How did you get into music?
Peter: My older brother chose the cello, because it rhymed with jello. I wanted to be like him, so I started on cello too.
Madeleine: My dad takes care of instruments at a university in Cleveland, and once he brought home a viola da gamba that needed some work done on it. I took one look at it and immediately started begging to play it. My parents actually tried to find a gamba teacher but were advised to start me out on it’s more “modern” counterpart, the cello. I’ve never gone back.
Where and how did you train?
Madeleine: I started private lessons in Cleveland at age 11 (pretty late start for a string player, but I practiced A LOT!). I got into the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Young Artist Program during 9th grade, and spent the remaining 3 years of high school studying there while homeschooling to finish high school at the same time. I then got a Bachelor’s at Rice University, Master’s at the Juilliard School, and Artist Diploma at Oberlin Conservatory.
Peter: The American Suzuki Talent Education Center (Stevens Point) through high school. Then the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities for Bachelors and the Cleveland Institute of Music for Masters. How did I train? Hard….. that’s how.
How did you two meet?
Peter: We first met at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) way back in 2004 where I was getting a Masters Degree and Lynn was getting a Young Artist diploma. I often took breaks between intense practice sessions and would find myself wandering the practice room halls of CIM to see if any of my friends were also practicing. One day I heard some amazing cello playing coming from a practice room and found out that it was Madeleine, a high school senior, who was playing Dvorak Cello Concerto much better and way more in-tune than I was playing it. Of course my jealously made me knock on her practice room door and I introduced myself as “someone who was older and not as good at the cello as she was”…… little to say, I think she was flattered and we became friends. Many years later we revisited our friendship and had much to catch up about, including the day that we first met. The rest is history.
Madeleine: I’ll just add that back in high school, Peter was the really cute grad student I thought I’d never have a chance with. Years and years later, I took the principal cello audition for the Milwaukee Symphony, and re-connected with him because he had a job in their cello section at that point. I made the final round for the audition and because I was one of the final 3 people standing, they put me on the substitute list and started calling me very frequently to play with them. This allowed me to travel to Milwaukee frequently and spend time with Peter. I like to tell people that I didn’t win the job, but I won the guy!
How is wedding planning going? (I’m sure you’re tired of being asked.)
Madeleine: It’s getting there… I’m super excited about the wedding and have to tell you that I’m making my own wedding dress! I bought 10 yards of silk dupioni in Los Angeles’s fabric district last year, and the dress is almost done. It’s been quite a project since I did everything myself and have never made a dress from scratch before, but thankfully it has turned out just the way I wanted. The hardest part was making the first scissor cut into that beautiful fabric. I can’t wait to see all of our friends and family at the wedding.
Peter: If you were my mother, then yes, I would be tired of being asked, but because you asked nicely and not a billion times, the wedding planning is coming….. along….. slowly….. but surely. We have a gorgeous venue, a killer photographer, a full Hawaiian cuisine, enough cupcakes to feed an army, and our invitations are already coming back. What more do we need to do? Plenty…… I won’t get into it.
What extra-musical activities do you enjoy (together or separately)?
Peter: We both enjoy eating healthy and nourishing our bodies with healthy (organic, local, non GMO) foods. We like cooking together and make better food than you can get in a restaurant. We enjoy the company of friends and like playing games of all sorts. We love nature and animals. But most importantly, we always enjoy each other and our time together never feels stale or boring. We laugh and joke a lot but are very serious about our future together. We are great partners and friends.
As far as our music careers, let’s just say that she is the brilliant soloist and chamber musician. I’m the rock star. We both enjoy orchestral playing and teaching.
Are there any particular things you are looking forward to doing in the Lakes Area to celebrate?
Madeleine: LAMF will essentially be our first honeymoon, so we are really looking forward to spending time in this beautiful part of the country when we aren’t busy playing.
Peter: We will be getting married on August 8th, so Lakes Area Music Festival will be our first get-away from our lives in Milwaukee….. call it a ‘first honeymoon’ if you’d like (we plan on going to Hawaii in January for our official honeymoon). With so many beautiful lakes and nature to see, LAMF will be a great way to relax in a gorgeous area but will also be a tremendous amount of fun for us as we will be playing in the same cello section together. We would both love to spend as much time on a lake as possible this summer.
Are there any upcoming projects you are particularly excited about?
Peter: There is always something brewing for each of us. Lynn is most excited to be performing both the Saint Saens AND Korngold Cello Concertos back to back this November with the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra where she is Principal Cellist. She is also excited to finally start her garden this summer. We just bought a beautiful house in Milwaukee and we are both very excited about the opportunities it will bring us. For me musically, it seems as if I am always putting on a different hat each month and performing with my indie-rock band in venues across the country while juggling my teaching and performances with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. It is most exciting! Life is rich with opportunities if you make them happen and I’m not one to sit co-pilot when I can take the bull by the horns and enjoy the ride.
Madeleine: As Peter mentioned, we just bought a house… I think that’s the biggest “project” for us right now (moving in and setting it up the way we want). And yes, I am very excited about having a garden of my own for the first time! My first job at age 13 was actually working on a small organic farm, so the garden has been a long time coming.
Tell us something we might not expect about you.
Madeleine: I love little animals and have two pet chinchillas. I already mentioned that I’m making my own wedding dress, so I suppose that’s a skill people wouldn’t expect from me. I love plants and have plants all over the house… I’ve recently discovered that I’m really good at propagating African Violets…. Peter likes to give them away because they are everywhere! I protested at first but realized he was right.
Peter: I’m technically “hobbit height”. I stood next to actor Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy) and we were eye to eye. I don’t have hobbit feet though…… Ewwwww.
I always like the question “If you weren’t a musician, what do you imagine yourself doing for work?”…… the answer to that for me is Marketing. I love it; I’m a geek about statistics and I’m always thinking of different ways to market what I do (my band and the MSO) to as many people as possible.