Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



First Committee Member

Andrew Smith

Second Committee Member

Jonathan Lee

Third Committee Member

Richard Miller

Fourth Committee Member

Jennifer Bellor

Fifth Committee Member

Beth Mehocic

Number of Pages



Despite the large quantity of music produced by the outstanding cellists of past eras, the range of repertoire regularly used in teaching advanced cellists in the US is fairly limited. In particular, though the virtuosic compositions of Karl Davydov (1838–1889) are common fare in Russia and Eastern Europe, cellists in the US perform them only rarely. Davydov rose to the highest echelon of performers in his generation. Today, scholars widely credit him with founding the Russian school of cello playing. Members of Davydov’s pedagogical lineage achieved prominence as artists and teachers, and his compositions are proven instructional pieces. In this document, I argue for the restoration of Davydov’s four Cello Concertos, opp. 5, 14, 18, and 31, to our repertoire as concert and—especially—as pedagogical works. Support for the wider study of these concertos comes not only from the music itself but also from the apprehension of its historical status.

The English literature on historical cellists and cello pedagogy contains a relative scarcity of material on Davydov; the Russian literature on Davydov is poorly accessible in the West due to a want of published translations. I survey both corpuses to demonstrate the influence of Davydov and his ideas in his time and beyond, showing that his concertos achieved the position of fundamental material in one of the world’s major cello schools and were known to cellists who collaborated with composers of standard repertoire works. This historical reception should embolden us to examine the merits of Davydov’s music, which I demonstrate in the pedagogical sphere through an investigation of his use of cello technique. The concertos contain interesting and challenging writing that I analyze in detail. I am thus able to provide an overview of the main difficulties present, offer suggestions for their mastery, and discuss their applications in other works. Through this exploration, I hope to illuminate these works as valuable additions to our programs and studio libraries.


Cello; Concerto; Davidoff; Davidov; Davydov; Music



File Format


File Size

26.6 MB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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