Peter Metcalf – Bio and Excerpts

        After a brief but influential period of study with his father, a violinist and former live-in pupil of D.C. Dounis, Peter began his study of cello some years later with Manfred Karasik, and after three years was accepted as a student at the Aspen Music Festival under Lazlo Varga, formerly principal cellist of the New York Philharmonic. He continued his formal music education at San Francisco State, USC, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the University of California at Berkeley. During his years as a music student Peter had the good fortune to study with unusually fine instructors in cello, conducting, composition, music theory, and piano, both nationally known and local treasures. With respect to cello, he ultimately chose to develop a technique called by a colleague in 1978 "the Metcalf Method”. 

The following is excerpted from “The Metcalf Method: Cello Exercises for Daily Progress!” © 1979, 2001 Peter B. Metcalf.*

*(a violin edition is planned)          

        “The intention of cello practice is twofold: mastery of the instrument in as short a time as possible, and more to the point, spiritual transformation. Both these objectives are simultaneously accomplished by practicing slowly, and with an eye to detail. The objective of mastery in the shortest time requires in addition, the elimination of as many physical disadvantages as possible, and the securing of as many advantages as possible. Given these priorities over other considerations such as tradition, appearances, and fears of rejection, progress may not proceed in the time honored fashion to which the string community is accustomed, but rather, in a remarkably rapid fashion. This was my experience after I created certain exercises, and re-interpreted the value and manner of practicing other exercises created by departed masters of the cello.

        “As to spiritual practice of the exercises contained herein, this I came to appreciate by neglect…

        “Heeding the details concomitant to these exercises will bring enjoyment of the fullest benefits to the practitioner. Such practice may be said to be the difference between the master, who learns well and continues to learn throughout life, and the dabbler. We are each potential masters; it is only our choice of path and to what degree we choose to manifest our highest nature, which determine the character of our various endeavors. Music is conspicuous in the fidelity with which it renders our soul. Practicing and playing at all times in the most sublime, profound state of love that is possible will facilitate a long-lived and fulfilling experience of musical participation.”

Peter values the unique challenges and parameters of cello practice as one of the most effective means of spiritual growth available to him. “Affirmation of our individual and unique character occurs moment to moment – spiritual transformation is inherent to our existence. Recognizing that music has through the ages been many a soul’s most exquisite manifestation of Its Godliness, I extend to you an invitation to transform your consciousness through music, as both listener and practitioner.”  

Write to Mr. Metcalf at peter.metcalf at

For a conversation regarding your needs and aspirations, and for scheduling, phone 510-409-3939.


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