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Where Did All the Cellos Go?

February 7, 2013

Teen filmmaker and cellist Hana Dahl uploaded the video "Where Did All The Cellos Go" on YouTube. Dahl is a 16-year-old cellist at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley. Several weeks ago she and three other students were given an assignment to make a documentary film about some aspect of the American character.

Dahl’s cello teacher, Betty Musser, a renowned musician in Mill Valley, gave her an article from the Sunday Dialogue section of The New York Times that appeared last November and posed the question, “Is Classical Music Dying?” Dahl won the other students to the idea and they spent two weeks interviewing various “experts,” as well as musicians and nonmusicians.

In their travels the filmmakers went to the Embarcadero in San Francisco and talked to 50 passersby at random — all ages, occupations, and interests — asking this same question, “Do you think classical music is dying?”

“More than 90 percent told us it was not dying,” Dahl said the other day. “And that’s what I discovered in making this. We went into the film assuming that this was going to be about he death of classical music but after talking to all these people we found that most people don’t think it’s dying at all, most people aren’t thinking it will.

“I think that what’s happening is that it’s morphing into various sub genres. For example, the way classical music is sometimes mixed with hip hop rhythms.”

Dahl used a $2400 Panasonic HMC150 Camcorder (HD AVCCAM) and Final Cut Pro to make the seven-minute film. “We shot 10 hours,” said Dahl who had the most fun editing the film. She added that when thinking about how the film should look she was strongly influenced by Amalie, the 2001 French film directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and Moonrise Kingdom, the 2012 film directed by Wes Anderson.