Niall Ferguson was one of 22 students whose YouTube audition earned them a spot among world-class cellists at the inaugural Piatigorsky International Cello Festival.
"It is scarier than a live audition without a doubt," said the 17-year-old Santa Monica High School student. "When you mess up on a video it kind of becomes immortal."
The festival at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown Los Angeles is named in honor of the virtuoso Gregor Piatigorsky, considered one of the world’s greatest cellists. He was once the first chair of the USC Thornton School of Music and also taught at USC from 1949 until he died in 1976.
The festival introduces young cellists to experienced professionals in workshops, discussions and recitals and on Sunday, March 11, all 110 cellists will perform in the festival’s finale: the premiere of an original work by Christopher Rouse.
"I feel like everything I do in a way can be related to the way I think musically," Ferguson said. "The cello has kind of been a means of expression where I always felt words fell short."