Richard Belcher announced as newest SPCO cellist

We look forward to welcoming New Zealand native Richard Belcher, a founding member of the Grammy-nominated Enso String Quartet, as the newest member of our cello section. The audition committee, captivated by his performance and background, unanimously chose Belcher for the position. “He’s a beautiful cellist and musician, and we feel very fortunate that he has chosen to join the SPCO,” said Principal Cellist Julie Albers. “He has a rich and varied musical background including tons of chamber music, which is a true asset for our group!”

“I’m thrilled to be joining such a stellar group of musicians,” Belcher said in regard to his appointment. “Within the chamber music world that I’ve been immersed in, the SPCO is held in incredibly high regard, so I’m very excited to be joining!”

In December 2019, the SPCO will showcase Belcher as cello soloist in Sound of the Five by former SPCO Composer-in-Residence Chen Yi.

Prior to becoming a permanent orchestra member, Belcher first appeared with the SPCO as a guest in 2008 with the Enso String Quartet. His extensive background also includes playing Principal Cello for River Oaks Chamber Orchestra, performing at various festivals in the US, and serving as Artistic Director of Music on the Hill’s chamber music series in Mankato, Minnesota. Belcher’s passion for teaching has led to his high demand as a chamber music coach and teacher in various capacities, instructing at the likes of the International Cello Institute, Interlochen Adult Chamber Music camp, and Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music.

With his unceasingly vibrant music career, it may come as a surprise that Belcher did not realize, until a young adult, that it was possible to become a professional musician. When he started cello lessons, there was an immediate natural attraction when compared to learning piano or voice. At age eleven, he picked up the cello – and almost never put it down.

“Cello just took over. It never felt like work — it was always good fun.”

It was not until after finishing his pre-law program at University of Canterbury in New Zealand when Belcher’s close friends persuaded him to pursue his musical passions. “I had a few friends who convinced me that I could do music and make something of it. I switched pretty quickly,” he says.

Belcher relocated to the United States in 1998 in order to pursue a Master’s of Cello degree at Yale University’s prestigious music school. During his time there, he helped found the Enso String Quartet, which would become his main endeavor until the quartet disbanded in 2018. Enso toured nationally and internationally over the years and received a Grammy nomination for “Best Chamber Music Performance.”

No matter where he plays or teaches, Belcher sees classical music as conveying an impact deeper than mere entertainment — creating an incomparable experience for the performer and audience alike. “Its reach is so broad … It can take you through so many emotions and places,” he said. “It’s amazing!”

Classical music’s way of transporting and connecting people is what Belcher looks forward to helping generate for Twin Cities audiences.

“As a performer there’s so much interaction with others. There’s a wonderful satisfaction from working together to create something magical with other musicians, but that really becomes special and alive when we can share that with an audience. The audience plays such a big part in the mood of a concert experience. You can play the same program several times, and each audience will help turn it into a different experience. That’s part of what makes live music so exciting.”

“From my experience so far,” Belcher continued, “the Twin Cities has some of the most dedicated, knowledgeable, and supportive audiences. I’m excited to be a part of this vibrant arts community!”

Adapted from the official Press Release, found here.