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Albanian Cello Site

Meet Albanian professional Cellists around the world

Albanian Cello School

It is not so easy to write about the Albanian School of Cello. We know the first art school in Albania, Artistic Lyceum, was created on 26 of December 1946. Therefore the beginning of the cello school corresponds to the years after the war.

Cellists who contributed during that period were the Italians Calletti and Baldovino, both well known musicians of that period. The first Albanian students of prof. Walter Calletti were: Ymer Skenderi, Matei Guralumi, Leke Tasi, Zija Daja and Talat Hado.

Art School "Jordan Misja" in Tirana

Art School "Jordan Misja" in Tirana

During the years of 1949-1951 the Russian professor Boris Skabllov came to stay in Albania. Skabllov’s professionalism and passion for the cello resulted in the creation of the First Class of the Cello.  Such was the dedication of Matei Guralumi and Leke Tasi two young motivated cellists of that period.

In 1953 Ymer Skenderi with his wife Ludmilla Ymeri (née Shinderbalova) returned from their studies in the Prague Conservatory. Their work during the following 15-20 years contributed to develop and raise cello playing to a higher level. They were the professors who had a common vision.  They settled in Albania and with their devotion and persistence prepared a brand new functional and meaningful basis for the cello school.

And finally we cannot leave out prof. Gjovalin Lazri’s contribution and work. For nearly 40 consecutive years he prepared an entire generation of cellists at the Artistic Lyceum.

Moreover, the institutionalization of the music schools in different cities over the country, schools like the ones in Shkoder, Durres, Korce, Elbasan, Vlore, Fier, Gjirokaster, Berat, Lushnje, etc. made the development of the Albanian cello world more complete. Over the years, productivity got greater in quantity and quality. This quality and professionalism of the younger generation we will see and meet at a higher level at the State Conservatory of Tirana, later renamed the High Institute of Arts (ILA), the Academy of Arts. This young generation of cellists was prepared and trained by professors such as Muharrem Denizi, Gjergj Antoniu, Gezim Laro, Astrit Selita, etc.

In the late ‘90s the change of the political system in Albania greatly affected the cello school. The result had both positive and negative sides. One positive side was the opening of the borders and the important impact of international communications, influences, development, etc. from west Europe, which gave a fresh breath especially for the contemporary repertoire. Another positive side was that education abroad for master degrees, which was very limited before, was possible. On the down side this led to a lot of talented and promising Albanian cellists just walking away from their country and working abroad. This may have been negative for Albania but positive for the school as this generation of cellists would become a good catalyst that portrayed the standard and value of the school.

Academy of Arts in Tirana

Academy of Arts in Tirana

Albanian Cello School takes pride in naming former students such as:

  • Renato Ripo who has been a soloist since 1991 and is the Principal Cellist at “Camerata” Orchestra of the Friends of Music in Athens,
  • Artur Trajko the Principal Cellist of “Holland Symfonia” in Amsterdam,
  • Hajredin Hoxha the Principal Cellist of “Bilkent Symphony Orchestra” in Ankara,
  • Bledar Zajmi the Principal Cellist of “National Theatre Orchestra” in Prague,
  • Olsi Leka the Principal Cellist of “National Orchestra of Belgium”,
  • Elida Pali the Assistant Principal Cellist of “Maggio Musicale Fiorentino”,
  • Ilir Bakiu the Assistant Principal Cellist of “Fondazione Arena di Verona”,
  • Edison Pasko who plays with “Vienna State Opera” (Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra),
  • Holgen Gjoni who does a solo career in the USA,
    to name a few. That is quite a list for such a small country like Albania.

This was what first inspired me and gave me the idea to create this website I feel an obligation towards The School of Cello. I felt the need to put my own piece of the puzzle in the history of “Albanian Cello School”.