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Cello Chat with Host Dr. Benjamin Whitcomb and guest Dr. Daniel Ketter

About the Episode 

This week I am thankful for my chat with Dr. Daniel Ketter, a cellist and professor at Missouri State University Music Department. Daniel regales us with study and practicing tips along with his impressive resume of working with multiple music groups like Opus 76 and the American Wild Ensemble. Music in the American Wild

Meet the Guest

Daniel Ketter, born and raised in Kansas City, was appointed in 2018 as Assistant Professor of Music at Missouri State University, where he teaches courses in cello, chamber music, and music theory. In Springfield, Missouri, Daniel is principal cello of Springfield Symphony Orchestra and specializes in performance of contemporary and classical chamber music, as cellist of Kansas City's Opus 76 String Quartet (, Ensemble Alla Balena, Rio Verde String Quartet, Keuka Lake Music Festival, Cellax Duo, and other groups nationally and internationally.

Daniel Ketter is Co-Director and cellist of American Wild Ensemble (, which celebrates the people and places that define American communities with new music. In 2018, American Wild Ensemble released a two-hour album of eleven original works on the ArtistShare label, including an hour-long music video album available on YouTube. With support from the National Endowment for the Arts, these works were commissioned and performed for a national tour of 25 performances in seven national parks celebrating the centennial of the National Park Service in 2016. Since 2016, AWE has collaborated with ten different national parks and historic sites and commissioned and premiered over thirty new chamber music works, with support from Washington’s National Park Fund, Chamber Music America, Mid-America Arts Alliance, The Paul R. Judy Center for Applied Research, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Missouri State University, Missouri Humanities Council, Missouri Arts Council, and New Music USA.

Daniel completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, where he served as Alan Harris’s teaching assistant. As a teacher, he created and led a technique class for undergraduates in the studio and continues to present annual summer classes as faculty for the Eastman Cello Institute. In Rochester, Daniel also taught cello and chamber music at Hochstein School of Music and Dance and co-coordinated their Chamber Music Connections Program. He founded the Eastman Cello Ensemble, which gave annual performances for “Live at Hochstein” broadcast on the radio by WXXI and for “If Music Be the Food…” benefiting Rochester’s Foodlink. In Springfield, Daniel coaches chamber music for the annual MSU String Fling for high school and college students in the region.

In 2021, Daniel founded Cello Teaching Repertoire Consortium, with the mission to supplement traditional cello student repertoire with the commission of new pedagogical concert works and etudes representing diverse musical styles and cultural backgrounds. CTRC's first commissioning round raised funds for the creation of two intermediate-advanced works (ASTA Grade 4, Suzuki Book 7-8) for cello by performer-composers Curtis Stewart ( and Andrea Casarrubios ( This project was supported by 35 different cello teachers across the country, and featured in workshops and performed by students at the Eastman Cello Institute, and presented at American String Teachers Association's 2022 national conference in Atlanta, GA.

In 2020, Daniel finished a Ph.D. in Music Theory at Eastman School of Music, and serves as Co-Chair for Society for Music Theory’s Performance and Analysis Interest Group. His research interests include essential voices in Schenkerian theory--featured in a video published by Society for Music Theory's SMT-V journal ( and analysis, and a collaboration with the Natural History of Song for The Music Lab at Harvard University ( Daniel’s dissertation defines the concept of an essential voice in Schenkerian theory, grounding it in historical music theory and tracing it through J. S. Bach’s works for solo melodic instruments.

Daniel has a MM in cello performance and pedagogy from Peabody Conservatory, studying with Alison Wells, and graduated with high distinction from both Eastman School of Music (BM ’10, cello performance) and from University of Rochester (BA ’10, mathematics).

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