Hans Rinderknecht

Hans Rinderknecht, Cello

It’s all about the ineffable appeal of the cello. Hans grew up in Shaker Heights, just outside Cleveland, and his parents regularly took him to hear the Cleveland Orchestra. When it came time to choose an instrument in 5th grade, “something about the cello appealed to me,” Hans says. “I can’t even say what. But it just felt right.”

Hans took lessons and played through high school, joining the Contemporary Youth Orchestra which played 20th century music. That included classical, of course. And rock! With a Led Zeppelin Symphony and playing with Graham Nash. Hans also took up other stringed instruments during that time, including guitar and mandolin, and viola for a bit. Viola didn’t take. “I had trouble with the whole hold your instrument under your chin thing,” he admits.

At Princeton University Hans majored in physics and didn’t play cello at all. He did, however, play a lot of guitar and mandolin, sing in the Princeton Chapel Choir, act in theater productions and take up modern dance. Which proved to be the best thing of all because he fell in love with his dance partner, Mariah Steele, and they married (more about her in a moment). Hans then went to MIT for a PhD in Physics and still didn’t play cello. He dropped singing too because grad school demands a lot of attention. But he did continue to dance with his wife’s company, Quicksilver Dance (yes, there will be more about that in a moment).

Hans came to the Bay Area to do a post doc at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 2015. “At that point, I wanted to get back to playing cello with a group. For me, playing with a group is the way to play music.” He went looking for a community orchestra, came to a Prometheus concert and we had him hooked. “After a 10-year hiatus, some things about playing are like riding a bike. Other things just take work.” We think the work has been a success! His cat Juniper is less impressed. “She’s skeptical of my cello playing. She prefers to dance.”

And now, yes, more about Quicksilver Dance, which “celebrates life and the human experience in all its humor and grit, dust and glory.” Here’s plug for their next production, “Children of Hobbes,” November 17-19 at the Shawl-Anderson Dance Center in Berkeley. Check it out at quicksilverdance.com.

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