Semyon Kobialka, the son of two prominent classical musicians, has been playing and performing music from the tender age of 3. Semyon studied cello at an early age at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Irene Sharp and Margaret Avery Rowell, the late “grande dame of the cello”. In college he continued his studies with Master cellist Bernard Greenhouse of the Beaux Arts Trio. Never one to be constrained to one genre of music, Semyon began studying electric bass guitar and started exploring improvisation on multiple instruments playing jazz, rock, and funk. The concept of integrating the interpretive aspects of performing classical music with the spontaneity and adaptability of improvisational music led to his current passion for treating musical genres and instrumentation as a malleable source of expression.
In college Semyon formed an explosive 3 piece ensemble called Smokin’ With Einstein that performed an eclectic mix of jazz, rock, funk, and Latin jazz. A favorite of the Village Voice in New York, Smokin’ With Einstein was regularly reviewed as “setting the scene on fire” and “mixing the science of music with blazing virtuosity.” Semyon has worked consistently in the pop genre, most recently with San Francisco’s pop music sensation, The Fingers, whose popularity skyrocketed with the addition of Semyon playing cello in the rock genre. The Fingers created a massive swelling of popular support in the San Francisco music scene where the band performed sold out shows at the legendary Filmore Auditorium, the Great American Music Hall, Slims, the Sweetwater, Bottom of the Hill, and many other venues around San Francisco Bay Area. Critics unanimously praised The Fingers for their innovation and musicianship and regularly singled out Semyon’s playing as a unique and surprisingly appropriate addition to the genre of popular rock and roll. (See www.myspace.com/thefingerssite for more information about The Fingers).
During the past twelve years, Semyon has also secretly been working on perfecting a unique “strumming” technique he has developed that allows him to perform as a solo singer/songwriter on the cello without any supporting musicians. After releasing his debut solo album, "Wabi Sabi", in 2007 on Duckhole records, he released a follow up album entitled "The Miracle Mile" in September, 2010. Semyon is currently working on utilizing the internet to full advantage in 2010 with his latest project, “The Static Tour”, which promises to produce a “live” video showcasing his unusual cello technique and ability to improvise. He hopes The Static Tour will offer a sample of what to expect during his live shows and expand his audience through the internet in a similar way to how “Julie and Julia” reached millions of people following Julie Powell’s yearlong journey making Julia Child’s recipes. His live performances present Semyon playing the cello and singing in his unique style and guarantee to be unlike anything you have seen or heard before.
Semyon Kobialka -- vocals and cello
Other musicians are added to line up for larger shows/venues: guitar, drums, bass, pedal steel, lap steel, mandolin, trumpet, backing vocal section, string quartet, piano, etc. Instrumentation also varies with the inclusion of classical repertoire.
Debut Solo CD title "Wabi Sabi"
Band Member of The Fingers CDs titled "Prophets & Casanovas" and "Dig Spaces"
Played on numerous artists CD's including: Stroke 9 ("Cafe Cuts" and "Rip it Off"), David Grisman, Michael Feinstein, Beth Waters, Noel Hampton, Astra Heights, The Lovers, Spanish Johnny's Opera, and many others.
TV/Film credits - CSI:Las Vegas (score), Everwood (song credit), Kissing Cousins (song credit in feature film being released in Spring 2007).
Cellist Plays Rock
[+ Show ]
S.F. Bay Guardian: Semyon Kobialka played his classical instrument like a second guitar, keyboard, ...S.F. Bay Guardian:
Semyon Kobialka played his classical instrument like a second guitar, keyboard, or fiddle. Skeptics may think the cello a novelty rock instrument, but the sounds Kobialka extracted flowed naturally
San Francisco Examiner:
Cellist Semyon Kobialka was at times mesmerizing, and never less than rocking
Monterey County Herald:
There are not a lot of rock cellists out there, but Kobialka makes it seem natural, not a gimmick. In fact, it adds a wonderfully full, lush and sometimes haunting sound . . . when he wants to Kobialka can flat-out rock.
Semyon Kobialka at Monterey Live
[+ Show ]
There's a great little video for cellist Semyon Kobialka's song "Small Town Superstar," which shows ...There's a great little video for cellist Semyon Kobialka's song "Small Town Superstar," which shows why the Los Angeles musician plays his instrument in an unorthodox way. In it, Kobialka is auditioning in front of a smug, pony-tailed producer type. The cellist complains that playing with a bow is restrictive, and the producer says that Mozart and Yanni never said anything so preposterous. After the producer says that maybe Kobialka should pick up another instrument like a triangle or a kazoo, the cellist starts playing the cello like its an acoustic guitar. As the clip and his humorous song "Love Blows" reveal, Kobialka is an unorthodox cellist with a sense of humor. [ST] .
[+ Show ]
Closing the show is cellist Semyon Kobialka. As I mention in the audio, the bulk of his latest disc ...Closing the show is cellist Semyon Kobialka. As I mention in the audio, the bulk of his latest disc is played pizzicato. I was able to nab a tune from the disc that has a substantial arco section, but hear me say this: the entire disc is @&%king amazing. Check it out!
Mark Allender, producer-host
Sets range from 30 minutes to 120 minutes. Repertoire is 90% original material, but covers include Elliott Smith - Pitseleh, Prince/Sheila E - Love Bizarre, Norah Jones - Sunrise, Christopher Cross - Sailing (yes, Christopher Cross), Wham - Last Christmas, Colin Hay - Waiting For My Real Life To Begin, Paul Williams - The Rainbow Connection. Semyon also typically does improvisations to accent the fact that live performance is not a static form and that it is good to be "in the moment." Classical repertoire for cello is included where appropriate.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.