I began my cello studies at the age of 10 at El Marino Elementary School, with music teacher, Mrs. Ray Mulholand. She was the best teacher for all of us who wanted to play an instrument. She not only played each instrument in some fashion but was able to form a full orchestra.
After one year of study with Ms. Cottington ( now Mrs. Mulholland), I then started private lessons with Mr. Samuel Guest. That same year I joined Meremblum which comprised of 3 levels of orchestras. Beginning was Pathfinder, then Pioneer and then ultimately Junior Symphony. My very first solo was with Pathfinder at the age of 12 under the direction of Mr. George Roden. I successfully joined the other two orchestras up until I was 17.
I then auditioned for Interlochen Music Camp in Traverse City, Michigan at the age of 15. My first time away from home and on a journey to seek out great music, great musicians, and enormous pride to be chosen by Interlochen. The experience was so amazing I returned again a few years later. I recommend all my colleagues to encourage their music students to attend this amazing Music Camp.
After returning from Interlochen I then changed teachers and began my studies with Mr. Alexander Reisman, a graduate from New England Conservatory. He taught me how to play with my heart and soul and to create beautiful music. My musicality was finally making sense and I had won a few local competitions as I continued to work with Mr. Reisman. I am ever so grateful for his guidance.
My biggest inspiration were two great cellists; Mstislav Rostropovich and Jacqueline du Pré. Both cellists showed so much passion while playing the cello that it makes one happy, sad, upset and all the possible range of emotions one has. I listened and watched so many recordings, and videos of both of them that at the age of 19 I was certain that playing the cello was my career and I wanted to be the best cellist I could be. I also had the great fortune to see Rostropovich in concert when I was 16. Absolutely a game changer for me!
At 17 I auditioned and was accepted into American Youth Symphony under the tutelage of Mr. Mehli Mehta (father of Zubin Mehta). In this orchestra I studied a great deal of big symphonies such as; Beethoven Symphonies, Brahms Symphonies, Mozart Symphonies, Tone Poems, and the list goes on. He taught me how to be a solid orchestral player. As a member of the orchestra we traveled to Washington D.C. and performed in a beautiful hall. What a treat to see the White House and to play in Washington D.C.
My College Education
Soon after I was on my way to University and with a partial scholarship at the University of Northridge where I completed my Bachelor Degree. While going to school I was able to play with several orchestras and perfect my orchestral repertoire. I graduated CSUN and was accepted on a Full Scholarship to the University of Michigan. I studied under Jeffrey Solow (protégé of Gregor Piatigorsky). In the short time that I was in Michigan, I learned a tremendous amount of great cello technique and musicality. Jeffrey was so profound for me that after graduating from Michigan in one year, I returned to Michigan to work with Jeffrey Solow as a private student. After leaving Michigan I was hired to tour Europe with an American Theater Group & German Company. After my tour I returned to Michigan to study with Jeffrey Solow for an additional 4 years and I was now ready to conquer my auditions for a professional orchestra.
My Professional Life
I returned to California in 1991 and worked as Operations Manager for the Inland Empire Symphony Orchestra in San Bernardino, California. I remained in this position for three years. I worked closely with then Executive Director Susan Feller. I learned a great deal about running an orchestra and all the important aspects that need to be addressed in order to be successful.
I moved from San Bernardino to Culver City which is my hometown and I investigated what music programs there were for students in the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades. To my horror the entire music program that Mrs. Mulholland so successfully ran for many years, was now no longer being offered to young kids. This was in the Culver City district and at the LAUSD it was also the same issue. I was heartbroken to see that program disappear because it was fundamentally the best program available in the public schools. After the shock of what had happened to our music program, I then opened my first Cello Studio in Culver City. I was quite successful and I opened my second studio in 2012 in Reseda, California. I love teaching cello and I am always amazed by my students abilities and how far they have achieved in the time I have been their teacher.
After some thought, with my family's support I organized a small chamber ensemble and performed our first concert in 1997. Since then I have been Music Director, with my brother Andrés Cárdenes as Artistic Director. The Culver City Chamber Orchestra has allowed me to present children's concerts, great works by famous composers, and it allowed me to form a superb "CELLO MANIA" ensemble. This ensemble is my favorite simply because it features 8 cellos!!! We perform classical music, pop music and even some Broadway music. The ensemble is represented by the best cellists in the Los Angeles area.
Check out Culver City Chamber orchestra website: for our current schedule and especially "CELLO MANIA". If you are interested in coming to Cello Mania check out our website at:
My personal webpage is on wix.com