Curtis Institute of Music string sextet
Natalie Helm and Cheeko Matsusaka
Ricardo José Rivera and Carmenchú Domínguez
Oleg Kruglyakov and Terry Boyarsky
Doug Wright and Hermitage Artist Retreat Guest
Natalie Helm Principal Cello of the Sarasota Orchestra, has been praised by Fox News as having a sound that "catches the attention of the room" and "leaves a lasting impression". LA Times proclaimed the audience "was transfixed" by her performance that was "handled ardently". A cellist of "musical grace" and extraordinary versatility, Ms. Helm enjoys a dynamic career as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral musician, and educator.
As the founder, of Upward Notes, she brings musicians together to perform and create opportunities to bring positive social change to the communities she works in. Upward Notes has performed for prisoners, homeless shelters, animal shelters, drug-rehab facilities, dementia patients, and assisted living facilities throughout the United States.Cheeko Matsusaka was the youngest of 5 siblings. Her musical journey began in traditional fashion, starting the cello at age six, eventually receiving her Bachelor in Music from New England Conservatory, and Masters degrees from SUNY at Stony Brook and Carnegie Mellon.
In 2019 Cheeko earned her certification as Certified Music Practitioner from the Music for Healing and Transition Program which enables her to provide live music-at-bedside in healthcare settings. In March of 2020, Cheeko founded Back to the Beat, an organization dedicated to bringing in-the-moment-comfort-care to wellness communities.