Plan for cello music at the beach this summer!

A Special Place to Be

Join us for a week of cello at Bethany Beach, Delaware.

  • Music by Women Composers

    The focus is repertoire by women composers. We'll also play ensemble works by a variety of composers.

  • Music at the Beach

    We will be practicing a block from the beach and performing on the boardwalk and at the nature center.

  • Family Beach Time

    In the spirit of creating life balance, there will be plenty of time to spend with your family at the beach.

Cellists, We Have Payment Options

We have two payment options available.

Intensive, Non-Competitive Learning at the Beach

Designed for adult cellists - both educators and amateurs.

Educators are invited to join us to add several new works by women composers to their teaching and performing repertoire.

Amateurs get to choose a piece from our list - or ask for help with a selection. We have a list of pieces by women composers suitable for beginners, intermediate players, and advanced/professional performers.

Your only competitor is yourself. Work at your own pace for maximum learning and enjoyment.

  • Daily repertoire classes and cello ensemble rehearsals plus one private lesson during the week.

  • Bring your family if you wish - there will be time off to enjoy the beach.

  • Choose from our list of unaccompanied works by women composers to add to your repertoire.

  • Perform at the boardwalk, nature center, and St. Martha's as a member of the Bethany Beach Cellofest Ensemble.

  • Start your day right with our morning wellness session.

Come & Join Us at the Beach

We're thrilled to invite you to the very first Bethany Beach Cellofest this summer! Join us for a unique combination of intensive cello work and relaxation on the beautiful shores of Bethany Beach, Delaware.

Immerse yourself in the world of cello music at the beach with renowned cellist Jennifer Kloetzel and other distinguished instructors.

The Bethany Beach Cellofest will be hosted by St. Martha's Episcopal Church, just a short walk from the beach. 

The Delaware coastline is known for its beautiful beaches, tranquil environment, and welcoming community, and the family-friendly town of Bethany Beach provides the perfect setting for both intensive musical training and relaxation.

Bethany Beach is a unique place that quiets the mind, sparks creativity, and rejuvenates the spirit.

While the Bethany Beach Cellofest immerses you in the world of music, it also offers the flexibility to customize your stay. Participants select their own accommodation, turning their visit into a personalized beach holiday. Whether you prefer a cozy beachside cottage, a family-friendly hotel, or a luxurious condo, Bethany Beach has a wide range of options to suit your taste and budget.

This arrangement not only tailors your experience but also opens the door for your family to join in the adventure. Beyond the intensive cello sessions, we've planned a festival that includes everyone. Start your day with our wellness sessions, open to all family members, where the calming sea breeze enhances your stretching and meditation at the start of each day.

Your family is also warmly invited to our public performances. Experience the magic of music with concerts on the Boardwalk, at the Nature Center, and inspiring at St. Martha's Church. Create lasting summer memories with these shared musical experiences.

Moreover, we've intentionally scheduled free time for you to explore the beach, indulge in local cuisine, or simply relax with your loved ones. The Bethany Beach Cellofest is more than a music festival; it's an opportunity to blend passion with leisure, creating a perfect summer getaway for you and your family.

About the Musical Journey

This year at the Bethany Beach Cellofest, we embark on a journey of musical exploration, focusing on the unaccompanied works of women composers for our morning sessions, and a tailored ensemble program for the afternoons, adapted to the skill levels and interests of our participants.

Morning Sessions:

Unaccompanied Works by Women Composers

Following our wellness sessions, our morning cello sessions will highlight the rich and often underrepresented repertoire of solo cello works composed by women.

Delving into pieces all suitable for performance but ranging in level of difficulty from beginner through professional, each morning will be an opportunity to discover and interpret music that brings new perspectives and variety to your repertoire.

Whether your goal is to add to your performance or teaching repertoire or challenge and refine your technical skills, these works provide you with an opportunity for growth and enjoyment.

By exploring these works, we aim to celebrate the diversity and creativity of women composers, offering a unique and enriching musical experience.

Afternoon Sessions:

Ensemble Music Tailored to You

In the afternoons, we'll dive into ensemble playing. The repertoire will be selected based on the abilities and interests of those who join us, ensuring that every participant, regardless of their level, finds both challenge and enjoyment in the music.

These sessions are about more than just playing together; they're about creating a musical community and the joy of a shared musical experience. From classical masterpieces to contemporary compositions, the ensemble program will be as diverse as our group of cellists.

Whether you are a seasoned cellist or an enthusiastic amateur, the Bethany Beach Cellofest promises to offer an enriching and immersive musical experience, balancing technical skill development with emotional and artistic expression.

Thank you to Catherine Black and Vaulted Sky Music for providing our ensemble music!
St. Martha's Episcopal Church, Bethany Beach, DE

We look forward to seeing you soon!

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Cellofest 2024 Schedule of Events

All of our events are free and open to the public. All programs will be given by Cellofest faculty and participants.

  • 20 April 10:30 AM - ~2 PM

    Free Event

    Join us for a Cello Storytime as part of the Bethany Beach Nature Center's Every Day is Earth Day Celebration. Designed for children of all ages, Brenda Neece will be reading a story, teaching a special Bethany tree song, and playing several unaccompanied cello works. Location: Bethany Beach Nature Center.

  • 7 June

    Free Event

    Program for Adults and Older Kids: Cellos of Unusual Shape Demonstration

    Join us at the South Coastal Library for an extraordinary session with Erica Lessie, showcasing her remarkable "Cellos of Unusual Shape." Follow the arrival of Scandinavians to the upper Midwest and learn how they transformed their native instrument, the psalmodikon, into a new class of folk cellos. This program, perfect for adults and older kids, offers a rare opportunity to experience these extraordinary instruments up close. Discover the stories behind each cello's design and hear the diverse sounds that these unconventional instruments can produce. Don't miss this unique musical exploration that promises to expand your understanding of what a cello can be. Location: South Coastal Library, Bethany Beach

  • 12 June

    Free Event

    Program for Children: Cello Storytime, Petting Zoo, and Craft

    Calling all young music lovers to the South Coastal Library for a special children's program presented by Erica Lessie as part of the Bethany Beach Cellofest! Dive into the enchanting world of cellos with a delightful storytime, featuring a tale that brings the magic of music to life. After the story, get up close with a fascinating demonstration of cellos, including a tiny 1/10th-size cello perfect for little hands. Then, the adventure continues with a cello petting zoo, where kids can explore and touch different cellos. And for a creative twist, children ages 3+ (with adult supervision) can craft their very own instrument from a yogurt container. This interactive session is designed to ignite imagination, foster a love for music, and provide a hands-on experience that children of all ages will enjoy. Join us for a day of musical discovery and creativity! Location: South Coastal Library, Bethany Beach

All Events in Bethany Beach!

  • 13 June

    Free Event

    Come hear the Cellofest Cello Ensemble on the Boardwalk! Experience the first-ever Bethany Beach Cellofest, where our cello ensemble will perform a mix of classical, folk, and popular tunes on the Boardwalk. This event features both ensemble and solo cello performances, showcasing the instrument's range and versatility. Join us for a memorable evening of diverse music at this new addition to Bethany Beach's cultural scene. Location: Bethany Beach Boardwalk

  • 14 June

    Free Event

    Come hear the Cellofest Cello Ensemble at the Bethany Beach Nature Center. Enjoy the rich sound of cello music in this gorgeous outdoor setting. Location: Bethany Beach Nature Center

  • 16 June

    Free Event, Donations to St. Martha's Encouraged

    Join us for our final Cellofest concert at St. Martha's Episcopal Church between their Sunday church services. Location: St. Martha's Episcopal Church, Bethany Beach

Don't want to travel with your cello?

We've got you covered.

We can provide you with a rental cello for your time at the Bethany Beach Cellofest for a small additional fee.

Thank you to High Strung Violins and Guitars in Durham, NC, for making this possible.


Jennifer Kloetzel

A graduate of The Juilliard School and a Fulbright Scholar, cellist Jennifer Kloetzel has concertized throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia as a soloist and chamber musician. A founding member of the San Francisco-based Cypress String Quartet (1996-2016) and QuartetES, Jennifer has toured the globe and performed at such renowned venues as Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, the Chautauqua Institute and the Ravinia Festival, the Lobkowicz Palaces in both Vienna and Prague, as well as prominent colleges and conservatories worldwide. Jennifer is known for her elegant playing and vibrant tone. She is a sought-after recitalist, performing concerts for San Francisco Performances and on WQXR in New York. The Strad magazine raved, “Cellist Jennifer Kloetzel is impressively passionate…” The Cello Museum proclaimed that her “energy, ceaseless intellectual curiosity, and virtuosic command of the instrument unite in exceptional musicianship, making her truly a hero of the cello.” Jennifer has recorded 36 CDs, including the entire cycle of Beethoven Quartets and Brahms Sextets on the Avie label. Most recently, she released “Beethoven: The Conquering Hero,” the complete works for cello and piano (with Robert Koenig), which was chosen as “Recording of the Month” by BBC Music Magazine in March 2022 and stated, “If only more cellists would play like this—and at this level of ceaseless musicianship… Kloetzel’s playing responds unerringly to the shift of creative tone at each stage of the composer’s development.” The review went on to state her playing was “a masterclass in how to engage with the most powerful creative personality music has known.” Gramophone magazine hailed the Beethoven collection for “cello playing that’s notable for its warmth, inward expressiveness… Kloetzel comes across as so utterly natural.” A champion of new music, Jennifer received the Copland Award for engaging living American composers, commissioning and premiering over 50 works, including five concertos written specifically for her. The San Jose Mercury News noted, “Cellist Jennifer Kloetzel shines in premiere” while lauding her as a “terrific soloist… with a robust and earthy sound.” Jennifer recorded Elena Ruehr’s Cello Concerto with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, which was released to critical acclaim in 2014. Lift, the title track of an all-Ruehr disc released on the Avie label, was included on Keith Powers’ “13 Best Classical Music Recordings of 2016.” Jennifer is winner of The Juilliard School’s top award, the “Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Leadership and Achievement in Music,” and a Presser Music Award, as well as a Fulbright Grant to England. She was honored with the McGraw-Hill Companies’ “Robert Sherman Award for Music Education and Community Outreach” in recognition of years of outreach work in schools and community centers. She has been featured regularly on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today” as both soloist and chamber musician, and her performances have been broadcast on radio stations worldwide. In 2016, Jennifer was invited to join the faculty at University of California Santa Barbara, where she is Professor of Cello and serves as both Head of the String and Performance Areas. For more information, visit

Erica Lessie

Erica Lessie is a freelance cellist in the Chicago area, working in a broad range of styles across many facets of the Chicago music scene. Erica has performed on the Oprah Winfrey show with both Whitney Houston and Seal, and has also appeared with Diana Krall, Andrea Bocelli, Peter Cetera, the Four Tops and Johnny Mathis. She is an auxiliary member of the rock band Tributosaurus and co-founder of Cherchez la Femme, a musical ensemble dedicated to presenting the arts expressed by women across the millennium. Ms. Lessie also developed Cellos of Unusual Shape, a solo presentation that explores the diversity of variant cellos. Currently, she teaches at DePaul University Community Music Division, Sherwood Community Music School at Columbia College and Chicago High School for the Arts. She has composed duets for flute/cello and piccolo/toy piano and is creating a collection of short pieces for solo cello. Ms. Lessie works with the Cello Museum as a research contributor and author of music and book reviews. Ms. Lessie received a B.M. from Indiana University, where she studied cello with Fritz Magg and chamber music with Rostislav Dubinsky and James Buswell. At Florida State University she earned an M.M. and completed coursework for a D.M.A.

Dr. Brenda Neece

Cello Museum founder and curator, Dr. Brenda Neece, DPhil (Oxon.), is a cellist and a researcher specializing in the history of the cello. Before starting The Cello Museum in the autumn of 2019, she worked as a freelancer and served for just over a decade as the first curator of the musical instrument collections at Duke University. In addition to playing the cello, doing cello research, and writing about cellos, she enjoys experimenting with variant cellos. In addition to her modern instrument, she also plays a 5-string baroque cello, a small 5-string cello, and sometimes travels with her folding prakticello. She studied cello with Fred Raimi at Duke while she did her undergraduate work at UNC-CH. As part of her interdisciplinary major in music history, art history, and archaeology, she wrote an undergraduate honors thesis under the supervision of Prof. Jon Finson, on the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century evolution of the cello. She earned a master’s in cello performance at Auburn University, studying with Martha Gerschefski, and then went on for her musicology doctorate at the University of Oxford (Somerville College) where she was mentored by Prof. Jeremy Montagu and Prof. Hélène La Rue. While in England, she continued her cello studies with William Pleeth. Dr. Neece lives in Durham, NC, with her husband and cats. When not playing or writing about the cello, she enjoys reading, photography, and martial arts.

Thank you!

Celebrating Our Sponsors

St Martha's Episcopal Church, Bethany Beach, DE
Jennifer Kloetzel
Vaulted Sky Music .com
High Strung Violins & Guitars, Durham, NC