Indiana Area Senior High School

By RAELEIGH SMITH (contributing reporter) – Every year IUP does an Artist in Residence. This year they invented Jacob Shaw from London in the UK and his accompanist David Lau Magnussen form Denmark. Jacob Shaw is an internationally award-winning cellist. Performances in over 5 continents in the world. Greatest venues – Carnegie Hall, Berlin Konzerthaus, Seoul Arts Center, the Apollo Theater, Royal Albert Hall, and  Walt Disney Hall.

Shaw started playing the cello when he was 4 years old. His parents didn’t want him to play the cello so of course, he did. At 11 he got a full ride scholarship to a top musician school in London that was founded by Shakespeare’s lead actor. 15 he decided to be a professional cello player. He left school, much to his parent’s dismay, got out of the rough London neighborhood and went professional.

Magnussen was originally a drummer then he became an alto saxophone player. Around the age of 13, he was offered a contract with a recording studio. At 16 he started playing the piano.

When asked how many hours a day he practiced Shaw said: “doesn’t matter how long as long as it is constant and consistent.” He also said to avoid thinking about how many hours, “it kills the mood and you don’t accomplish as much” Shaw also suggested that students listen to the music that they want to play.

Shaw, when asked about his instrument, stated that he now plays a cello that was specifically made for him 10 years ago. Before that one, he played a 350-year-old Italian cello that was on loan from the school of music where he was teaching.  Magnussen says that he really likes Steinways or any German piano.

Shaw has many little projects that all revolve around music. Radical Classic, which is a project that he does with Night Clubs that he works with. Shaw started this project with an Australian DJ where they mix classical music in flawlessly with the clubs usual music.

Shaw passionately believes that something needs to be done to bring audiences into classical music without “dumbing down” or giving false impressions of real classical music. His Radical Classic project introduces classical music to new, culturally diverse demographics.

The continued success of this project in different cities across the world engages new audiences into the world of classical music whilst raising the profile of this genre to a wider public, as well as developing a generation of new listeners. They do this usually the night before a classical concert. Another project is Fortissimo ine diningine Music. “Fortissimo is a multi-sensory concept that integrates sight, see, touch and sound.”  

These are only two of his projects that he has been working on. Duo Shaw-Magnussen often also instigate outreach projects, they have included performances in prisons, orphanages, hospitals and refugee centers.

Shaw gave a demonstration during school on March 5 to the music department and had a concert at IUP on March 6 at 8:00 pm. His collection was called “Inspired by folk”, he played pieces from Ernst Bloch “Baal Shem”, Edvard Grieg “Sonate for Klaver og Violoncel”, Robert Schumann “Fünf Stüche im Volkston”, Franghiz Ali-Zade “Habil-Sajahy”, Manuel de Falla “Siete Canciones populares Espanolas”, and Béla Bartók “Dansuri populare  Românești”.

Visit his website at or follow him

facebook: Jacob Shaw

twitter: @jacobcellist


[Photo by Raeleigh Smith]

Photo Caption: Cellist David Shaw and accompanist David Lau Magnussen


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