Top Cello Players Gather In Manchester, England

TEXAN Ralph Kirshbaum has made industrial Manchester in northern England the place where the world's best cellists want to be this spring. A distinguished cellist himself and a resident of Britain since 1971, Mr. Kirshbaum founded the International Cello Festival at the Royal Northern College of Music in 1988. It is the only such event for the instrument and takes place for the fourth time April 27-May 1.

This year, 18 leading performers from 11 countries - including Yo Yo Ma, Steven Isserlis, and Janos Starker - will demonstrate their skills, give concerts, and hold master classes.

``The primary impulse for having a festival is to give an example to young cellists....'' Kirshbaum said in an interview at his London home. ``Students aren't familiar with great cellists. At the festival they can see them as performers and human beings, and the teachers will feel the response....''

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