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Daniel Pearl Memorial Cello Recipients


"Part of my great love for the cello stems from how it so naturally serves as an extension of the human voice, and through that, the soul. I believe the music that means the most in this world touches something much deeper than just the ear or the mind, and allows a musician to create a connection of the heart with their listeners. That is what I look for in my playing, and I think it strongly resonates with the Daniel Pearl Foundation's grand vision of a world united by music. I feel so privileged to join with the Daniel Pearl Foundation in their mission through this unique instrument."

Duncan Hall, age 17, has been playing the cello for five years, though he began his explorations of music much earlier with the piano and violin. Since then, playing his cello has become the core of Duncan's passion for music, which has since led him to take up the guitar and electric bass. He now pursues his classical studies with Marc Johnson, former cellist of the Vermeer Quartet, but also explores the role of cello in traditional fiddle music with Seth Yentes.

Three years ago, Duncan joined the Kraftïg Piano Quartet, which has played concerts around the midcoast area, and in 2011 he was awarded the "Young Stars of Maine Kathie Johnson Chamber Music Prize." He has very much enjoyed playing with chamber music groups at Kneisal Hall's Program for Maine students. The Bay Chamber Music School has also provided numerous musical opportunities for Duncan, who has played in two of the music school's youth chamber orchestras and attended their summer programs.

The two sessions of Mark O'Connor's Summer String Camp at Berklee which Duncan has attended have been greatly inspiring, stretching him musically and introducing him to a variety of approaches and individual styles of music. At home in Maine, Duncan also practices his fiddling at Maine Fiddle Camp, where he will be returning for his seventh season. He plans to bring the Pearl cello with him to this event and is honored to be the third recipient of Jonathan Cooper's cello.


As a classically trained young cellist, Keizo, age 18, began lessons at age seven with Andrew Mark, head of the string department at Boston Conservatory. Keizo has been a member of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra and the New England Conservatory Preparatory Program. He enjoys songwriting and playing guitar in his free time. Keizo was honored to have been awarded the Daniel Pearl Memorial Cello at the Mark O’Connor String Program. Currently, Keizo studies with Eugene Friesen, Grammy Award winner and Professor at Berklee College of Music, where Keizo will be attending this fall.


“It’s been centuries since Shakespeare wrote that 'music is the food of love,' but the legacy of Daniel Pearl proves that nothing could remain truer today. I feel very honored to be the first recipient of this cello, and very proud to use it to promote the cause most dear to Daniel, myself, and many others: worldwide peace and understanding through music.”

Sarah Chaffee first became interested in the cello at the age of five, and they have been inseparable ever since. This is in part due to excellent teachers; she has studied under Hans Jørgen-Jensen, Peter Howard, Blake Brasch, and Amir Eldan, and is currently a student of Dr. Melissa Kraut at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

In high school, Sarah and her cello proudly sat in the principal chair of the Schaumburg Youth Symphony, and played in the Midwest Young Artists Symphony and the Illinois All-State Honors Orchestra. During the summers, Sarah and Cello have taken field trips to attend the Bowdoin International Music Festival, Walnut Hill’s Chamber Music in France program, and Mark O’Connor’s string camp, among many others; Sarah was also happy this summer to serve as principal cellist of the Texas Music Festival orchestra under conductors Horst Foerster and Mei-Ann Chen.

In addition to these festivals, Sarah and Cello have played with orchestras and chamber groups in Japan, Italy, Austria, and France. Sarah has also enjoyed playing chamber music for countless weddings, business parties, bar mitzvahs, art gallery receptions, and community outreach programs, to name just a few. Sarah also loves playing musicals, which she did throughout high school and now continues to do professionally. In her free time, Sarah enjoys photography and composing and arranging music, along with getting valuable teaching experience by assisting her orchestra-director father at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, IL. Sarah has always been interested in a wide variety of musical styles, and is inspired and motivated to create a unique and unconventional musical career!