meet the secretary

CCS Secretary,  2012 -
Rebecca Zimmerman is an active chamber musician, orchestral musician and teacher in Chicago. She performs regularly with Camerata Chicago (Assistant Principal), New Millenium Orchestra and Elgin Symphony.

Rebecca is in her fifth year on the faculty of Merit School of Music where she is very involved in the Bridges program – an outreach program that takes classical music into the inner-city schools of Chicago. After months of practicing, the children are rewarded at the end of each year with their very own concert at Symphony Center, home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

In 2012, Rebecca joined the faculty of Northwestern University Academy. She is honored to be employed by her alma mater, and enjoys teaching private lessons and group classes. Rebecca also teaches several students in Lakeview as well as in her Oak Park apartment.

For the past 9 summers, Rebecca has held a position at the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina where she leads sectionals, teaches private lessons and chamber music, and collaborates with colleagues in weekly chamber and orchestral concerts.

Before coming to Chicago, Rebecca was a member of Canton Symphony Orchestra in Ohio, Richmond Symphony in Virginia, New World Symphony in Miami and Northwest Indiana Symphony. Rebecca received her M.M. from Northwestern University, Magna Cum Laude, under the instruction of Hans Jorgen Jensen and her B.M. from the Cleveland Institute of Music under the instruction of Stephen Geber.  Rebecca plays on a William Whedbee cello and a Seppelfrick bow – both of which were created by Chicago-based artists.

Rebecca has been immersed in music from a very early age. She started taking piano from her mother at the age of four. At the age of eight, Rebecca saw Yo Yo Ma performing on PBS and immediately fell in love with the cello. Her parents encouraged her to continue practicing piano to prove that she was devoted to music, and then started her on cello two years later. She studied with Dajing Yang from the Shanghai Conservatory, James Wilson from the Shanghai Quartet and Neal Cary from the Richmond Symphony.

In 1999, Rebecca made her solo debut with the Richmond Symphony performing Dvorak Cello Concerto in B Minor, and in 2000, she performed Shostakovich Cello Concerto No. 1 with the Eastern Music Festival Orchestra. Rebecca was homeschooled from pre-school all the way through high school – an experience that she greatly appreciates and supports.

In her free time, Rebecca enjoys running, reading, blogging and walking Hilde – her 14 lb. puggle named after Hildegard von Bingen.

She enjoys projects and recently started a book club called the Literary Ladies of Chicago which meets once a month in members’ homes. Karen Schulz-Harmon, the president of CCS is an active member.  One of her most recent initiatives is a blog that follows her journey with the Cello Suites of Johann Sebastian Bach.

This summer Rebecca is excited to go on a European Tour with Camerata Chicago. The chamber orchestra has recorded with cellist, Wendy Warner, and is traveling to celebrate and announce their cd release under the Cedille label.

Her first performance for the Chicago Cello Society took place last spring for the Chicago Composers Concert. She performed two works by composer Ilya Levinson, Columbia College.  Rebecca joined the CCS board as our secretary in the fall of 2012.


meet the treasurer

CCS Treasurer,  1998 -

Lawrence Block, a native of Chicago, was a founding member of the Chicago Cello Society, the second President of the Society and currently serves as Treasurer.  An avid chamber musician, he founded the Highland Park Strings in 1979 in collaboration with Francis Akos, former assistant concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He has served as General Manager of the orchestra and been its principal cellist from its first concert. 

Now in its 31st season, The Strings gives five concerts a year in Highland Park. World-class soloists have appeared with the orchestra, including over 40 members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Mischa Dichter, Peter Frankl, Lazlo Varga, Glenn Dicterow, Jorge Federico Osorio, David Shifrin and Janos Starker, who has played with the Strings on four separate occasions. 

The Strings has toured in Italy, Israel and Mexico, where he performed as soloist. On the occasion of his 60th birthday he performed Schubert and Boccherini Quintets at Steppenwolf Theatre with Victor Aitay, Francis Akos, Janos Starker and Robert Swan. At that time, Janos Starker announced that Mr.
Block would be named a Chevalier du Violoncelle by the Eva Janzer Memorial Cello Center of Indiana University for his contributions to cello playing, a rare and special honor for an amateur cellist. 

A Trustee of the Ravinia Festival, Mr. Block serves on the board of directors of Steppenwolf Theatre, Highland Park Community Foundation and is past president of Highland Park Rotary. For 50 years he has been a member of the law firm Schiff Hardin LLP and was the firm's Chairman and Chief Operating Partner. While holding a “day job” as an attorney, he was a member of the Evanston and Skokie Valley Symphonies. For more than twenty years he played with the Lake Forest Symphony, conducted by Victor Aitay, where he often served as principal cellist. 

Mr. Block began his cello studies at age ten in order to play trios with his brother who is a violinist and his sister who is a pianist. He first studied with Alice Baker Lawrence, a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, then with Hans Hess, at the Chicago Musical College. While a student of Hans Hess, he won the Society of American Musicians Competition in the Junior and Senior Divisions. He plays the ex-Janos Starker William Ebbsworth Hill cello made in 1846 and a Diamond Coda bow.