and outdoor music-making. I took the first course required for book training, Every Child Can! and Book 1 training with Barbara Wampner. I returned in 2016 to take book 2 and 3 training with Barbara Wampner. I took a one year break before doubling my efforts and attending the Suzuki Association of the Americas Conference in Minneapolis in May, and book 4 and 5 training with Pamela Devenport in July. I plan to continue my book training by returning to CSI for book 6 and 7 training in the summer of 2020.
I highly recommend that all families read Nurtured by Love by Shinichi Suzuki. I first read this book at the time of Liam’s birth in Las Vegas. The themes and ideas shared by Dr. Suzuki were overwhelming as I considered my role as a father and my greatest hopes for my first born. That I can share the process of building noble spirits through music with you and your family is my artistic profession and my personal passion.
Suzuki Association of the Americas Bio Page
I perform with acoustic and electric cello under the name Phaedra. I like to incorporate live looping techniques with familiar and original compositions. I am quite comfortable jamming in myriad idioms of music alone or with others. My time living in Las Vegas provided many opportunities to perform. The Las Vegas Philharmonic afforded me the opportunity to perform with Andrea Bocelli, Vanessa Williams, Matt Haimovitz, and Clint Holmes to name a few. Additionally, I performed with Wayne Newton’s Show for a week’s run, and The Lion King Las Vegas for several weeks, as well as more weddings than I can count or remember. While now my main performing gigs tend to be classical concerts with the Northwest Iowa Symphony Orchestra or the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra, I am always interested in collaborating with other musicians. Please check out the Psalm project with Shane Heilman, and the Covid Cello Project with Tony Rogers for recent performance work.