April 24, 2020

Nothing is Getting in the Way of Cellist's Future - Not Even a Global Pandemic

Photo by Dana Jackson

Isabella “Bella” Lorenzo-Giguere may not be attending the Cleveland Institute of Music in person at the moment, but she’s still enjoying learning and isn’t letting COVID-19 get in the way of her education and dreams for the future. 

Now in her second year at CIM, the 20-year-old native of Washington, DC, started playing cello when she was 5, deciding as an eighth grader at Maret School that she wanted to pursue music as a career. Like all of CIM’s talented classical music students, Bella is currently learning remotely due to the current health crisis. She is currently a student in the studio of Richard Weiss, co-head of CIM’s cello department.  

“For my lessons, everything has been going pretty smoothly,” Bella said. “I did have some issues with the sound but I figured out how to connect my Zoom recorder to my computer, which I was very proud of. Some days can be more challenging than others, but I have definitely learned a lot since spring break about 20th century music and serialism in particular, which is really cool.” 

Still, she says, she misses CIM and everything it has to offer when the building is bustling with students and the sounds of music. 

“Remote learning has been a little challenging, but it isn’t as bad as I thought it might be in terms of the relaying of information,” she said. “I really do miss school, though. I miss going to live concerts and supporting my friends and seeing The Cleveland Orchestra. I also miss the small interactions I have with people at school every day. I always bump into people on the way to and from rehearsals and classes and miss those impromptu conversations in the hallways.” 

Back home in DC, Bella says she has been very happy to be able to spend more time with her family. Her only “complaint,” she quipped, is that she’s “definitely been eating too well.” 

Through it all, however, she is completely focused on her education and pursuing her dream of performing in an orchestra, or perhaps playing in a local quartet and teaching.  

As for her future, “I’m open to just about anything. In addition to performing in an orchestra or quartet, I would also love to do interactive/lecture performances,” she said. “I went to the SphinxConnect conference earlier this semester and there was a quartet that performed, playing the kind of concert that involved audience participation and interaction, which I thought was really fun and fulfilling for everyone. I enjoy talking to people and telling audiences about what I’m playing, so I’d like to keep doing something like that.” 

As students have shifted to online learning for the rest of the semester, Bella says she believes that while some students may be having a hard time right now, they, like her, aren’t letting a global pandemic get in the way of their dreams. While the online learning has been going well, she adds, there’s nothing like being at CIM in person. 

“I can’t wait to get back to school!” she said.