Dave Eggar, cello virtuoso, to play Rives Nov. 3 with champion Irish step dancer

31 Oct


It’s no stretch to say that cello player Dave Eggar will instantly become one of the most talented, critically acclaimed artists to set foot inside the Rives Theatre when he performs this weekend.

Eggar, who will play a concert Saturday night with his four-piece band and a world-champion Irish step dancer, began as a child prodigy, performing on Broadway and at the Metropolitan Opera by age 7.

He debuted at Carnegie Hall at the age of 15 as the youngest winner in the history of the Artists International competition. He holds degrees from Juliard School and Harvard University, and he’s performed as a soloist at Avery Fisher Hall, London’s Barbican Center, the Paris Opera and the Hollywood Bowl, among many others.

“Itsbynne Reel,” a song from his most recent album, “Kingston Morning,” was nominated for a Grammy Award.

And to think, a career that has literally taken him around the world was almost smashed at the very start, when Eggar was 6.

“My grandfather was a concert violinist, and it was his dream for me to play the violin,” said Eggar, also a celebrated pianist. “Unfortunately, I found the fiddle very uncomfortable under my neck and after a few lessons I smashed it! For Christmas the next year, my parents bought me a cello. I think their philosophy was that it was too large for me to break. I loved it and took to it instantly. Within six months I was playing the Brahms e minor sonata.”

Eggar’s show at the Rives will be far from a classical music performance, however. His band features critically acclaimed songwriter Amber Rubarth on guitar, winner of the 2010 National Public Radio Mountain Stage New Song Contest. The band will also include a bass player and drummer, as well as Garrett Coleman, a world-champion Irish step dancer.

Eggar can make his cello sound like an electric guitar or bluegrass fiddle during his live performances.

“I think most people think of cellists as boring and stodgy old men in tuxedos,” admitted Eggar. “In our show, the cello is used in all kinds of music – classical, jazz, Appalachian, punk. It’s a high-energy show, and the cello rocks out like Jimi Hendrix! I like to give people a new view of the instrument.”

He has played and recorded pop, rock, jazz, R&B, new age, world and classical music in his career, performing with artists such as: The Who, Evanescence, Coldplay, John Denver, David Sanborn, Hannah Montana, Beyoncé, Pearl Jam, Tony Bennett and Ray LaMontagne, among many others. He has been seen on The View, PBS, The Tonight Show, MTV and VH1.

“Part of my goal as a cellist was to create songs without words,” he said. “To be as direct and as potent and powerful with just the solo cello as a great songwriter is with their songs.”

Saturday night’s show is part of the Live at the Rives Series, meaning season passes are accepted. Single tickets are $8 in advance from Studio 107 and Woodall’s Music, or $10 at the doors of the theatre. Arts at the Rives is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the historic theatre in uptown Martinsville by using it as a place for musical performances, educational programming and community events.

Eggar promises Saturday’s performance will be completely different from anything that’s been in the theatre.

“The show is a powerful blend of classical music, jazz, rock and Appalachian music,” he said. “Our singer/songwriter, Amber Rubarth, has created some amazing chamber arrangements of her songs. It’s a really fun show that gives the audience a fresh, adventurous look at classical favorites by Bach, the Beatles, Ravel, Miles Davis and many others.”


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