I began my journey into the musical world when I was 4 years old. My mother signed me up for piano lessons and I loved it. Seven years later I was introduced to the cello by my fourth grade strings teacher, Marjorie Keefe, an inspiring and dedicated pedagogue in Philadelphia, PA.

At 16, I decided that Cello should be my focus and began taking lessons at the Settlement Music School with Charles Forbes. 

Before I go on, I need to mention the strong influence of my aunt, Joyce Irons. She was a wonderful cellist who performed and taught in the Philadelphia area for years. Because she was so deeply rooted in the music community, I was exposed to inspiring Chamber music concerts and recitals of which she was an integral part of. I don't know where I would be without her loving support of my musical ambitions.

After a whirlwind year of preparation, I was accepted to the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, CT. There, I studied with David Wells along with the added benefit of the occasional masterclass or performance by the famed Emerson String Quartet. In my final year, I was fortunate enough to win the student competition and perform the first movement of the Schubert Quintet with them. I received my Master of Music in Orchestral Performance from the Manhattan School of Music where I won a full tuition scholarship to attend. 

From there I launched into professional life as a freelance cellist, performing as a member of the Albany Symphony, Springfield (MA) Symphony where I was Assistant Principal Cello, and New Haven Symphony.

 

Finally settling in Fairfield County, CT, I held the position of Principal Cello for the Ridgefield Symphony for 13 years before moving on to explore other musical opportunities outside of the classical music realm. Enter Radio City Christmas Spectacular! After that hectic but fun experience, I won the Principal Cello position for the short-lived Spring Spectacular. Soon after, I played studio sessions for various artists including daytime TV's 'One Life to Live', performed at the MET Ball in Frank Ocean's band, and have played shows at Westport Playhouse and most recently, ACT of CT in Ridgefield. I am also a member of the Greenwich Symphony.

In 2018 I began composing music for cello and piano and cello duo. The latter being my favorite! I hope to create many multi-genre duos so make sure you check back in on my website. Especially if you know any cellists or cello students looking for new, interesting repertoire for duo. 

©2020 by Melissa Westgate. Proudly created with Wix.com