Paige Riggs

Practice Makes Expressive: Cello Masterclass with Dr. Paige Riggs

In this masterclass we will be exploring the use of technical practice as an intentional means of improving and expanding our musical expressiveness. Topics to be discussed will include shifting, vibrato, bow control, dynamics, sound production, and tone color.

Does practicing your scales and etudes feel like an unpleasant chore – like eating a meal of all veggies with no promise of dessert? In this masterclass we will explore ways of changing that attitude with ideas of how we can use technical practice as an intentional means towards greater musical expression. We will identify specific expressive musical goals and discuss ways to incorporate those goals into our practice of technique. Areas to be covered will include shifting, vibrato, bow control, dynamics, sound production, and tone color. Participants are encouraged to bring their instruments and their questions!


Prior to her current position as a faculty member at Slippery Rock University and Washington Dr. Paige Riggs taught at the University of Virginia and at Appleton University in Wisconsin.  She holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Indiana University, and the State University of New York at Stony Brook (where she received her doctorate in 2000).  While a graduate student Dr. Riggs was awarded teaching assistantships in cello at Indiana University and SUNY Stony Brook, as well as fellowships to the Spoleto Festival and the Tanglewood Music Center (where she was the recipient of the C. D. Jackson Memorial Prize in 1997).  Her major teachers include Paul Katz, Janos Starker, and Timothy Eddy.

In addition to her teaching duties Dr. Riggs maintains an active performing schedule.  In the Pittsburgh area she is principal cellist of the Academy Chamber Orchestra and was for many years the principal cellist of the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra.  In addition to this she has performed with the Pittsburgh Opera and Pittsburgh Ballet Orchestras.  She is the cellist with the Academy Chamber Ensemble and the Slippery Rock Piano Trio.  Since 2001 she has performed as principal cello and soloist with the Shendandoah Valley Bach Festival.  She began performing as a Guest Artist with the Music from Land’s End Festival in Wareham, MA in 2012 and formerly spent ten years on the faculty of the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, N.C.