ASH Ashley Bathgate



release date: September 27, 2019

release date: September 27, 2019

American cellist Ashley Bathgate releases new solo album ASH on September 27, 2019 through New Amsterdam Records. The album features a six-movement suite of cello works written expressly for her by the American composer collective Sleeping Giant, which includes Timo Andres, Christopher Cerrone, Jacob Cooper, Ted Hearne, Robert Honstein, and Andrew Norman.

It could be said the project ASH began when Bathgate learned J.S. Bach's six cello suites as a teenager. "I practiced them bowing by bowing, fingering by fingering from my teacher Luis Garcia-Renart" explains Bathgate. "Luis had been a student of the great cellist Pablo Casals, who discovered the suites in the 20th century, so I felt as if I was receiving some sort of divine pedagogy passed down through the ages. The suites are a staple in any cellist’s upbringing and a cornerstone of our repertoire, as well as an immense inspiration to composers who seek to write for the cello as a solo instrument."

Bathgate later began playing more contemporary music, leaving behind these iconic suites in favor of playing music by living composers -- often through the acclaimed sextet Bang on a Can All-Stars, of which she was a member for ten years. As she began to focus on her own solo work, the power of Bach's cello suites inspired her once again.

"I wanted a modern-day suite that could hold its own among the epic works that already exist in the repertoire," says Bathgate. "More than that, I wanted something that was specifically written for me by people I knew, and who knew my playing well." Bathgate asked her friends of the Sleeping Giant collective to write for her, requesting that they take any inspiration they found captivating from Bach’s music.

"It was exciting to create a suite constructed from a collaborative standpoint," Bathgate continues,"with six stand alone pieces from today’s most stylistically and sonically diverse compositional voices, that could unite to form an evening-length performance piece." 

The ASH suite was completed in 2016 and then honed during tours throughout the US and abroad. The final album version is a dynamic collection of pieces driven by Bathgate's hope that they may bring joy and insight to other listeners and players out there; perhaps even inspiring them to create new works the way the Bach suites inspired her. 

Track listing:

1. For Ashley (by Andrew Norman)
2. On Being Wrong (by Christopher Cerrone)
3. Small Wonder (by Timo Andres)
4. Ley Line (by Jacob Cooper) VIDEO
5. DaVZ23BzMH0 (by Ted Hearne)
6. Orison (by Robert Honstein)