Paul Rucker

Paul Rucker: How my mom inspired my approach to the cello

Multidisciplinary artist and TED Fellow Paul Rucker has developed his own style of cello; he puts chopsticks between his strings, uses the instrument as a drum and experiments with electronics like loop pedals. Moving between reflective storytelling and performance, Rucker shares his inspiration -- and definitely doesn't play the same old Bach.


(Cello music)

(Music ends)

On the flight here, I was reminded about my mom. I'm a self-taught cellist, I've never had a lesson. I studied double bass, but I just picked up the cello and started playing because I love doing it. But my mom was an inspiration to me. I did not realize she was an inspiration, because she got her music degree through a mail-order course, the US School of Music. While raising two kids, she received a lesson a week in the mail, and practiced. And at the end of a couple of years, she put on a recital. And I'll be 50 this month, and it took me that long to realize that she was that big of an inspiration. I'm just going to keep -- yeah, thanks, mom.

(Applause)

She's also one of the most extraordinary people I know, beyond being a wonderful musician. I want to play a little bit for mom and your moms as well, actually.

(Cello music)

(Music ends)

You know, when you normally hear a cello, you think of this.

(Plays Bach Cello Suite No.1)

We're not going to do that today.

(Laughter and applause)

(Drums) (Cello)

Hey!

(Looped samples of onstage sounds)

(Cello music and looped samples)

(Music ends)

(Applause and cheers)