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And if you think these are just a bunch of hobby cellists: wrong! Out of the five cellists, three of them have studied cello at the conservatory and are making a full-time living as cellists. Michael Weiss, the Cello Mafia's Michele Spaghettini, who studied cello at the Munich Music Academy, is a permanent member of the D'Accord Trio and also teaches cello at the Pullach Music Academy. Thomas Wollenweber, Bruno Maccarone in Cello Mafia terminology, studied cello at the Munich Conservatory and, after graduation with top marks, has been making a living as a freelance cellist.

Fany Kammerlander, whose character of Ms Tagliatelle is the only woman in the Cello Mafia, is an established cello virtuoso who plays with a number of successful ensembles in Germany, including the Perl Duo, the Rossini Quartet and the Faro Duo. Whether it is fun versions of La Bamba (which becomes 'La Bomba' once it has been handed over to the cello mafia) or Abba's Money, Money, Money, the attractive young cellist is able to exploit an amazingly full range of colors. Kammerlander studied not only with Peter Besig and Jan Polasek, but also with Heinrich Schiff who, of course, was a close associate of Boris Pergamenschikow.

The Cello Mafia
The Cello Mafia

All in all, the show is a great deal of cello-fun, which should delight not only cello-fans but anyone who likes a good laugh. Unfortunately, right now, the show only exists in the original German language script, which means that international visitors, of which there were quite a few, may not understand everything that is going on. Rumor has it that they are currently working on a translation and are planning to take the show on tour across Europe -- but you know what it's like with mafiosi. It is difficult to get them to confirm or deny anything because they tend to shoot you for asking too many questions. But the good news is that their website contains downloadable DVD excerpts of their show, which are absolutely free and give a good idea of what to expect should you get the opportunity to see them in person.

Copyright © 27 November 2004 Tess Crebbin, Germany


Tess Crebbin experienced the Cello Mafia on 2 November 2004 at the Pasinger Fabrik in Munich, Germany. Special thanks to Ronja de Haan of Hotel München Palace.

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