Lucas Edward Dyer ’18 is a biology major whom you will find sitting cello in Union’s chamber and orchestral groups, whenever he gets a break from protein synthesis and stomatal diagrams. In past years, he has also participated in student recitals, an undertaking wherein a solo piece is prepared and performed for an audience, either with or without piano accompaniment. Aside from music, Dyer has a self-described secret passion for writing poetry and “some awful fiction.” Over the weekend, I sat down with Dyer to discuss the progression of his musicianship over the 10-11 years he has spent with the cello.
Ben Lucas: Why the cello?
Lucas Edward Dyer: My mom wanted to play the cello when she was young, and when I was young, I loved “Star Wars.” It was a terrifying love for “Star Wars,” verging on religious. Anyway, my mom told me that they played the “Star Wars” theme on the cello, and me being young, I think: “Oh, that makes sense.” From that point on, I had it embedded in my mind that I had to play the cello, even though I could have played literally any other instrument. But it’s fine. I like the cello, so I’m glad.
BL: What do you like most?
LD: I’ve heard the register is closest to the human voice. I really like the register. It’s very beautiful. And you get to sit down, always. That’s very nice.
BL: What kinds of pieces or composers do you like to perform?
LD: Right now I’m working on the cello suites by a guy named Paul Bazelaire. I think he was a cello player from the 1800s in France. He writes a lot of pieces that are a lot of fun to play; they’re loud and very rambunctious. I also like Dvorak, a lot of his pieces are hard. And I like Beethoven, even though that might be a cliché.
BL: What made you stick with the cello for so long?
LD: I really like music. I’m not gonna (sic) pretend I’m the best musician, but I do enjoy it. It’s satisfying. It satisfies some very basic urges deep down in my, uh, psyche? I don’t know. But for whatever reason, I enjoy it. There’s been (sic) times that I thought maybe I should stop playing, but I’m glad I stuck through it.
BL: How did the transition from playing in high school to playing in college affect your playing?
LD: What they expect from you in college is different. Even in the younger levels in high school, they always want you to play a certain way. They want that in college too, but you have a lot more freedom; like, maybe if you’re in orchestra you have to match the sound.
BL: Do you prefer sitting solo or accompaniment?
LD: I enjoy both. Solos are fun, but there’s pressure on you to really do it well. That is good, but I don’t like that all the time. I do like playing in the back sometimes, because it’s more relaxing, a little less stressful. I mean, it’s fun to play music, but when you’re constantly terrified, it makes it a little … you can’t put too much pressure on yourself all the time. So I think playing background is fun.