When Michael Samis strolled into Fido with his big shiny cello case, I thought to myself, why does he want to do this? In this day and age where Britney is queen and Beethoven is a movie about a big fluffy dog, why make an album centering around a piece of classical music no one’s ever heard of? What does he have to offer me that will make me care about this dead composer and his little dead song. After talking to Samis for about five minutes, I had my answer and was all in.

Samis, who has been with the Nashville Symphony for 13 years, is embarking on a journey to record his debut album through Delos Records. This album’s showpiece will be a Romantic-era cello concerto by Carl Reinecke. Never heard of it? Don’t worry, you are not alone. This will be the first known recording of the concerto on the planet. Yes, you read that correctly. EARTH.

This recording is no small endeavor. Samis will be bringing in a full chamber orchestra to help complete the project. With costs estimated to be upwards of $15,000, and Samis being responsible for those costs, fundraising is in full swing. Samis, was awarded a fellowship grant by the Tennessee Arts Commission and will be using the grant to help subsidize costs; however this only begins to scratch the surface of what is needed. A Kickstarter campaign is underway to help Samis raise the additional capital needed to complete the venture.

I asked what he hoped to accomplish by putting this little nugget of music out into the world. Samis told me a story about when he was little and his mother, a professional violinist, would have people over to play. When Samis heard the cello play, he said it felt as though the house shook with a beautiful, almost humanlike voice and so a love affair was born. This album is his opportunity to share that love affair with others and resurrect a lost piece of music that could provide a bridge to the past and hopefully tug at some heartstrings along the way.

Music is more than notes on a page for Samis. It’s a visceral experience that evokes true emotion. It’s not just entertainment. Right now, Reinecke’s music isn’t real. Sure, it is written down on paper and all of the notes are there, but it is missing the voice. Samis intends on being that voice that brings Reinecke back from the dead a la Dr. Frankenfurter style with nothing more than his cello and his heart.

To learn more and make a pledge through Kickstarter, please go to michaelsamis.com/kickstarter.

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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