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Nov. 8: Cello Rock Band of Carnegie Mellon Music Students Wins WQED's Battle of the Bands


Eric Sloss                           

Cello Rock Band of Carnegie Mellon Music
Students Wins WQED's Battle of the Bands

PITTSBURGH — Carnegie Mellon University School of Music senior Simon Cummings, alumni Tate Olsen and Nicole Myers, and Duquesne University student Ben Munoz are the members of Cellofourte, a cello rock band that won this past weekend's Battle of the Bands sponsored by WQED and John Lennon Educational Tour Bus.

Cellofourte and dozens of bands from Geneva College, Bethany College, Duquesne University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, California University of Pennsylvania, the University of Pittsburgh and Youngstown State University participated in WQED's competition. After performing before judges from the music industry and a live audience Sunday, Nov. 4, Cellofourte, one of five finalists, emerged victorious.   

As winner, Cellofourte gets to record a CD on board the John Lennon bus and will receive 1,000 copies of the CD, color jacket and all. Cellofourte has already been working on its second album, which will feature all original compositions by Cummings and Munoz. Also, because the band represented Carnegie Mellon, the university will receive Logic Pro 7 and Sibelius music-related software packages.

"Performing in this environment was an incredible experience," Cummings said, "and the outcome of the competition boosted our confidence in reaching out to diverse and new audiences in Pittsburgh, and hopefully beyond."

All four cellists studied classical cello. Among their teachers were School of Music faculty Anne Williams and David Premo, both cellists in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. The group uses the technical skills and discipline from their classical training to write and perform rock songs. They appeal to audiences through the energy of their songs and their virtuosity. In 2006, Cellofourte released its first album, "Unsung," which consisted of arrangements of heavy metal and rock songs by groups like Metallica and Led Zeppelin. The group plays at different Pittsburgh venues frequently. You can find their schedule and hear the group play at