Fort Smith Symphony’s principal cello on newfound appreciation for live performance in 2021

Posted on: April 20, 2021

An outdoor performance of the Fort Smith Symphony at the U.S. Marshals Museum, led by Music Director John Jeter

“If classical music needed a pitch man, Rob Bradshaw ought to be the first choice,” writes Becca Martin-Brown in Sunday’s (4/18) Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock). “His enthusiasm is genuine and infectious as he talks about being principal cellist for the Fort Smith Symphony and featured artist at the next concert, performing Vivaldi’s G minor Concerto RV 416. It’s one of his favorites, he says, ‘because it showcases the cello’s virtuosic capabilities…. During Vivaldi’s time, the cello was largely used to accompany other instruments and singers and not thought of as a solo instrument…. This work shows off the range of the cello, both in its fast, intricate passages … and in its beautiful, songful melodies.’ … The life lesson Bradshaw learned during the covid-19 shutdown: … ‘Until the pandemic started, I largely took performing in concerts for granted,’ … says Bradshaw, who also plays with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and teaches music in the Norman Public Schools where he was educated…. ‘The energy that is present in live performance, and especially among talented colleagues and friends, is something that cannot be matched…. I will never underestimate the value I find in experiencing, sharing, and communicating through live music.’ ”