It’s not surprising after being born into a family of string players that I developed a passion for the cello. As a small boy, my father took me to study with Hans Koebel, a German cellist who was a student of Julius Klengel. While waiting for my father’s lessons to finish, I would play football on the lawn next to the music building. So by the time I was in junior high school, not only was I an accomplished cellist, but I was the leading scorer in my school’s football conference. My parents always took me regularly to hear the symphony while my grandfather would take me to Big Ten football games. Today, I am not only a concert artist, but also an avid NFL fan.
My mother Elaine, a former beauty queen and artist savant studied painting with American artist Marvin Cone who had me pose for his drawing classes as a boy. Today I participate in multimedia productions by improvising to the brilliant art images of the transcendental artist, Adi Da, as well as performing in different galleries and exhibits.
Currently I live in Minneapolis, MN where I teach both professionals and amateurs locally in person and globally via the internet. I concertize frequently performing solo recitals and concertos with orchestra in various venues both in the US and abroad.
When I am not performing, I commit my time to working on the “Master The Cello” website where I’ve collected a body of information about the methods and techniques developed by Demetrius Dounis.
The reason I was so impressed by the Dounis theories when I discovered them was because I had studied with so many famous teachers and yet the majority of the information was entirely new to me. These were logical and cohesive principles of playing derived from his observations of the common denominators of great players. They addressed the most basic elements of playing like holding the bow, drawing the bow, bow changes, vibrato, shifting, crossing strings, detache and so on.
At first, I was very skeptical and questioned everything, but I was eventually converted by the success of the methods. Again, it really shocked me that no one had ever presented this information to me before, but it is clear now, it is not part of the current orthodoxy of string playing.
Since it was obvious to me this was a gold mine for any string player who wanted to excel, I was very moved to share it. This is how the website began. My goal has been not just to collect this knowledge but to master it, which is what I have been doing over the last 20 years.
Byron Duckwall began his studies with his father at age 7. I studied with many great teachers including, Joel Krosnick, Dudley Powers, Aldo Parisot, Bernard Greenhouse, Lazlo Varga, Robert Gardner, Daniel Morganstern and most notably George Neikurg. At 17, I won the Greater Chicago Youth Orchestra competition and soloed in Orchestra Hall. Soon after I won a full scholarship to the New England Conservatory. Performing the Vivaldi Double Concerto with Aldo Parisot critics praised Byron’s playing saying his "timing and resonance were exceptional.”
At age 20, Byron became faculty cellist for the Center for New Music, a Rockefeller Foundation group. I attended both Yale Graduate School of Music and San Francisco State University and has received both a bachelors and masters degree in music.
After receiving his degrees, I moved to New York City where I worked for the Metropolitan Opera Association and played in the Trio Antara under New York management. Esteemed New York Times critic Peter G. Davis wrote of their playing"...a luscious sound tempered by a sensitive feeling for the music's rhythmic lilt and subtly shifting colors."
Shortly after, Byron accepted the post of principal cellist in the Orcuestra da Estadual de Sao Paulo under Brazilian conductor Eleazar de Carvalho where I soloed on national Brazilian television.
After moving to Boston I met George Neikrug in 1987 and began studying the Dounis method. Professor Neikrug said of Byron “His playing exhibits an effortless technique and a uniquely beautiful and identifiable tone."
Currently Byron concertizes in the US and abroad. Most recently I launched the MTC “Master The Cello” website revealing the string playing secrets of D.C. Dounis.