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Cello Chat with Host Dr. Benjamin Whitcomb and guest BIANCA D’AVILA DO PRADO

About the Episode 

This week my guest on You Had Me At Cello is BIANCA D’AVILA DO PRADO. She loves playing the cello, and her main goal as a teacher is to help her students learn to love it as much as she does. According to Bianca, it all comes from a positive and diligent approach to effective practice so they can sound good and have fun while learning and discovering their potential as musicians. Learn more:

Meet the Guest

Brazilian cellist, pedagogue, and composer Bianca d’Avila do Prado is cello faculty at the Music Institute of Chicago and online instructor for the University of Idaho Preparatory Division. She also coordinates the MIC Third Coast Suzuki Strings, a tuition-free cello program for the Hispanic community in Evanston, IL and often plays as a guest musician with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra.    Prado was a recipient of the Music Institute of Chicago 2023 Teacher of Note Award, presented to teachers who represent the excellence of the entire MIC’s internationally acclaimed, award-winning faculty, demonstrating dedication, enthusiasm and inspiration in their teaching.  Prado holds a Master of Music in Cello Performance and String Pedagogy degree from Illinois State University. At ISU, she completed her cello studies under Adriana Ransom and Cora Swenson-Lee, receiving a scholarship to work as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the ISU String Project, and was the ISU Symphony Orchestra principal cello.  Her Suzuki Teaching Training Courses include Suzuki Filosofia with Shinobu Saito and Eduardo Ludueña, Every Child Can with Edward Kreitman and Suzuki Cello Units 1, 2, 3 and 4 with David Evenchick, Units 5, 6, 7 and 8 with Tanya Carey and Revisiting Unit 1 with Sally Gross. She was part of the Clases Grupales training with Andrea Spinzo and the Setting Up Families for Success seminar with Christine Goodner. She also attended the Group Class Techniques course with Carey Beth Hockett and the Cello Practicum training with Nancy Hair at the Chicago Suzuki Institute.    Bianca is a sought-after clinician and has been invited to teach at the Illinois State University String Project Summer Camp in 2019 and 2020, the First Sandpoint Summer Strings Festival in 2021 and the Encontro de Violoncelos in Brazil since 2018. She was invited to teach an online workshop at the Eastman Cello Institute in 2023.  Prado gained her Bachelor’s in Cello Performance in 2007, studying with Angela Ferrari at Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, in Brazil. She recorded six CDs with the Camerata Ontoarte, two of them featuring the internationally acclaimed soprano Carla Maffioletti. With the same group, she had the opportunity to tour and perform concerts in Brazil, Italy, and Russia. She was also part of a project called A Lua de Santiago, recording a repertoire composed by Fernando Avila for accordion and string quintet.  Prado was part of the Theatro São Pedro Chamber Orchestra from 2011 to 2018 and of the Quatricelli Cello Quartet, winner of the Premio Funarte de Concertos Didaticos in 2014. She taught cello at Escola Tio Zequinha, a Suzuki School in Porto Alegre from 2011 to 2018.    In 2021, she started and headed the cello program at the Suzuki String Academy, in Sandpoint, ID. She also taught Junior Orchestra at the Sandpoint Christian School and was the North Idaho Philharmonia principal cello.    Prado actively works on making Brazilian music for strings more accessible and performed in the US. Her article "Teaching Diversity: Four Brazilian Pieces for String Orchestra" was published in the Scroll magazine from the Illinois String Teachers Association in 2021. Another article, titled "Viajando Pelo Brasil I, Suite for Strings: A Fun Way to Explore the Richness of Brazilian Culture and Music", was published in the American String Teacher magazine in May 2022.    Prado’s composition Brazilian Habanera for strings is being published as part of the Mosaic Collection beginning volume. In 2023, she was commissioned by the Cello Teaching Repertoire Consortium and composed Suite Pequenina for cello solo, an intermediate piece in 5 movements featuring Latin American rhythms and styles. She is currently part of the first cohort of the ASTA New Canon Project, being commissioned to write a new piece for string orchestra that will be premiered at the 2024 National ASTA conference.    Her article "Setting Habits for Success: How Being a Suzuki Student Can Transform Your Child’s Brain" was published in the American Suzuki Journal in November 2021.

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