In the fall of 2006 a group of 9 cellists got on stage at Portland’s Doug Fir Lounge to perform western classical music in an informal setting.
Many of the cellists that night thought that was a fun one-off gig.
But the energy of the night carried on, and that one-off gig became a second, and a third... almost every cellist in Portland at the time hopped on stage with the group, performing in Portland's most popular clubs at the height of Portland's acclaimed early-2000s music scene.
The Cello Project quickly evolved into a nationally-recognized performing, recording and educational group touring everywhere in North American, performing in every type of venue imaginable, from punk rock clubs to symphony halls, to street parties, to TED Talks and exclusive private events,
Under the artistic direction of Douglas Jenkins, the group grew and evolved a repertoire of over 1,700 pieces of music, working with an all-star group of cellists in the Pacific Northwest (Skip vonKuske, Diane Chaplin, Nancy Ives, Gideon Freudmann, Kevin Jackson, and Lauren McShane to name just a few...). Jenkins developed a three-part philosophy for the group that has mostly remained its unchanged north star over the years:
1: To bring the cello places you wouldn't normally see it
2: To perform music on the cello you wouldn't normally associate with the instrument
3: To build bridges between different musical communities through collaborations and community outreach